A statistical picture of strain partitioning

Strain partitioning has interested me since I first heard about it. The basic idea is that in some regions, the strain field is not aligned exactly with the dominant fault system, so that fault system can't act as a 'pure' strike-slip or dip-slip fault system and relieve all of the …

The exponential decay of information

One of the major challenges of geology is the increasing sparsity of information about increasingly older times in Earth's history. This presents difficulties both when one is investigating a particular era, and when one is interested in looking at the frequency of events through time, or the frequency of rare …

New paper in review on earthquake cycle and slip rate variability

Around the new year, I wrote a quick blog post to answer for myself a question about how the natural variability in earthquake timing can effect slip rate measurements over different timescales. The results from the blog post demonstrated that there is a lot of slip rate variability over timescales …

Science writing: What we know vs. what we don't know

Academic science writing (primarily journal articles) uses a rhetorical framework that lays out a portion of some scientific discipline or natural process, locates and describes the 'knowledge frontier' that bounds what is known and what is unknown, and zooms into that frontier to answer a tidy question and install a …

Very short earthquake recurrence times

The belief that earthquakes release most or all of the accumulated shear stress on a fault is widespread among both scientists and the general public. It is closely related to, and may stem directly from, Henry Reid's idea of elastic rebound theory: The crust slowly accumulates elastic strain until the …

Side projects and sabbatical projects

In my work as a scientist, I work on projects of a range of scales. While my major projects, which I do for work, are generally multi-year and often team-based, I also frequently start smaller projects. These are generally done to scratch an intellectual itch: quantifying a certain effect that …

Active Fault Databases for Central America and the Caribbean, and the GEM Global Active Fault DB

Last week I was fortunate to give a presentation at the GEM Foundations's CCARA Final Workshop in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The CCARA, or Caribbean and Central American Risk Assessment project, is a USAID-funded project to develop a unified seismic hazard, risk, and social vulnerability model for the region. Consistent …

How earthquake recurrence variability impacts Quaternary slip rate estimates

Natural variability in the time between successive earthquakes on a fault leads to variability in slip rates measured over paleoseismic to neotectonic timescales. But how long does it take for the measured rates to be accurate?

Trying out EarthArXiv

While physics and mathematics have been using the ArXiv preprint/e-print repository for decades, we in the earth sciences haven't had something similar. The benefits of a widely-used preprint repository are large: it should increase the speed at which science is disseminated, reduce the stranglehold of journals on paper access …