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USGS Mendenhall Research Fellowships: Earthquake Hazards

Date: 11/16/2010

Eight fellowship opportunities, forwarded from Brad Aagaard, USGS:

USGS Mendenhall Research Fellowships: Earthquake Hazards

2-year appointments with flexible start dates between October 2011 and March 2012

Application deadline: December 30, 2010

The following 8 fellowship opportunities related to earthquake hazards research are available within the USGS Mendenhall Research Fellowship program. The program anticipates offering 22 fellowships across a total of 49 opportunities.

Applicants are strongly urged to contact the research advisors associated with an opportunity for more information and guidance in developing a strong research proposal.

Opportunity 16: 3D Geology of the Coast Ranges-Great Valley Boundary Region and the Associated Seismic Hazard to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, California

We are constructing a 3D geologic map of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta region to support quantitative seismic hazard analyses of that important region. We are looking for a postdoc who will combine surface geologic mapping with additional techniques to contribute to that effort. The specific postdoctoral project is flexible, but some possibilities include: geologic mapping combined with potential-field geophysics to better constrain the distribution, orientation, and activity of valley-range boundary structures; or Quaternary surficial deposits mapping combined with detailed geochemical dating to constrain uplift associated with blind faults beneath the Delta; or geologic mapping of Delta-bounding uplifted Cenozoic and Mesozoic rocks combined with paleobarometry to constrain deformation rates on Delta-margin structures. The postdoc will be expected to participate as an active team member in construction of the overall 3D map, particularly with respect to integrating the findings of their own research.


Duty Station: Menlo Park, CA

Areas of Ph.D: Structural geology, tectonics, seismic stratigraphy, potential field geophysics

Research Advisors:
Russell W. Graymer, rgraymer@usgs.gov
Robert J. McLaughlin, rjmcl@usgs.gov
Robert C. Jachens, jachens@usgs.gov

Opportunity 17: Forearc Structure and Earthquake and Tsunami Hazards of the Southern Alaska-Eastern Aleutian Subduction Zone

Subduction zones pose some of the greatest earthquake and tsunami hazards to the United States. The structure of subduction zones largely controls the generation and launching of tsunamis and likely controls the width, magnitude, and segmentation of megathrust ruptures. The southern Alaska-eastern Aleutian subduction zone involves subduction of oceanic crust beneath thick continental and island-arc crust, similar to the Cascadia subduction zone. However, it has along-strike variations in subduction obliquity and sediment thickness that make it well suited to understanding subduction processes. A reevaluation of existing marine geophysical datasets, combined with historical seismicity and ongoing paleoseismic studies, is needed to compare the southern Alaska-eastern Aleutians subduction zone with other subduction zones to fully understand both near- and far-field hazards. We seek a postdoctoral fellow to pursue fundamental and applied research into subduction zone structure, processes, and tsunami generation, with a focus on the southern Alaska-eastern Aleutian subduction zone. The study may focus on any research relevant to better defining potential hazards of subduction-zone systems.


Duty Station: Menlo Park, CA, or Seattle, WA, or Anchorage, AK

Areas of Ph.D.: Geophysics, geology, and oceanography

Research Advisors:
Peter Haeussler, pheuslr@usgs.gov
Thomas Pratt, tpratt@usgs.gov;
Holly Ryan, hryan@usgs.gov
Dave Scholl, dscholl@usgs.gov
Steve Kirby, skirby@usgs.gov

Opportunity 20: Joint US-Japan Program to Develop CoulombExpress: A Near-Realtime Online Earthquake Forecasting Tool for Emergency Responders and Scientists

The spatial distribution of Coulomb stress is generally found to be correlated with the distribution of aftershocks and with the triggering of subsequent main shocks. The static Coulomb stress can be rapidly and reliably calculated, and, if it is produced automatically and made publicly available, it can serve to identify sites or faults with an increased seismic risk following mainshocks. Under this Research Opportunity, the Mendenhall Fellow would help to develop a robust automatic system to calculate Coulomb stress changes using real-time and near real-time seismic catalog information, such as magnitude, location, depth, and the two nodal planes. The simplest module would use earthquake location, depth, and magnitude only, the information most rapidly available. For cases in which focal mechanism information is available, we propose to calculate the Coulomb stress change on both nodal planes, making the assumption that the receiver (or surrounding) faults have the same strike, rake, and dip as the source faults.


Duty Station: Menlo Park, CA

Areas of Ph.D.: Geology, geophysics, seismology, computer science

Research Advisors:
Ross Stein, rstein@usgs.gov
Shinji Toda (DPRI, Kyoto University), toda@rcep.dpri.kyoto-u.ac.jp

Opportunity 21: Research for Building New Holistic Earthquake Monitoring

We seek a postdoctoral fellow to engage in studies that will develop insights and strategies for the next generation of earthquake monitoring. The research conducted in this project would test the hypothesis that geodetic and seismic data are complementary and can be used simultaneously for more robust monitoring than traditional seismically-based monitoring, not only of earthquakes but also for other deformation transients that provide clues about the accumulation and release of tectonic stresses. Research will focus on the Cascadia subduction zone in the Pacific Northwest, where both state-of-the-art seismic and geodetic networks operate, the discovery of episodic tremor and slow slip has led to the recognition that significant fractions of stored up strain energy are released aseismically, and the consequences of a major earthquake necessitates research to improve our understanding of and ability to monitor and respond to such events. The Fellow will be encouraged to explore analog studies and to demonstrate the transferability of strategies and results from the Cascadia to other regions and monitoring circumstances.


