Geology & Geophysics AGU News

Bruno Faria Receives 2017 Africa Award for Research Excellence in Earth Science

Bruno Faria received the 2017 Africa Award for Research Excellence in Earth Science at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting Honors Ceremony, held on 13 December 2017 in New Orleans, La. The award honors an early-career scientist from the African continent for “completing significant work that shows the focus and promise of making outstanding contributions to research in Earth or ocean sciences.”

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Bruno Faria
Bruno Faria

Dr. Bruno Faria from the National Institute of Meteorology and Geophysics in Mindelo, Cape Verde, is receiving the 2017 Africa Award for Research Excellence in Earth Science for his work to operate and maintain the seismic monitoring network of Cape Verde’s active volcanoes, leading to a successful prediction of the 2014 eruption of Fogo volcano, and for his broad collaborations with and assistance to foreign Earth, ocean, and atmospheric scientists working in Cape Verde.

Bruno received a B.Sc. from the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium, and a Ph.D. from the Instituto Superior Técnico, Lisbon, Portugal, in 2010. His research concentrated on geophysical monitoring of volcanoes, particularly Fogo volcano in Cape Verde. He developed a volcano monitoring network initially deployed at the time of the 1995 eruption of Fogo to extend it to other areas of potential hazard due to local reports of earthquakes. There was no geophysical record of volcanic activity in the country, so the network provided the data needed to establish an alert level system for use by national civil protection authorities. On this and related topics, Bruno has published seven papers since 2003.

Bruno also made time to collaborate with foreign scientists working in Cape Verde involved in volcano and earthquake monitoring, helping them to deploy instruments of their own for research purposes that aided the national monitoring mission. He also worked to establish and operate an atmospheric chemistry monitoring station in Cape Verde, on the island of São Vicente. These efforts led to coauthorship of the published research results. Bruno also fostered scientific research in his country by acting as a national scientific liaison in a suite of research cruises. At present, Dr. Faria still plays a key role in Cape Verde’s volcano monitoring efforts and is dedicated to building up national monitoring infrastructure and raising the visibility of Cape Verde science in Africa and internationally.

—George Helffrich, Earth-Life Science Institute, Tokyo, Japan

Response

First, I would like to thank Dr. George Helffrich for his kind words and for my nomination. I would also like to thank all the colleagues who supported my nomination and the award committee members. I should stress that I am deeply honored and grateful to receive the 2017 Africa Award for Research Excellence in Earth Science.

At the beginning of my physics sciences studies at Université Catholique de Louvain, I used to dream about the geothermal prospection in Cape Verde, particularly in Fogo, where there is an active volcano. This led me to study—as a part-time study—volcanoes. Thus, at the end of my B.Sc. studies I had acquired some knowledge on how volcanoes work. Then the 1995 Fogo eruption happened. This was the end of my interest in geothermal exploration. Nevertheless, a new interest arose: the geophysical monitoring of volcanoes. Four years after the eruption, I had the great opportunity to collaborate with the first permanent monitoring geophysical network of Fogo volcano, a project led by Dr. João Fonseca. I started then a Ph.D. program, whose main goals were to understand the background seismic activity of Fogo volcano and to establish an alert level table for this volcano. Just 4 years after I finished it, the 2014 eruption of Fogo occurred, and my results were put to the test. Currently, all my attention and efforts are focused on a seismic crisis in Brava that began 2 years ago.

If my achievements have any merit, it is certainly because I was lucky to receive the contributions of so many people: Dr. V. Dehant, who gave me the good taste of the solid Earth geophysics; Dr. G. Helffrich, from whom I learned the fine structure of our planet and how to set up a seismic station correctly; Dr. S. Day, who tirelessly explained to me the structural geology of Fogo and how magma deforms the crust; Dr. João Fonseca, my Ph.D. adviser, whose open-minded thinking quickly gave me the guidelines for the research in volcano geophysics; and my colleagues at my institute and, particularly, the former administration. My family and Claudia, my life partner, were also crucial, especially my father, who showed me the way of science since my childhood and has always supported me without pressuring me. I’m deeply grateful to all of them!

—Bruno Faria, National Institute of Meteorology and Geophysics, Cape Verde

Citation: AGU (2018), Bruno Faria receives 2017 Africa Award for Research Excellence in Earth Science, Eos, 99, https://doi.org/10.1029/2018EO090175. Published on 08 January 2018.
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