Brenguier Receives 2009 Keiiti Aki Young Scientist Award

Florent Brenguier received the 2009 Keiiti Aki Young Scientist Award at the 2009 AGU Fall Meeting, held 14–18 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes the scientific accomplishments of a young scientist who makes outstanding contributions to the advancement of seismology.


brenguier_florentFlorent Brenguier is a bright young geophysicist who has already made very significant contributions to the field of seismology.

His development of monitoring of temporal changes based on correlations of ambient seismic noise is without doubt a major advance that opens new possibilities for studying active objects such as volcanoes and seismic faults.

Using noise cross correlations to detect temporal changes within the media turned out to be a very challenging task, which many have tried without success. The main reason is that detecting temporal variations even within active objects like volcanoes and faults requires measuring extremely weak traveltime perturbations (10-4 and smaller), and standard traveltime measurement methods fail at this level of accuracy.

As a consequence, finding ways to extract these tiny temporal variations required a lot of effort in terms of advanced data mining and processing, understanding the role of the noise distribution, and finally, applying theories and methods dealing with scattered wavefields.

Florent was the first one who, thanks to his skill, hard work, and creativity, succeeded in bringing all of these elements together and demonstrating the feasibility of noise-based monitoring of volcanic and tectonic process within the Earth’s crust, with two spectacular applications, to the Piton de la Fournaise volcano and to the San Andreas Fault at Parkfield, Calif.

Florent Brenguier is a bright researcher with an extraordinary skill to work with data. He was essential in the development of ambient noise monitoring. His work leads to major advances in seismology, and he is continuing to produce new ideas in this field. For all of these reasons he is a worthy recipient of the Keiiti Aki Young Scientist Award from the Seismology section of AGU.


Nikolai Shapiro, Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, Paris, France


It is a great honor to receive such a prestigious award. Surprisingly, I am now pursuing my scientific career at the Piton de la Fournaise Volcanological Observatory where Keiiti Aki spent his last years practicing his extraordinary talent for seismology.

I am very grateful to Michel Campillo (Laboratoire de Géophysique Interne et Tectonophysique, Grenoble, France) and Nikolai Shapiro (Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (IPGP)) for having initiated and participated in the work for which I receive this award.

I would like to emphasize that Michel and Nikolai lead an exhilarating research group, and my experience participating in that group was extremely positive.

I would also like to acknowledge the Piton de la Fournaise Volcanological Observatory and the Parkfield High-Resolution Seismic Network staff for distributing high-quality continuous data, which I used for the ambient seismic noise studies.

Similarly, I would like to emphasize to my predecessor, David Shelly, that the increasing availability of continuous seismological records strongly transforms the work of seismologists, who now need to elaborate upon novel “data mining” procedures. This is an exciting new domain for seismology, which is often coupled with geodesy, for example, in nonvolcanic tremor and ambient seismic noise cross-correlation studies.

I am looking forward to continuing to work in that domain and to creating exciting new collaborations for studying the active Earth.


Florent Brenguier, Piton de la Fournaise Volcanological Observatory, IPGP, Paris, France