John Townend

Prof John Townend profile picture

Professor of Geophysics School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences

Research interests

Earthquakes and fault mechanics, Plate tectonics, Tectonophysics, Seismology, Structural Geology, Alpine Fault, Earthquakes.

My research focuses on earthquake mechanics, fault zone structure and hydrology, and the detection and analysis of small earthquakes. Most of my current work is concentrated on the Alpine Fault, the Hikurangi Subduction Zone, and geothermal systems in the Taupō Volcanic Zone, but I've previously worked on projects in California, Japan, and Iceland. I am a former president of the New Zealand Geophysical Society and currently serve as a Director of the Seismological Society of America and as a member of the Pohang (Korea) Earthquake Overseas Research Advisory Committee.

Current projects, most of which involve graduate students, include:

Enquiries about undertaking PhD research under my supervision are welcome at any time. Students wishing to undertake MSc research in my group are recommended to contact Wellington University International in the first instance to learn about enrolment requirements and the costs of studying in New Zealand.

Prof John Townend CV 2019PDF157KB


  • PhD in Geophysics -  Stanford University (2003)
  • DipHum with Distinction in Japanese - Massey University (1998)
  • BSc with Hons in Geology - Otago University (1996)


Publications from 1997-Now