Nanyang Technological University
Election Year: 1999
Primary Section: 15, Geology
Secondary Section: 16, Geophysics
Membership Type: Member
My research is principally in earthquake geology. I use landforms, strata, and chronology to explore the behavior of active faults (paleoseismology) and the evolution of tectonic landscapes (neotectonics). The San Andreas fault nearest Los Angeles, for example, has produced large earthquakes about every 130 years, on average, for the past two millennia. But these intervals are highly variable. Piecing together a more complete spatial and temporal pattern of large earthquakes along this major element of the Pacific/North American plate boundary continues to be one of my goals. I have also investigated active faults beneath the urban regions of southern California. These faults are similar to those that have produced historical damaging earthquakes there. An interest in understanding the repeatability of large earthquakes has led me to explore the paleoseismic activity of other faults as well -- most recently the Sumatran subduction zone. There the annual growth bands of coral "microatolls" contain long records of sea level change. These changes reflect uplift and submergence preceding, during, and following earthquakes, some as large as magnitude 9. These deformations are valuable for understanding strain accumulation and relief throughout the earthquake cycle.