Current Research

Tangshan, China:

Tangshan finds itself in history as having one of the deadliest earthquakes in history, with over 250 000 fatalities. We recently (21 January 2009) conducted a seismic survey, enveloping Tangshan and its surrounding areas. In this study, we aim at locating subsurface faults and define a three-dimensional velocity model, in order to better assess the potential seismic hazards of the region. This research is in collaboration with the National Earthquake Response Support Services (NERSS) in China.


I am conducting a comparative study of the Rigid Uplifted Blocks In eXtension (RUBIX) phenomenon. The study focuses on three tectonically rigid blocks: the Colorado Plateau in North America, the Tanzania craton in Africa, and the Ordos Basin in eastern Asia. Much of the study is still in development, but it will include analyses of geologic, seismic, gravity, and geochemical data.


We have recently developed the first laboratory setting in which loading parameters can be controlled, and measurements be taken on rocks that are rotationally slid along each other through a ROtational Gouge Apparatus (ROGA). ROGA simulates conditions that are similar to earthquake conditions. In this research, we hope to delineate the key parameters that generate earthquakes, from minor tremors to disasterous events.

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