Duty Station: Seattle, WA

Areas of Ph.D.: Geology, geophysics, geodesy, seismology, physics

Research Advisors:
Joan Gomberg, Gomberg@usgs.gov
Jessica Murray-Moraleda, jrmurray@usgs.gov
John Langbein, Langbein@usgs.gov
Tim Melbourne, tim@geology.cwu.edu
Paul Bodin, bodin@uw.edu
John Vidale, john_vidale@mac.com

Opportunity 22: Dynamic Rupture, Ground Motion and High-Speed Fault Strength

The focus of this opportunity is on new research in seismology, computational geophysics or rock mechanics that considers fault strength, the resulting particle motions and radiated field resulting from slip at speeds in the range of millimeters to meters per second. We invite proposals to determine mechanisms and implications of dynamic weakening at high slip speed for earthquake source properties and ground motion. The research scope is broad; including, but not limited to, making testable, predictive models of rupture propagation and ground motion, exploring seismological observations for constraints on dynamic fault strength, making direct measurements of fault strength at dynamic slip speeds, and developing constitutive relations of dynamic weakening for use in numerical models.


Duty Station: Menlo Park, CA

Areas of PhD: Geophysics, geology, seismology, physics, computer science, applied mathematics

Research Advisors:
Brad Aagaard, baagaard@usgs.gov
Nick Beeler, nbeeler@usgs.gov
William Ellsworth, ellsworth@usgs.gov
Ruth Harris, harris@usgs.gov
David Lockner, dlockner@usgs.gov
Joe Andrews, jandrews@usgs.gov

Opportunity 23: Mapping the San Andreas Fault System in the Third Dimension -- In the Salton Trough, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Central California

Understanding the Earth in the third dimension is particularly important to earthquake hazards research, given that earthquakes originate in the subsurface. For example, faults in California are seismogenic in the general depth range 3 to 15 km, and basins, which enhance shaking, range in depth from less than 1 km to more than 10 km. A combination of active and passive seismic imaging of the subsurface is critical to understanding many areas of ongoing earthquake hazards research at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Specific projects for postdoctoral proposals under this opportunity include: (1) acquisition, processing, and interpretation of data from the upcoming (Feb 2011) Salton Seismic Imaging Survey (SSIP) and seismicity data for structure, earthquake hazards, and magmatic systems in the Salton Trough; (2) processing and interpretation of active- and passive-source seismic data for structure and velocities (a) in the transition region from the southern Rodgers Creek to the northern Hayward Faults and (b) along the Peninsular San Andreas Fault; and (3) reprocessing of industry seismic data, modeling of seismicity data, and evaluation of tectonics of the central California Coast Ranges and Great Valley.


Duty Station: Menlo Park, CA

Areas of Ph.D.: Geology, seismology, geophysics

Research Advisors:
Rufus Catchings, catching@usgs.gov
Gary Fuis, fuis@usgs.gov
Michael Rymer, mrymer@usgs.gov
John Hole, hole@vt.edu
Rowena Lohman, rolohman@gmail.com
Jeff McGuire, jmcguire@whoi.edu
Joann Stock, jstock@gps.caltech.edu
Graham Kent, gkent@seismo.unr.edu

Opportunity 24. Exploring the Earthquake Cycle in Southern California

The focus of this Opportunity is on research in seismology that will lead to a deeper understand fault behavior and the nature of the earthquake cycle through analysis of continuous and triggered waveforms recorded by the Southern California Seismic Network (SCSN) over the past 3 decades. Research proposals on non-volcanic tremor are invited to identify regions where tremor is occurring, to explore how tremor responds to tidal loading and distant earthquakes, to develop methods for detecting and quantifying tremor in near-real-time, and to develop models and theories of the underlying physical processes that generate tremor. Research proposals on earthquakes are invited to study the long-term evolution of seismicity along specific fault structures using waveform-based methods to better quantify the seismic behavior of faults, to provide evidence for or against repeating earthquakes on southern California faults, and to search for temporal changes in the crust related to earthquake activity. Proposals that explore the nature and physical processes associated with large earthquake sequences are also welcome. The availability of real-time data on a state-of-the art network provides a laboratory for prospective testing of hypotheses.


Duty Station: Pasadena, CA or Menlo Park, CA

Areas of Ph.D.: Geophysics, geology, seismology, physics, computer science

Research Advisors:
Susan Hough, hough@usgs.gov
William Ellsworth, ellsworth@usgs.gov
David Shelly, dshelly@usgs.gov

Opportunity 25: Developing Earthquake Damage Detection Methods and An Early Warning System for Nation's Infrastructure

We seek a postdoctoral fellow to engage in studies that will develop insights and strategies for the next generation of structural health monitoring. The currently available system identification methods that use data from structural arrays can determine if the structure has been damaged, but cannot indicate precisely the location of the damage, and are hence referred to as global. The research conducted in this project will focus on development of reliable methods and algorithms for structural system identification, local early warning and damage detection. Another facet of the research opportunity will be implementation of these methods into the USGS/NSMP integrated structural health monitoring system to assess the effect of shaking in the structure during an earthquake.


Duty Station: Menlo Park, CA

Areas of Ph.D.: Engineering, computer science

Research Advisors:
Erol Kalkan, ekalkan@usgs.gov
Joe Fletcher, jfletcher@usgs.gov