Project Description

Witwatersrand University

School of Sciences


The School of Geosciences at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) is a hub for geosciences research and training on the African continent. It is the largest and most diverse academic Earth Science institution in southern Africa and the only institution offering specialist Honours degrees in geophysics, in addition to palaeontology, geology and environmental earth science. The School occupies a leading role in the continent in the areas of mining and economic geology, and geophysics, with the latter disciplines involving particularly strong ties with the minerals exploration and mining industries.

The Seismic Research Centre was established in 2015 within the School of Geosciences. Its main purpose is to assist in easing the significant shortage of skills in geophysics applicable to petroleum, minerals exploration, and geohazards mitigation in Africa. It specialises in providing world-class geophysical training to postgraduate students who plan to pursue careers in oil and gas exploration, the minerals industry, and academia. The Centre collaborates with government organisations and parastatals, private sector mineral, oil and gas companies and other academic institutions in Africa to assist in this goal. It hosts legacy 2D/3D seismic data and the state-of-the-art software packages, which are donated by various companies, for seismic processing, interpretation and modelling. The Centre (2015-2019) has generated more than 40 international (peer-reviewed) research papers and more than 50 peer-reviewed international abstract publications. Since 2015 the centre has grown from a few students to a group of about 35: 4 staff members, 4 postdocs, and 27 postgraduates (MSc and PhD candidates). Researchers and postgraduate students from the centre are involved in various research disciples, including reflection seismic imaging for minerals and hydrocarbons exploration, signal processing and inversion (especially applied to potential fields), integrated geophysical investigations (gravity, mag, seismic, MT) of the structure and evolution of the African lithosphere, integrated geophysical investigations (gravity, mag, seismic, MT) applied to mineral fields and ore bodies (e.g. Wits, Karoo, Congo and Volta basins, Bushveld Complex, kimberlites), continent-wide geophysical arrays, ICDP-DSeis project, mining-induced seismicity, with application to hazard mitigation in deep mine.