Imperial College London

Dr Ian Bastow

Faculty of EngineeringDepartment of Earth Science & Engineering

Senior Lecturer



+44 (0)20 7594 2974i.bastow Website




1.41Royal School of MinesSouth Kensington Campus





Ian's research uses seismology to understand Earth structure. He is particularly interested in understanding how continents break up by studying the seismically and volcanically active East African Rift. His research also concerns some of the oldest rocks on Earth in northern Canada, and the development of the Troodos ophiolite in Cyprus.

He is a member of the Earth and Planets and Geodynamics: Core to Surface research groups.


Ian gained an BSc in geophysics, followed by an MRes from the University of Edinburgh between 1996-2001.  He studied for a PhD at the University of Leeds in 2005, before gaining post-doctoral experience at the University of South Carolina and the University of Bristol.  After winning a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship while in Bristol, he joined the Department of Earth Science and Engineering as a lecturer in 2012, becoming senior lecturer in 2015.

Click here for Ian's Google Scholar profile.

PhD Students

Thomas Merry

Christopher Ogden

Natalia Wojcicka (Primary supervisor: Gareth Collins)

Robert Martin-Short (Primary supervisor: Richard Allen, Berkeley, USA)

Recently graduated PhDs from my group

Alistair Boyce (graduated 2018) - now a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Cambridge.

Mitchell Liddell (graduated 2018) - now a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Alberta.

Matthew Reeve (graduated 2018)

Laura Petrescu (graduated 2017) - now a post-doctoral researcher in Bologna at INGV.

Post-Docs and Fellows

Amy Gilligan - Leverhulme Trust PDRA from 2014-2016. Now a Royal Astronomical Society Research Fellow at the University of Aberdeen.

Craig Magee - Imperial College Research Fellow 2015-2018.  Now a NERC research fellow at the University of Leeds.


  • 2018-2019 - Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) for project "Underpinning food and water security through geothermal exploration in Ethiopia and Kenya".  £100,788.
  • 2018-2021 - NSFGEO-NERC: Crust and mantle structure and the expression of extension in the Turkana Depression of Kenya and Ethiopia (~$1M joint with Rebecca Bendick in Montana, USA and Cindy Ebinger in Tulane, USA).
  • 2018-2021 - NERC Geophysical Equipment Facility loan of broadband seismometers for deployment in Ethiopia and Kenya. Equivalent commercial rental value £80,440.
  • 2018-2022 - STFC -Impact-generated seismicity on Mars (co-I on project led by Gareth Collins).  £81,989.
  • 2018 - Extended NERC Geophysical Equipment Facility loan of broadband seismometers for deployment in Cyprus. Equivalent commercial rental value £7,700.
  • 2017-2018 - NERC Geophysical Equipment Facility loan of broadband seismometers for deployment in Cyprus. Equivalent commercial rental value £23,000.
  • 2016 - Royal Astronomical Society Grant for "Support for one early career researcher to take part in a collaborative research project in Bergen, Norway in 2017" (£1000).
  • 2016 - Royal Society International Exchanges grant for collaboration with Stephane Rondenay, Bergen: "Using seismology to better-understand the Moho: a global receiver function study" (£12,982).
  • 2016 - Royal Society International Exchanges grant for collaboration with Rob van der Hilst's MIT group: "The Building of North America: Evidence from Seismology" (£12,880).
  • 2016 - Royal Astronomical Society Grant for "Seismic Imaging of the Troodos Ophiolite: Fieldwork Experience for a Post-doc and a PhD Student" (£600).
  • 2014 - Royal Astronomical Society grant for "Support for three early career researchers to attend a seismological research workshop in Montreal" (£3000), 2014.
  • 2014 - Leverhulme Trust Research Project grant for project entitled "The building of North America: evidence from seismology" (£126.5k). 
  • 2013-2014 - Royal Astronomical Society Outreach grant for high school seismology in Trinidad and Tobago (£1500). 
  • 2013-2015 - NERC Geophysical Equipment Facility loan of broadband seismometers. Equivalent commercial rental value £144,000
  • 2012 - EPSRC Kickstart Activity Grant (£10,000). 
  • 2010-2013 - Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship (£544,275).

Recent Measures of Esteem

Shortlisted for the award of Best Feedback 2016/2017 Student Academic Choice Awards (SACA), Imperial College London.

October 2015 - appointed Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Awarded 2015 - awarded "Outstanding Reviewer Status" for Earth and Planetary Science Letters.

2009, 2011, 2012 - nominated "outstanding reviewer of the year" by Geophysical Journal International.

2012 - Appointed to give the Lord Kelvin Award Lecture at the British Science Association Festival, Aberdeen.

2010-2013 - Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship.


July 2018 - Seismology and engineering summer workshop, Imperial College London.

October 2015 - Delivered a seismology outreach lecture at St Orlaves School, Orpington, Kent.

April 2014 - Co-organisor of the Trinidad and Tobago Seismology in Schools Project, in collaboration with the British Geological Survey, the Universities of Durham and Leicester, and NIHERST (the National Institute of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology in Trinidad and Tobago).

November 2013 - Co-presenter at Plymouth University's Plate Tectonics and Geohazards Conference for 150 AS/A2 geology and geography students.

2010-Present - deliver annual seismology workshop at Thomas Hardye School, Dorchester.

Imperial Festival (3-4 May, 2013) earthquake seismology demonstration.

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Liddell MV, Bastow I, Rawlinson N, et al., 2018, Precambrian Plate Tectonics in Northern Hudson Bay: Evidence From P and S Wave Seismic Tomography and Analysis of Source Side Effects in Relative Arrival-Time Data Sets, Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, Vol:123, ISSN:2169-9313, Pages:5690-5709

More Publications