Plattner Geophysics Group

Regional and subregional crustal magnetic field inversion for the Martian south polar area using altitude-cognizant gradient vector Slepian functions. See our Mars South Pole paper on my publications site.
Students using electrical resistivity tomography to image a farming-impeding rock-hard soil layer (hardpan). See top row right image for results.
Results from electrical resistivity tomography mapping of hardpan (see top row center image). Hardpan is the conductive layer with gap from hardpan removal.
Students using GPR on campus for educational purposes..
Earth crustal magnetic field inversion result from only regional data at 300 km satellite altitude over North America using internal- and external-source altitude cognizant gradient vector Slepian functions.
GPRPy graphical user interface for ground penetrating radar data processing and visualization. Freely available on GitHub

Alain Plattner CV

Welcome to the website of the geophysics group led by Alain Plattner.

We are part of the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa.

You can find more information about current and past research on the research page. The publications page contains links to pdfs of published articles.

My most recent software package, GPRPy is a free graphical user interface-based ground penetrating radar processing and visualization tool. It is Python based and hence all of its prerequisites are also completely free. If you find GPRPy useful, please send me an email and/or cite my upcoming GPRPy paper.

For my planetary potential-field geophysics research, my Matlab/Octave software to construct and use classical and altitude-cognizant vector Slepian functions can be conveniently installed using the scripts and demo functions on this Slepian Git repository. The scripts will automatically download the software from Slepian_alpha through Slepian_hotel and setup the folder structure.


About me

I am interested in all aspects of numerical modeling and parameter estimation that arise within geosciences or related fields. My background is in computational geophysics (PhD at ETH Zurich) and mathematics (M.Sc. at University of Basel). Before my appointment at the University of Alabama I was an assistant professor at Fresno State and a postdoctoral researcher at Princeton working with Frederik Simons

My main research focus is on planetary potential fields such as magnetic and gravity fields, and on calculating these fields from satellite data. I am also interested in near-surface and applied geophysics, in particular in electrical resistivity tomography and ground penetrating radar.

My PhD at ETH Zurich was in the field of near surface geophysics. In this research I developed and implemented an adaptive algorithm for electrical resistivity tomography.


November 30, 2018

My ground penetrating radar processing and visualization software GPRPy is now complete. I will keep adding features but the current version is ready to use. Please check it out on

August 16, 2018

I am excited to have started my new position as assistant professor at the University of Alabama. This will allow me to greatly grow this research group including PhD students and postdocs.

I am also working on a Python-based graphical user interface GPR processing and visualization software that is scriptable and can automatically generate scripts while using the GUI. Here is the link to the software which is still under development:

May 26, 2017

I just released the software package for planetary magnetic and gravity field inversions using a new type of vector Slepian functions. See the Software page for more details. The following repository contains installation scripts, instructions, and demos:

July 1, 2016

The near-surface Octave/Matlab programs developed for teaching near-surface seismics (Seism-O) and ground penetrating radar (GPR-O) are now available on NSGeophysics. See my software page for more information.

June 23, 2016

The Slepian GitHub wiki page now contains detailed instructions and installation scripts for Windows, Mac, and Linux users.


Background figure

The figure in the background shows the radial component of Earth's crustal magnetic field up to spherical-harmonic degree 100 recovered from simulated radomly located noisy data points at varying satellite altitude only available over North America.


Alain Plattner
Department of Geological Sciences
University of Alabama
201 7th Avenue
Room 2023 Bevill Building
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487

Email: amplattner (at) ua (dot) edu