California Institute of Technology
Seismological Laboratory Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences

Research

Earthquakes

Figure 1A mosaic of multiple satellite orbit tracks of interferometric radar measurements of ground movement due to the 2010 Mw 8.8 earthquake that occurred in southern Chile. The epicenter is indicated by the red star. We use these data to develop models for the spatial distribution of slip on the subsurface plate interface. About 400 km of fault length ruptured during this earthquake.

Figure by Nina Lin, Mark Simons, and Eric Fielding

The Seismological Laboratory at Caltech has a long tradition (going back to 1926) in the science of earthquakes. Our scientists have pioneered the imaging of the earthquake rupture process and we continue to advance our ability to observe and model the entire seismic cycle. The Seismo Lab takes a multidisciplinary approach to earthquake science with strong collaborative efforts involving various groups. We have focused efforts in observational, theoretical, and computational seismology, geodesy (GPS and satellite imaging techniques), and integrated physical modeling. Collaborative research is also conducted between the Seismo Lab and the Graduate Aeronautics Laboratory aimed at connecting earthquake seismology and fracture mechanics. We also have a close collaboration with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

The Seismological Laboratory, together with the USGS, developed and runs the Southern California Seismic Network (SCSN), which is now an integral part of the California Integrated Seismic Network (CISN) – one of the most advanced seismographic networks in the world.

Seismo Lab scientists doing research in this area:

Faculty

Related faculty at Caltech

Graduate students

Visiting Associates in Geophysics

* Joint with engineering
** Permanent staff of the Pasadena USGS, housed on the Caltech campus.
*** Permanent staff at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)