Research Interests

My research is driven by a strong curiosity about earthquake processes in subduction zones. I am intrigued by the interactions between different slip behaviors along the subduction zone interface, and their affect on long-term recurrence rates of large-to-great megathrust earthquakes (Mw7.0+). The megathrust interface includes three primary slip behaviors: (1) unstable slip, which results in earthquakes; (2) slow slip, which results from slip that occurs slowly over weeks to months, typically at depths of 30-60km, and can be accompanied by weak tectonic tremor, often referred to as a slow slip event (SSE); and (3) stable slip, which results in continuous creep at the long term fault slip rate. Repeating SSEs, a phenomenon that only recently was observed in many subduction zones, incrementally brings the adjacent, earthquake-generating section(s), or more hazardous portion of the interface, closer to failure. This implies that with each successive SSE, there is an increased likelihood of large-to-great earthquakes. However without long catalogues of these interactions it is difficult to accurately determine the probability that a SSE will trigger a large-to-great earthquake. To date, I have focused on investigating the role of SSEs in subduction zone dynamics. By better understanding these fundamental subduction zone processes, critical improvements can be made to seismic hazard assessments of subduction zones.

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