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 Planetary Interiors and Geophysics (3226): People
Ceri  Nunn's Picture
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
M/S 183-501
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, CA 91109
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Ceri Nunn

Ceri Nunn is a Postdoctoral Researcher in Planetary Sciences. Ceri obtained her PhD in Seismology from the University of Cambridge, with a focus on the mechanisms of continental collision. She used surface waves and body waves to image the subducted Indian lithosphere beneath the Tibetan Plateau. She then moved to Durham University to use seismic techniques to  image changes beneath Mount Etna during a volcanic eruption. 

Towards the end of her PhD she became interested in the seismology of the Moon, and wrote a proposal to use ambient noise techniques to better understand the structure of the Moon. The project was funded with a Marie Skłodowska-Curie individual fellowship, and Ceri moved to Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU) in Munich. Ceri found that surface waves do not build up on the Moon, and consequently cannot be used for ambient noise analysis in the way they can on Earth. She worked with colleagues to understand more about how phases on the Moon do propagate. 

Ceri joined the workshops 'An International Reference for Seismological Data Sets and Internal Structure Models of the Moon' sponsored by the International Space Science Institute in Bern and Beijing. The group are producing reviews of the available data and models from the Apollo missions. She is also involved in an ongoing project to clean up and preserve the seismic data from the Apollo missions, and put the data into SEED format (a format which is easy for seismologists to download and use). An article about this work is available here

Ceri moved to JPL in October 2018. She will continue to work on data from the Apollo missions. She has also recently joined the science team for the InSight mission. The mission, which landed in November 2018, contains a seismometer. Ceri is interested in comparing observations from the Moon with those from Mars, and to use her otherworldly experience to understand more about the structure of Mars. 


  • 2014:  PhD    University of Cambridge
  • 2009:  MSci   University of Cambridge
  • 2008:  BA     University of Cambridge

Research Interests

Ceri uses seismology to understand the internal structure of planetary bodies. She studies moonquakes and the ways that the seismic waves propagate within the Moon. She currently uses data from the Apollo missions to the Moon, but will soon be using data from the InSight mission.  


InSight Icon InSight
InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) is a NASA Discovery Program mission that will place a single geophysical lander on Mars to study its deep interior.

Professional Experience
  • 2018 - present: Postdoctoral Researcher, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology
  • 2016 - 2018:    Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellow, LMU, Munich
  • 2015 - 2016:    Postdoctoral researcher, Durham University

Selected Publications
  • Nunn, C., Roecker, S. W., Priestley, K. F., Liang, X., Gilligan, A. Joint Inversion of Surface Waves and Teleseismic Body Waves Across the Tibetan Collision Zone: the Fate of Subducted Indian Lithosphere, Geophys. J. Int, 198, 1526–1542 (2014), doi: 10.1093/gji/ggu193
  • Nunn, C., Roecker, S. W., Tilmann, F. J., Priestley, K. F., Heyburn, R., Sandvol, E. A., Ni, J. F., Chen, Y. J., Zhao, W. and the INDEPTH IV and ASCENT Team, Imaging the lithosphere beneath NE Tibet: teleseismic P and S body wave tomography incorporating surface wave starting models, Geophys. J. Int, 196, 1724–1741 (2014), doi:10.1093/gji/ggt476

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