Hi! Welcome to the lab's web page. I am a seismologist and a geodesist and my lab's research focuses on large earthquakes. We are most interested in the science behind these big events, what makes these them tick? By learning about their physics we aim to understand the hazards they produce which affect society, namely, strong shaking and tsunamis. With this basic knowledge we can take the extra step and work on the technology behind early warning systems to issue alerts in advance of these hazards. To pursue these interests we observe and measure earthquakes and we create models.
Dept. of Earth Sciences
1272 University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403-1272
If nature were not beautiful, it would not be worth knowing, and if nature were not worth knowing, life would not be worth living.
We look at real data
Observational seismology means looking at data, and nowadays data takes many shapes. We study traditional seismic records (seismograms) from up close to big events. We also exploit some newer kinds of observations which reveal things about the physics of earthquakes. Space-based measurements from GNSS and other satellite platforms such Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) allow us to see the deformation footprint of these large events. Borehole strainmeters also offer a unique look at earthquake processes. We also look at tsunami propagation by studying coastal tide gauges and ocean-bottom pressure sensors. Each data type shows a different angle of a big event, and with these many points of view we learn new things.
We model large earthquakes
With what we learn from real events we conduct a lot of modeling to understand the impacts of future yet-to-occur earthquakes. We model potential large ruptures in Cascadia and elsewhere around the globe. We create realistic simulations of what strong ground shaking and tsunami propagation will look like for these big events. We also model large scale crustal deformation in an effort to understand what large fault systems are doing today. The goal of this work is to generate physics based assessments of these potential future hazards.
We research early warning systems
We also work hard on using all this knowledge for earthquake and tsunami early warning systems. We study algorithms to rapidly characterize (in seconds to minutes) large events. There's a lot to do here and data science and machine learning plays a big role. From real-time data how quickly can we determine an event's magnitude? What's the geographic extent of faulting? Is it possible to forecast that an event will continue to grow? From these rapid calculations we then build estimates of the shaking and tsunami impacts these large earthquakes are likely to produce in the regions immediately next to them. We work closely with alerting agencies internationally and within the US to transfer these algorithms to operational settings and to put them to work.