Research in the Geophysics Group At USU:

Our research seeks a better understanding of dynamical processes and properties of the solid Earth and planets. We use most of the geophysical toolbox including seismology, gravity, topography, surface heat flow and geodesy. These data are combined with other physical constraints in novel ways to explore the forces at work and their rheological controls. Applications include the earthquake cycle on faults, earthquake hazard, volcanic/magmatic processes, and rifting of continents. Priorities in these efforts include:

The role of quartz in continental tectonism

Flow Rheology of the Lithosphere

Dynamics and Seismic Hazard of the Rio Grande Rift

The Rio Grande Rift in Colorado and New Mexico is a classic example of a narrow continental rift. Three years of continuous measurement at 26 GPS sites suggests that opening of the rift is occurring at rates of less than a millimeter per year, which is near the lower bound of rates inferred from geology and terrestrial geodetic measurements. This may not be the final chapter of the story however, as other geophysical and geological data suggest a very dynamic history of magma flux into the crust (a process which is inherently transient rather than steady-state). Surface heat flow measurements, for example, exceed 90 mW m-2 over most of the region, which requires a very large contribution (half or more) from advective heat transfer. Extension is one way to advectively move heat, but rift advection would require an extension rate roughly an order of magnitude greater than that which we observe to maintain such a high surface heat flow. Stay tuned...

Processes, Frictional Rheology and Seismic Hazard of Fault Slip (Guerrero, Mexico)

Environmental Stress Forcing of Resonant Frictional Slip

Planetary Loading Processes (Tharsis rise, Mars)

Planetary Properties (Mars)

Processes of Volcano Deformation (Taal Volcano, Philippines)

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