We investigate deformation of the Earth's crust due to earthquakes and volcanoes.
Measuring deformation that occurs between earthquakes constrains how much elastic strain accumulates in the crust and helps constrain future earthquake hazard. Similarly, accumulation of magma in crustal reservoirs causes the earth's surface to swell, critical information for forecasting eruptions. In both volcanic and tectonic environments we combine measurements with physics-based models of the relevant processes to better understand these systems.
Some of the areas we are studying include the San Andreas Fault in California, megathrust zones in Cascadia and Japan as well as intraplate earthquakes. We are also working actively on better understanding the physical processes leading to induced seismicity.
Volcanic studies are using GPS, InSAR, and other data to study magmatic and seismic processes on volcanoes in Hawaii, and joint inversion of seismic and geodetic data to better image time dependent dike intrusion in Iceland and elsewhere. We are also coupling deformation and extrusion data to physics-based models of eruption dynamics to better constrain volcanic plumbing systems.
We are developing tools for modeling complex and time-varying deformation in many of these locales. Our research improves the understanding of how earthquakes and volcanoes work, and contributes to a better knowledge of this exciting part of Earth sciences.
Visit our research page for more information on current and past projects.
For the past decade the head of our group, Paul Segall, has taught a course called Crustal Deformation. The two-quarter sequence develops the theoretical models that are most widely used in modeling deformation data collected by the Global Positioning System (GPS), Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR), strainmeters, tiltmeters, and other sensors. He has written the textbook "Earthquake and Volcano Deformation" that is now available from Princeton University Press. The book website can be found at http://press.princeton.edu/titles/9093.html