Eric M. Dunham

Associate Professor, Department of Geophysics
Affiliated Faculty Member, Institute for Computational and Mathematical Engineering
Director, Center for Computational Earth and Environmental Sciences
Stanford University
Stanford Geophysics
397 Panama Mall
Mitchell Building, room 325
Stanford, CA 94305

tel: (650) 725-6989
FAX: (650) 725-7344

Population growth is increasingly bringing more people into areas prone to natural hazards, especially earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions—as the events of the past few years have demonstrated. Motivated by both the desire to reduce risk and an innate curiosity about how the natural world operates, my personal research focuses on the development and use of physics-based computational simulations to characterize and understand earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanoes, and similar phenomena. With a background in theoretical physics and mathematics, my approach is to identify the fundamental mechanical processes governing the system, develop numerical models incorporating these processes, validate them using geophysical observations, and then use the models to predict system behavior. Specific research areas include earthquake rupture dynamics, tsunami generation, volcano seismology and infrasound, ice stream stick-slip events and flexural-gravity waves in ice shelves, and numerical methods for wave propagation.

Message to potential students and postdocs: Due to child care responsibilites created by the pandemic, I will not be accepting new students or postdocs during the 2020 application year (i.e., applications that are due in December 2020 for start dates in autumn 2021).


Research (not really updated...)
For more information about one of my primary research fields (earthquake modeling), please read two community white papers that I helped write: Megathrust Modeling, Modeling Earthquake Source Processes.

Work in Progress (Abstracts, Talks, and Posters from Recent Meetings)


Curriculum Vitae

Research group members


Graduate students
Fred Lam (ICME PhD student, 2019-present), acoustic waves from volcanic eruptions, marine seismic sources
Kate Coppess (Physics PhD student, 2019-present), seismic waves from volcanic eruptions
Nurbek Tazhimbetov (ICME PhD student, 2018-present), ocean wave interactions with ice shelves
Lauren Abrahams (Geophysics PhD student, 2017-present), coupled earthquake-tsunami simulations
Yuyun Yang (ICME PhD student, 2017-present), fluid and pore pressure evolution in earthquake sequences

Undergraduate students

Former group members
Martin Almquist (2017-2020), numerical methods for forward and inverse wave propagation and earthquake sequence modeling, currently Assistant Professor, Department of Information Technology, Division of Scientific Computing, Uppsala University, Sweden
Leighton Watson (2014-2020), PhD Geophysics, marine seismic sources (airguns), infrasound from volcanic eruptions, currently NSF MARGINS postdoc at University of Oregon
Ali Kashefi (2017-2020), Engineer Mechanical Engineering, earthquake and hydraulic fracture simulations
Chao Liang (2015-2019), PhD Geophysics, waves in fluid-filled cracks, application to hydraulic fractures in oil and gas industry and to volcanoes, currently postdoc at Geoazur, France
Kali Allison (2012-2018), PhD Geophysics, thermomechanical earthquake cycle modeling, currently NSF Earth Sciences postdoc at University of Maryland
Gabe Lotto (2012-2018), MS ICME (Computational Geosciences) and PhD Geophysics, fully coupled simulations of offshore earthquakes and tsunamis, currently ShakeAlert User Engagement Facilitator at Pacific Northwest Seismic Network
Ossian O'Reilly (2011-2017), PhD Geophysics, numerical methods for wave propagation and related problems, most recently postdoc at Southern California Earthquake Center, University of Southern California
Sam Bydlon (2011-2017), PhD Geophysics, seismic scattering, earthquake source complexity, and strong ground motion, currently Quantitative Product Manager, SigFig
Brad Lipovsky (2011-2016), PhD Geophysics, glacial seismicity, resonant vibrations of fluid-filled cracks, currently Assistant Professor, Department of Earth and Space Sciences, University of Washington
Bo Prochnow (2015-2016), MS Geophysics, numerical methods for axisymmetric wave propagation in volcanic conduits
Kenneth Duru (2012-2015), postdoc, numerical methods for 3D seismic wave propagation and earthquake rupture dynamics, currently researcher at Australian National University
Alex Kinsella (2013-2014), BS Physics, frequency-dependent radiation patterns from earthquakes on nonplanar faults, currently PhD student, University of California at Santa Barbara
Paul Summers (2013-2014), MS Geophysics, volcanic tremor, conduit flow, and repeating earthquakes, currently PhD student, Stanford University
Leif Karlstrom (2012-2014), NSF Earth Sciences postdoc, wave propagation in magma columns accounting for gravity and time-dependent gas exsolution, currently Associate Professor, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oregon
Daniel Trugman (2012-2013), BS Geophysics with Honors, pseudodynamic rupture generator, currently Assistant Professor, Department of Geological Sciences, Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas, Austin
Brittany A. Erickson (2010-2012), NSF Earth Sciences postdoc, earthquake cycles in sedimentary basins, currently Assistant Professor, Department of Computer and Information Science, University of Oregon
Zijun Fang (2010-2011), postdoc, fault roughness and crustal stress levels, currently Numerical geomechanics specialist, Chevron
Jeremy E. Kozdon (2009-2012), NSF CI TRaCS postdoc, numerical methods for earthquake rupture dynamics, subduction zone megathrust earthquakes, currently Associate Professor, Department of Applied Mathematics, Naval Postgraduate School

Last updated: March 4, 2021