Personal profile


I obtained my degree in Physics at Cambridge, PhD at Durham, and then worked in both Government seismology groups (Blacknest, AWRE, MOD(PE) and BGS Edinburgh, NERC) before joining UEA. My original research was into seismic Rayleigh waves, attenuation and Monte Carlo modelling and inversion for upper mantle and upper crustal models (c. 30s and 1s waves respectively). At BGS, I established a need to evaluate historical British earthquakes and also monitored and studied microearthquake ruptures in Greece. For many years I have developed techniques of extreme values and cumulative strain energy release to estimate regional and site-specific seismic hazard and investigate max-mag earthquakes. In the last few years, I focussed firstly on hazard in Greece in the SHIELDS project  funded by the EU and am embracing risk in work in China seeded by the UK-China Science & Technology fund and Benfield’s. Research into long term and time varying hazard is now allowing me to re-embrace Monte Carlo modelling now as applied to seismicity. Modelling max-mag, hazard and risk lead to a wish to research earthquake impact at first hand and with EEFIT and EPSRC funding I carried out field work in the Kashmir 2005 meizoseismal area and independently the Bantul 2006, S Java zone. The field work in Bantul, Yogyakarta has lead to collaboration with Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta on both seismic hazard and landslide hazard and means to increase resilience of the local population against such natural hazards.  I pay-back into my subject by providing advice on earthquakes to such organisations as IAEA, NATO and domestically HMNII. 

PhD Studentships Available

Modelling Seismic Hazard: Partitioning Seismicity and Segmenting Faults

PhD Positions

Click here for current PhD opportunities in the School of Environmental Sciences. However, feel free to email me to discuss projects outside these areas and alternative sources of funding.

Key Research Interests

Earthquake seismology; global seismicity, seismic hazard and risk; microearthquakes to macroseismics and deformation; inversion and modelling; Rayleigh waves.

Significant Publications

  • Xu, Y. & Burton, P.W. (2006). Time varying seismicity in Greece: Hurst’s analysis and Monte Carlo simulation applied to a new earthquake catalogue for Greece, Tectonophysics, 423, 125-136.doi:10.1016/j.tecto.2006.03.006.
  • Burton, P.W., Xu, Y., Qin, C., Tselentis, G-A. & Sokos, E. (2004). A catalogue of seismicity in Greece and the adjacent areas for the twentieth century, Tectonophysics, 390, 117-127.doi:10.1016/j.tecto.2004.03.020.
  • Burton, P.W., Qin, C., Tselentis, G-A. & Sokos, E. (2004). Extreme earthquake and earthquake perceptibility study in Greece and its surrounding area, Natural Hazards, 32, 277-312. DOI: 10.1023/B:NHAZ.0000035545.89097.0d
  • Xu, Y., Burton, P.W. & Tselentis, G.-A. (2003). Regional seismic hazard for Revithoussa, Greece: an earthquake early warning shield and selection of alert signals, Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, 3, 757-776.
  • Burton, P.W., Xu, Y., Tselentis, G.-A., Sokos, E. & Aspinall, W. (2003). Strong ground acceleration seismic hazard in Greece and neighbouring regions, Soil Dynamics & Earthquake Engineering, 23, 159-181. DOI:10.1016/S0267-7261(02)00155-0. Also available at Science Direct
  • Sargeant, S.L., Burton, P.W., Douglas, A. & Evans, J.R. (2002). The source mechanism of the Athens earthquake, September 7, 1999 estimated from P seismograms recorded at long range, Natural Hazards, 27, 35-45.

Publications: EPrints Digital Repository

Key Responsibilities

  •  Course Director, BSc/Msci Environmental Geophysics

Areas of Expertise

Earthquake seismology and seismic risk; earthquake monitoring; surface waves and seismic properties in the crust and lithosphere.