Physics of the earthquake cycle: Full lithosphere dynamics

The earthquake physics group looks at fundamental problems of earthquake and lithosphere dynamics to understand the mechanisms of earthquake generation and of strain evolution at plate boundaries. What are the fundamental ingredients required to explain the evolution of the Sumatran subduction zone in the last decade? What is the role of the geometry of the megathrust, or its subducted features, in fault segmentation? Or are the variations in frictional properties what only inherently explain the complexity of the observations? What is the role of off-fault deformation in the earthquake cycle? Is the asthenosphere a passive domain carrying the continents or does the dynamics of viscous flow modulate the earthquake cycle in the brittle region? We seek answers to these questions using a combination of geodetic and seismological data, and by considering insight from structural geology and paleoseismology. Our preferred method of investigation is through modelling, which often requires building novel methods of analysis.

Project Years: 

2015, 2016, 2017

The goal of this project is to explore the dynamics of the earthquake cycle and of the deformation of the lithosphere to better inform seismic hazard assessment.

Sylvain Barbot's group is researching the role of water in the movement of Earth's tectonic plates.