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Development of a New Method to Investigate the Mechanisms of Deep Earthquakes

Advisor’s Name



Assistant Professor


Department of Earth, Planetary and Space Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles





Research Interests and Current Projects

Prof. Meng’s research is focused on the earthquake physics, where he uses both observational and numerical approaches for problem solving. He is interested in developing advanced source imaging techniques applying to large earthquakes, with the most recent example of the 2014 Iquique megathrust earthquake and 2015 Nepal earthquake. The observational constraint from such fine imaging allows addressing open questions in earthquake physics. He is also involved in mitigating seismic and tsunami hazard through Earthquake Early Warning (EEW). He is developing a next-generation EEW system composed of small-scale seismic arrays that track the rupture growth and directivity effect in real time.

Title of the URP

Development of a New Method to Investigate the Mechanisms of Deep Earthquakes

URP Host

  Advisor’s Institution          USTC

URP Financial Support

  No       Living Cost       Traveling Cost    

  Living and Traveling Cost

  Others (please specify):

URP Start Time

July 1st, 2016



August 31st , 2016

Brief Description of the URP

The physics of deep earthquakes remains enigmatic. Deep earthquakes occur at depths where high pressure strongly inhibits brittle failure and where high temperatures result in increasingly ductile deformation. The plausible mechanisms to promote catastrophic failure below 70 km include dehydration embrittlement, mineral phase transformations (from olivine to spinel) and thermally induced shear instability. The aim of this proposal is to examine whether/how seismic observations support one or multiple of these mechanisms. We propose to perform a comprehensive analysis of global large intermediate-depth and deep-focus earthquakes. These efforts include:  (1) constraining the spatial and depth extent of deep-earthquake ruptures through a novel fully 3D back-projection technique (3DBP), (2) systematically measuring sub-event focal mechanisms by multiple source inversion, and (3) robust characterization of source complexity by combining finite fault inversions with back-projection and multiple source inversion. The proposed work will take full advantage of the increasing availability of seismic records from global and regional seismic networks, as well as state-of-the-art earthquake source imaging techniques employed in current seismological research.

Requirements for Students

and Prerequisite Courses