picture Eleanor C. Willoughby
Research Associate

Geophysical imaging, instrument R&D, marine gas hydrate assesment, seismicity and slip

Telephone: 416-978-5493/5175; Fax: 416-978-7606
e-mail: willough...atsymbol...physics.utoronto.ca

Research Papers



Ph.D. (2003) University of Toronto; NSERC Visiting Fellow in a Government Lab (2003-2006) Pacific Geoscience Centre (Geological Survey of Canada, NRCan); Research Associate (2006-present) Department of Physics, University of Toronto

Eleanor (Ele) Willoughby is a Research Associate in the Marine Geophysics Group at the University of Toronto where her research has focused on the development of new methodologies for the resource evaluation of marine gas hydrates. More specifically, Dr. Willoughby has worked on the application of two new techniques used to identify marine gas hydrates: seafloor compliance and; controlled-source electromagnetics (CSEM). She is currently working on the research and development of multi-receiver marine controlled-source electromagnetic (CSEM) arrays. Applications of the CSEM array include towed surveys and monitoring of the gas hydrate-associated cold vent with the NEPTUNE networked seafloor observatory. Ele obtained her Ph.D. in Physics (Marine Geophysics) from the University of Toronto (2003) and subsequently joined the Geological Survey of Canada as a Visiting Fellow. Her other research interests include investigating the relationship between seismicity and slip on oceanic transform faults and the application of time-domain electromagnetic methods to image sub-permafrost gas hydrate deposits. Ele recently served on the Canadian Council of Acadamies Expert Panel on Gas Hydrates. Ele is co-editor of the up-coming Society of Exploration Geophysics volume on geophysical methods for gas hydrate exploration.
NEPTUNE CanadaCSEM and SFC on NC

Long-term Monitoring of Bullseye Vent with NEPTUNE Canada
NEPTUNE Canada is a permanent, cabled, seafloor observatory, providing power and internet to time series instruments at nodes offshore Vancouver Island, including the Bullseye Vent. Since gas hydrate increases both the resistivity and stiffness of marine sediments, we have deployed two stationary semi-permanent imaging experiments: Controlled-Source Electromagnetic (CSEM) and Sea Floor Compliance (SFC).
CSEM TXFor CSEM, a precise electromagnetic signal is sent out from a transmitter (TX) dipole on the seafloor and recorded at several seafloor receiver (RX) dipoles located at a range of distances from the transmitter. The data are sensitive to the subtle changes in resistivity in the sediment between the TX and RXs probably caused by the displacement of conductive pore water by electrically-insulating gas hydrate. Like all NEPTUNE Canada experiments, the apparatus are controlled remotely and the data are transmitted to local laboratories for analysis. Repeated soundings at Bullseye, over the lifetime of the Neptune project, will track changes in resistivity and reveal the evolution of the gas hydrate deposit. The CSEM method used is described theoretically by Edwards (1997) and experimentally by Schwalenberg et al (2005). The SFC experiment serves a similar purpose. It is designed to monitor changes in the stiffness of the hydrate zone caused by the cementation of sediment grains by interstitial hydrate. The seafloor is displaced a few atomic radii by the action of kilometer long ocean surface gravity waves. Measurements on the dynamic pressure and displacement time series on the seafloor may be analysed to yield a stiffness profile as a function of depth. Changes in the profile are indicative of the evolution of the hydrate deposit.

R.N. Edwards, E.C. Willoughby, C. Scholl and R. Mir, 2008. A Continuously Towed Seafloor Electromagnetic Prospecting Systemen. U.S. Provisional Patent Application 61/122,489, filed December 15, 2008.

Expert Panel on Gas Hydrates, 'Energy from Gas Hydrates: assessing the opportunities and challenges for Canada', published by the Canadian Council of Academies, Ottawa, 2008

E.C. Willoughby, K. Latychev, R.N. Edwards, R.D. Hyndman: 'Seafloor compliance imaging of marine gas hydrate deposits and cold vent structures', Journal of Geophysical Research , 113, B07107, doi:10.1029/20005JB004126, 2008.

Willoughby, E.C.; Mir, R.; Scholl, C.; Edwards, R.N. 2008. NEPTUNE-CANADA BASED GEOPHYSICAL IMAGING OF GAS HYDRATE IN THE BULLSEYE VENT. Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Gas Hydrates (ICGH 2008), Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA, July 6-10, 2008.

Scholl, Carsten; Mir, R.; Willoughby, E.C.; Edwards, R.N. 2008. RESOLVING RESISTIVE ANOMALIES DUE TO GAS HYDRATE USING ELECTROMAGNETIC IMAGING METHODS. Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Gas Hydrates (ICGH 2008), Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA, July 6-10, 2008.

K. Schwalenberg, R. N. Edwards, E.C. Willoughby, J. Yuan, G. Cairns, J. Sepulveda and J. Diaz-Naveas, 'A Controlled Source Electromagnetic Experiment to assess Gas Hydrates in Marine Sediments offshore Chile', Marine Geology, submitted, 2006

M. Riedel, E.C. Willoughby, M.A. Chen, T. He, I. Novosel, K., Schwalenberg, R.D. Hyndman, G.D. Spence, N.R. Chapman, R.N. Edwards, Gas Hydrate on the Northern Cascadia Margin: Regional geophysics and structural framework, in Riedel, M., Collett, T.S., Malone, M.J. and the Exepdition 311 Scientists, Proc. IODP, 311: Washington, DC (Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Management Internation, Inc.) doi:10.2204/iodp.proc.311.109.2005, 2006

Tikku, A. A., D. C. McAdoo, M. S. Schenewerk, and E. C. Willoughby (2006), Temporal fluctuations of microseismic noise in Yellowstone's Upper Geyser Basin from a continuous gravity observation, Geophys. Res. Lett., 33, L11306, doi:10.1029/2006GL026113.

Willoughby, E.C. and R.D. Hyndman, (2005) Earthquake rate, slip rate, and the effective seismic thickness for oceanic transform faults of the Juan de Fuca plate system, Geophys. J. Int. 160 (3), 855-868. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-246X.2005.02523.x

K. Schwalenberg, E.C. Willoughby, R. Mir and R.N. Edwards, 'Marine gas hydrate signatures in Cascadia and their correlation with seismic blank zones', First Break , 23, 57-63, 2005.

Willoughby, E.C., (2003) Resource Evaluation of Marine Gas Hydrate Deposits Using the Seafloor Compliance Method: Experimental Methods and Results, Ph.D. thesis, University of Toronto.

E.C. Willoughby, K. Latychev, R.N. Edwards and G. Mihajlovic, `Resource Evolution of Marine Gas Hydrate Deposits Using Seafloor Compliance Methods', in Gas Hydrates: Challenges for the Future, Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci., 912, 2000.

E.C. Willoughby and R.N. Edwards, `Shear Velocities in Cascadia >From Seafloor Compliance Measurements', Geophysical Research Letters, 27, 1021-1024, 2000.

E.C. Willoughby and R.N. Edwards, `On the resource evaluation of marine gas-hydrate deposits using seafloor compliance methods', Geophysical Journal International, 131, 751-766, 1997. 
This site is maintained by E.C. Willoughby. Last updated October 2009.