Curriculum Vitae

Freysteinn Sigmundsson
Janúar 2006


Born July 22, 1966.  Married, 3 children


1985-1988: University of Iceland, BS degree 1988, Geophysics
1988-1989: University of Colorado at Boulder, USA
1989-1990: University of Iceland, M.Sc. degree 1990, Geophysics
1990-1992: University of Colorado, Ph.D. degree 1992, Geophysics
M.Sc. thesis entitled “Viscosity of the Earth beneath Iceland, comparison of model calculations with geological data (in Icelandic with English abstract)” evaluates rheology of crust and mantle under Iceland utilizing geological observations of post-glacial rebound.
Ph.D. thesis entitled “Crustal Deformation Studies in Sub-aerial Parts of the World Oceanic Rift System: Iceland and Afar” is based on application of the Global Positioning System geodetic measurements to study deformation associated with the Hekla 1991 eruption in Iceland, the study of glacio-isostatic crustal movements caused by historical volume change of the Vatnajökull ice cap, and a study of the tectonic implications of the 1989 Afar earthquake sequence in Ethiopia.


May 2005:  Hvatningarverðlaun Vísinda- og tækniráðs (Iceland's Science and
Tehcnology Council award for excellence in science at early age).

Professional positions

Summer jobs 1986-1988:
National Energy Authority Iceland, research assistant. Geophysical prospecting of geothermal fields.
University of Colorado, research assistant. Deformation monitoring of the Long Valley Caldera using long-basline water-tube tiltmeter, and research on application of the Global Positioning System (GPS) for tectonic studies.
University of Iceland, research assistant. Research on post-glacial rebound, GPS, and crust/mantle structure in Iceland.
University of Colorado, research assistant. Research on crustal deformation in sub-aerial parts of the world-oceanic rift system, Iceland and Afar, and application of the Global Positioning System for tectonic studies. Holder of a NATO Science Fellowship in 1990, and NASA Global Change Fellowship in 1992. Leaded a GPS-expedition to Tibet in 1991 to participate in trans-Himalayan geodetic measurements.
Nordic Volcanological Institute, research geophysicist. Principal field of work: Research on active processes at volcanoes, and crustal deformation related to volcanic and seismic activity using GPS geodesy. Comparison of crustal deformation and seismicity. Application of satellite remote sensing techniques to study geological processes and measure deformation, including InSAR, interferometric analysis of synthetic aperture radar images acquired by radar satellites. Interest and research work is reflected by the titles of publications. Many co-authors on joint papers are long-term collaborators. Involved in research on volcanoes in various parts of the world, including Iceland, Azores, Greece, and La Reunion, France. Actively involved in European collaborative research on volcanism (Furnas and Santorini laboratory volcano projects) and seismic risk (Earthquake Prediction Research in a Natural Laboratory 1 and 2), funded by the Commission of European Communities, Environment programme.
1999 – June 31, 2004:
Nordic Volcanological Institute, director. Responsible for the daily running of the institute, including promoting research and developing and carrying out budgetary plans. Responsible to the Nordic board of directors (five persons, one from each of the Nordic countries) that governed the institute. Preparation of matters for the board, and close interaction with it to carry out strategic decisions taken by it. Close interaction with the Nordic Council of Ministers and the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture in Iceland, the funding bodies of the Nordic Volcanlogical Institue. Interaction with the National Science Foundation, USA, e.g. for summer schools jointly sponsored by NSF and Nordic sources. Involvement in a long process of strategic discussions, changes, and reforming associated with the merging of the Nordic Volcanological Institute with University of Iceland on July 1, 2004, following a decision of the Nordic Council of Ministers.
The director position was 50% administrative position and 50% for research. The research time was used to continue work on crustal deformation studies, including many cooperative projects, as well as building up facilities for InSAR analysis of crustal deformation. Work is reflected in publications. Icelandic leader in EC-funded RETINA project (Realistic Evaluation of Temporal Interaction of Natural Hazards) to study the interaction of earthquakes, volcanoes, and landslides). Participant in the EC-funded PREPARED project (Application of practical experience gained from two recent large earthquakes in the South Iceland seismic zone in the context of earthquake prediction research to develop technology for improving preparedness and mitigating risk)
Since July 1, 2004:
Academic researcher at the Nordic Volcanological Centre, Institute of Earth Sciences, University of Iceland.


Advisor for research fellows at the Nordic Volcanological Insitute, and graduate students at the University of Iceland, University of Pisa, Italy, and Lund Unversity, Sweden. Co-advisor for Ph.D. students in Toulouse, UK, and California. Instructor on courses at the University of Iceland, including a graduate reading course on the Dynamics of the Earth's crust in 2002. Instructor on a course on the mitigation of volcanic hazards, European School of Climatology and Natural Hazards, Italy, 1994.

Advisor for the Icelandic Civil Defence Authorities since 1994, member of scientific panel.

Member of the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination team (UNDAC) since 2003. Participation in UNDAC mission to Morocco in February 2004 in response to the Al Hoceima M6.5 earthquake.

Advisor for United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on natural hazards and risks in Indonesia, following the December 26, 2004 earthquake and tsunami catastrophe. Mission to Sumatra (Banda Aceh) to evaluate risks and provide advice on continuing series of events April 20 – May 6, 2005.

Member of a scientific council for the European Center for Geodynamics and Seismology in Luxembourg, since 2002.

Associate editor for Journal of Geophysical Research, since 2002.

Member of the board of the Icelandic-United States Educational Commission (The Fulbright Institute in Iceland) since 2002, appointed by the Icelandic Minister for Education, Science and Culture

In organising committee for international summer schools held by the Nordic Volcanological Institute, including the 1997 NORDVULK summer school on Mid-Ocean Ridge active processes, the 2000 summer school on Plume-ridge interaction, and 2003 summer school on Tectonic-magmatic interaction. Member of a planning committee for the General Assembly of the European Seismological Commission in Reykjavik in 1996, and the chairmen of an organising committee for the 25th Nordic Geologic Winter meeting held in Reykjavik in January 2002. Convenor of special sessions at international geoscience meetings, including an extensive session on dynamics of magma chamber and magma transport in the Earth's crust, at the Fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union, 2002. In organizing committee for Natural Sciences conference, University of Iceland, April 2004.

Numerous invited talks at international conferences. Numerous media interviews and newspaper articles on earthquakes and magmatic activity in Iceland.

Member of a steering committee for the EUVOLC initiative (European Volcano Observatory and Laboratory Consortium), a European group of volcano scientists preparing an application for an integrated project or network of excellence for the second half of sixth framework programme of the EC.

Evaluated to be qualified for the position of a professor of geophysics at the University of Iceland by an international committee in 1998, and in 2005 evaluated qualified for the director position of the Institute of Earth Sciences, University of Iceland.

Professional memberships

American Geophysical Union
Geoscience Society of Iceland
Iceland Glaciological Society