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Yu-Fang Hsu

University of Southern California
phd student

Expertise: Seismicity dynamics, earthquake statistics
About Me Publications
When I was a sophomore in the Department of Geography, the Meinong earthquake struck southern Taiwan and caused severe crustal deformation. It triggered the rupture stretching nearly 20 kilometers far from the hypocenter of its mainshock and led to more than 100 casualties. The special rupture patterns sparked my interest to explore the triggering process of the earthquake. To understand the characteristics of underground structures and the special rupture patterns near the Meinong mainshock, I applied for the College Student Research Project supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan, and got accepted. To acquire the research skills for Seismology research, I attended the Summer Research Program held by the Institute of Earth Science, Academia Sinica, Taiwan. Through the program, I learned how to relocate the position of the earthquake clusters and analyze the underground deformation patterns through the focal mechanisms and spatiotemporal migration patterns. Applying these skills to the research project, I found the crustal fluid flow might be responsible for a subgroup of the aftershocks. These were exciting discoveries for me because they revealed the important interaction between seismicity and crustal fluid of the frontal orogenic belts in Taiwan. I made up my mind to explore the dynamic triggering process like fluid- induced earthquakes in the Taiwan regions by pursuing a research-based master’s degree.
During my master's years, I used the nearest-neighbor approach declustering method, developed by Professor Yehuda Ben-Zion, to distinguish earthquake clusters from background seismicity in the Taiwan regions. I discovered that the characteristics of some earthquake clusters acted like swarms. Therefore, I wrote an automatic program to calculate the hydraulic diffusivity according to the spatiotemporal migration patterns of these swarms. My research showed that some swarms revealed the earthquake triggering process of crustal fluid flow beneath the orogenic belts in Taiwan. The observation sparked my passion to further explore the dynamics of seismicity such as the interaction between crustal fluid, seismicity, and geology. Due to my interest and related experiences, I decided to make a contribution to the field of Seismology as a researcher. Now I am a first-year phD student working with Professor Yehuda Ben-Zion.