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2014 Research Projects

Bridging Seismic Networks through Time and Space

Project Description: The threat of future large earthquakes compels the seismological community to understand better the likely ground motions that will result from earthquakes. Seismologists require detailed knowledge of crustal structure to accurately simulate the propagation of seismic waves. Traditional approaches rely on the occurrence of earthquakes to map the Earth’s subsurface, but these events are infrequent or absent in many regions. The ambient seismic field is recorded everywhere at all times and recent advances have shown how it can be used to improve our understanding of Earth’s structure. While these new methods usually rely on continuous and simultaneous recordings of ambient seismic noise, Ma and Beroza (2012) showed that we can bypass the condition of simultaneity using higher-order data processing. To improve our understanding of northern California crustal structure, this project targets large data sets collected at different times in the northern Sierra Nevada and Mendicino areas, and uses USArray stations to bridge both seismic networks. By using this new approach, the student will build a data base for ambient noise tomography, and construct new images of seismic wavespeed and attenuation in northern California.
Intern(s): Roy Bowling

Peter Shearer, University of California, San Diego
Marine Denolle, Harvard University


Geodetic Studies of the San Andreas Fault, San Bernardino Mountains

Project Description: Collect GPS data from the San Bernardino Mountains and vicinity. Interns will learn how to set up and operate geodetic-quality GPS antennae and receivers and will then travel as a pair to remote locations in the eastern San Bernardino Mountains and vicinity to set up GPS equipment over existing benchmarks. This will often involve hiking several miles to reach remote benchmarks and may involve camping at less remote benchmarks in order to guard the equipment from theft. Interns will also help to train a large group of other undergraduate students and high school and middle school teachers in the use of the GPS equipment beginning on July 7. Data collection will be completed by around July 15, with the remaining 3-4 weeks of the internship available for modeling and interpreting the GPS site velocities in terms of fault slip rates and preparation of a research poster to present at the SCEC meeting in September.
Intern(s): Lindsay Arvin, Seulgi Son, Max Longchamp, Tarra Thompson

Sally McGill, California State University, San Bernardino

Improving the Density of GPS Velocities in Southern California by Resurveying Single Occupation Sites

Project Description: The project includes the creation of a feature-length documentary with reenactments of a major rupture and first responders. The 7 Steps To Earthquake Safety will be tied into these interweaving narratives of real first hand experiences. An educators toolkit, interactive website and mobile app will be anchored by the movie, and provide resources for families, schools and offices to better prepare for future earthquakes. Interns will work in preproduction (producing, archival, graphic design, social media, etc.) and as a production assistant on 10-14 shooting days.
Intern(s): Lisa Jose

Gareth Funning, University of California, Riverside
John Conrad, Graduate student


InSight - Vital Signs of the Planet Program Internship

Project Description: InSight (Interior exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy, and Heat Transport) is a NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) Discovery Program mission that will place a single geophysical lander on Mars in 2016 to study its deep interior. The mission homepage is at: http://insight.jpl.nasa.gov The Vital Signs intern will assist program leaders in the administration and implementation of the Vital Signs of the Planet program including:

  • Assist with planning and facilitation of program activities in June, July, and September 2014.
  • Participate in a 5-day field research component in partnership with California State University, San Bernardino using survey mode GPS to monitor tectonic deformation in Southern California.
  • Present research findings at the SCEC Annual Meeting in Palm Springs, CA in September 2014
  • Assist in the planning, coordination, and implementation a daylong InSight science workshop for Southern California science educators to be held at the San Bernardino County Museum in Redlands.

Intern(s): Luis Gomez

Robert de Groot, University of Southern California
Bernadette Vargas, Etiwanda High School
Mark Kline, Banning High School
Sally McGill, California State University, San Bernardino


Fragility of Concrete Buildings

Project Description: Older, taller concrete buildings have been some of the deadliest buildings in past earthquakes and are the target of moves to require retrofitting of dangerous structures. However, not all concrete buildings perform badly and it is a matter of debate what makes a concrete structure weak and how many concrete buildings are truly dangerous. No study has determined what percentage of concrete buildings are damaged or destroyed as a function of measured ground motions. The NEES project has recently compiled a list of concrete buildings for the City of Los Angeles. Dr. Jones is working the the City this year and has a partnership with the Department of Building and Safety which has the records of buildings damaged in the Northridge earthquake and the USGS has a detailed map of the ground motions in that earthquake. These three datasets will be compared to determined the percentage of concrete buildings that were damaged at each shaking level.
Intern(s): Gwenaell Calais-Haase, Kent Ma, Karissa Smith, Becky Roh

Lucille Jones, United States Geological Survey
Erin Burkett, United States Geological Survey