About Me

I study seismology, which means I spend my days looking at wiggles on a screen. Typically these wiggles are recorded using very expensive slinkies buried in the ground, which shake and bounce due to earthquakes.

My research is concerned with the field of adjoint tomography, which means I also spend my days generating fake wiggles using a very expensive computer and a 3D model of the ground beneath our feet. In a very roundabout way, I change parts of the model to try to line up the fake wiggles with the real wiggles, and in doing so, I am able to get better idea about the structure of the Earth. Neat!

Research Highlights

Adjoint Tomography in New Zealand

My doctoral research involved seismic imaging of the Hikurangi subduction zone and crustal structure of the North Island of New Zealand using adjoint tomography, an imaging method that seeks to minimize differences between observed and simulated seismic waveforms.

NZ Adjoint TOMography model

One of the main products of my PhD was the New Zealand Adjoint TOMography model (NZ ATOM). NZ_ATOM_north is an adjoint tomography-derived velocity model for the North Island of New Zealand, and the adjacent Hikurangi subduction zone.

Pyatoa + SeisFlows3

I am developing open-source Python packages that facilitate the automation of adjoint tomography workflows (SeisFlows3), and seismic data handling and misfit quantification within these workflows (Pyatoa).

Broadband EAst COast Network

The Broadband EAst COast Network (BEACON) was a temporary deployment of 20 broadband seismic instruments in the central Hawke's Bay and Tararua regions. The network was deployed to supplement receiver coverage over the Hikurangi subduction interface.

Rotational Seismology

My master's work involved analysis of amplitudes from rotational ground motion sensors. Using a large catalog of global earthquakes, we empirically derived a rotational magnitude scale to understand the charactersitics of amplitude decay for rotation signals.

Codes & Data Products

Pyatoa: a Python-based misfit assessment toolbox for adjoint tomography (main developer)

SeisFlows3: a Python3 fork of SeisFlows, the full waveform inversion and adjoint tomography workflow package (co-developer)

NZ_ATOM_NORTH: an adjoint tomography-derived velocity model for the North Island of New Zealand

Select Publications

Strong upper-plate heterogeneity at the Hikurangi subduction margin (North Island, New Zealand) imaged by adjoint tomography
Bryant Chow, Yoshihiro Kaneko, Carl Tape, Ryan Modrak, Nick Mortimer, Stephen Bannister, John Townend
Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, accepted December 9, 2021

Evidence for deeply-subducted lower-plate seamounts at the Hikurangi subduction margin: implications for seismic and aseismic behavior
Bryant Chow, Yoshihiro Kaneko, John Townend
Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, accepted December 28, 2021

An automated workflow for adjoint tomography — Waveform misfits and synthetic inversions for the North Island, New Zealand
Bryant Chow, Yoshihiro Kaneko, Carl Tape, Ryan Modrak, John Townend
Geophysical Journal International 223.3 (2020): 1461-1480.

Love wave amplitude decay from rotational ground motions
Bryant Chow, Joachim Wassermann, Berhard S A Schuberth, Celine Hadziioannou, Stefanie Donner, Heiner Igel
Geophysical Journal International 218.2 (2019): 1336-1347.


National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow (2021 – 2023)
Active Tectonics and Crustal Structure of Northern Alaska
University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, Alaska
Scientific Mentor: Carl Tape

Postdoctoral Researcher (May – September, 2021)
GNS Science, Lower Hutt, New Zealand


PhD, Geophysics (2018 – 2021)
Adjoint tomography of the Hikurangi subduction zone and the North Island of New Zealand
Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
Advisors: Yoshihiro Kaneko, John Townend

MSc, Geophysics (2015 – 2017)
Analysis of rotational motion amplitudes on local and global scales
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München & Technische Universität München, Munich, Germany
Advisors: Heiner Igel, Celine Hadziiannou, Stefanie Donner, Joachim Wassermann

BSc, Physics // Minor in German Studies (2011 – 2015)
Determining Love wave phase velocity through analysis of rotational ground motion
University of California Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, California
Advisor: Toshiro Tanimoto

Photo Gallery

I started out bouldering in the sandstone hills of Santa Barbara, California. I learned to lead (and fall) at Malibu Creek and New Jack City, and have found myself in absolutely stunning areas like Bishop, JTree, Yosemite, Bavarian pre-alps, and seaside crags in New Zealand. Rock climbing was a big inspiration for studying the Earth sciences.

I got my first bike, a Suzuki DRZ400S, at the grand ole' age of 20. I generally consider that a solid life decision. Since then I've owned a Honda CBR600F4i, and a Suzuki DR650. One of my favorite pastimes was riding off road on the Red Rocks 4WD track, just down the road from my flat in Wellington, NZ.