Professor Brian Kennett

Emeritus Professor of Seismology
ANU College of Science

Areas of expertise

  • Seismology And Seismic Exploration 040407
  • Geophysics 0404
  • Geodynamics 040402
  • Acoustics And Acoustical Devices; Waves 020301

Research interests

The exploitation of the seismic wavefield for better charcterisation of the structure of the Earth and the character of seismic sources.  Much of my work has been directed towards understanding the properties of the lithosphere and subduction zones, as well as the fate of subducted material.

Studies include methods for improved location of seismic events, and the development of reference models for the global structure of the Earth which are widely used for earthquake location and as a basis for seismic tomography.  

A long term program of work on the 3-D structure under the Australian region has resulted in the Australian Seismological Reference Model (AuSREM) in 2012 whch incorprates results from a wide range of previous studies using both body waves and surface waves. AuSREM has been exploited in a number of ways to enhance knowledge of smaller-scale structure across the continent.



Brian Kennett is now Emeritus Professor of Seismology at the Research School of Earth Sciences, The Australian National University and was Director from September 2006 to January 2010.  He received his Ph.D. in Theoretical Seismology from the University of Cambridge in 1973. He was a Lindemann Fellow at IGPP, University of California, San Diego and then a University Lecturer at the University of Cambridge. He moved to Australia in 1984, and was President of IASPEI from 1999-2003. 

His research has covered a very wide range of topics in seismology, from reflection seismology to studies of the deep Earth and from theoretical to observational studies. He has received recognition through many medals and awards including the Gold Medal in Geophysics from the Royal Astronomical Society, the Gutenberg Medal from the European Geosciences Union, the Murchison Medal from the Geological Society of London, the Jaeger and Flinders Medals from the Australian Academy of Sciences, and the Lehmann Medal from the American Geophysical Union. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society (London). He was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2019.


Projects and Grants

Grants information is drawn from ARIES. To add or update Projects or Grants information please contact your College Research Office.

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Updated:  20 July 2024 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers