Geophysics, Structural Geology, Tectonics

Seismology, geodesy, regional orogenic processes, rock mechanics

Geophysics is the applications of physics to understanding the earth as a growing component of he earth sciences. The combination of improved instrumentation and advanced computational capabilities is making it increasingly possible o quantitatively model complex geological systems that were not amenable to this approach before. Applications include global tectonics, earthquake seismology, volcanology, and environmental and exploration geophysics.

The scientific frontiers are wide open in this field, especially with the ongoing deployment of the Earthscope facilities (www.earthscope.org). Our program also has a strong field component with ongoing projects in China, Taiwan, Philippines, South America, and Alaska. M.S. students from our program are strongly recruited by the petroleum industry, while Ph.D. students have found positions in other academia and industry.

Research Projects

OIINK Seismic Experiment

The OIINK seismic experiment is the product of a collaborative research effort between Indiana University, Purdue University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the Indiana and Illinois state geological surveys. The project seeks to apply state-of-the-art seismic monitoring and data analysis techniques to understand the deep geological structure and seismic activity in North America’s continental interior. The project will help us to better understand the basic geological processes that were involved in the assembly and evolution of our continent, as well as the processes that are continually modifying its structure. Ultimately, the research will help us better understand—and better prepare for—the hazards associated with future earthquakes in our region. The project is part of a national scientific initiative, dubbed "EarthScope" which includes the deployment of "USArray," the largest seismic network in the nation’s history.

PEPP Earthquake Science Program

The PEPP program has forged a new partnership among university-based academic researchers and middle and high school teachers and students. Research-quality seismographs are set up in physics and earth science classrooms, where middle and high school teachers and students collect, analyze and interpret scientific data. Teachers and students are given training in creating hypotheses, collecting and interpreting data, and how to present results, culminating in a weekend symposium where students and teachers gather at Indiana University’s Department of Geological Sciences to present their year’s research.

Direct Imaging with Teleseismic Wavefields

Research aims to utilize new broadband seismic arrays to provide higher resolution images of the earth. (Pavlis)

Southeast Caribbean Plate Margin

Multidisciplinary study of the boundary between the South American and Caribbean plates. Work is focused on a major broadband seismic array experiment centered on Venezuela. (Pavlis)

St. Elias Erosion and Tectonics Project (STEEP)

The STEEP project is a multidisciplinary study of tectonics of southeastern Alaska. A focus of the project is understanding possible links between tectonics and glacial erosion. (Pavlis)

Seismic Hazards in Indiana

Current project to study seismic hazards of the state of Indiana through analysis of modern digital seismic data. (Pavlis, Hamburger)

Earthquake Location and Local Earthquake Tomography

  • Local earthquake tomography and the inseparable problem of earthquake location. (Pavlis)
  • Earthquakes and crustal deformation at Pinatubo and Taal volcanoes (Hamburger)
  • Seismicity and crustal deformation in the U.S. midcontinent (Wabash Valley Seismic Zone of southern Indiana and Illinois (Hamburger)
  • Regional Crustal Deformation in Philippines (Hamburger)
  • Postseismic Deformation. Using GPS data and mechanical models to examine postseismic deformation processes follwing large earthquakes including the 2002 Denali, Alaska Earthquake and the 2004 Parkfield Earthquake
    (K. Johnson)
  • Earthquake cycle deformation. This research involves the development of mechanical viscoelastic earthquake cycle models of interseismic deformation to GPS data for lithosphere rheology and fault slip rates in Taiwan and California
    (K. Johnson)
  • Fault Friction. Using GPS measurements of rapid deformation following earthquakes to infer the spatial distribution of frictional properties of faults. (K. Johnson)
  • Analysis of Suspect Terranes (Wintsch)
  • Low Grade Rocks and Slaty Cleavage (Wintsch)
  • Mylonites and Fault Rocks (Wintsch)
  • Stress within the lithosphere during subduction. (Douglas)
  • Brittle and ductile deformation of the lithosphere (Douglas)