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Detecting seismic anomalies in the deepest mantle

Advisor’s Name



Associate Professor


University of Southern California





Research Interests and Current Projects


My primary research interests as a structural seismologist are in reconstructing the evolution of the dynamic Earth through the study of earthquakes, tectonic processes, and seismic imaging. Much of my work is focused on the three-dimensional structural evolution of the deep Earth.


Title of the URP

Detecting seismic anomalies in the deepest mantle

URP Host

X  Advisor’s Institution          USTC

URP Financial Support

  No       Living Cost       Traveling Cost     

 Living and Traveling Cost

 Others (please specify):

URP Start Time

June or August 2016



July 1 or Sept 1

Brief Description of the URP

The student will use broadband data from USArray and other dense seismic arrays to help with the unprecedented opportunity for investigating seismic structures within the deep mantle. Seismic observations of phases sampling the lower mantle have suggested Ultra Low Velocity Zones (ULVZs), a possible perovskite to postperovskite at the base of the mantle, Large Low Shear Velocity Provinces (LLSVPs), and rolling-hills of primordial material on the core-mantle boundary (CMB).  The project is based upon continuing research collaboration with Prof. Meghan Miller and Prof. Daoyuan Sun.

Requirements for Students

and Prerequisite Courses


The student must have experience using UNIX, in particular shell scripting, and making maps in GMT, as well as experience downloading (from IRIS or other datacenters) and processing broadband seismic data.  Prerequisites include courses in seismology, geophysics, and upper division mathematics.  Other useful skills include python, Matlab, or other languages.




Some Information:

1.      The School of Earth and Space Sciences (SESS), USTC recruits ~100 undergraduate students each year in five academic programs: solid Earth geophysics, space physics, atmospheric sciences, geochemistry, and environmental sciences.  About 20-30% of senior undergraduate students will choose to pursue their PhD in top foreign institutions in the US, Canada, or European countries. The URP summer project is designed for the 3rd year undergraduate students who have already accomplished a few core courses in each program.

2.      For “URP Location”, if you prefer to supervise the student in your institution, please choose “Advisor’s Institution”; if you want to remotely supervise the student at USTC, please choose ‘USTC’. For each student who conducts the URP, we will assign one contact advisor in SESS, USTC to help the foreign advisor more effectively communicate with the student if needed.

3.      For “URP Financial Support”, about 20 excellent undergraduate students in SESS received full financial support from USTC to conduct the URP in top foreign institutions in 2015, including MIT and Caltech. Some other students may have partial financial support from USTC. If you do have some funding to support or partially support the student who takes the URP in your institution, please mark your choice by underlining the corresponding texts.

4.      For “URP Start Time” and “URP End Time”, the preferred UPR time for USTC students is between late June and early September, normally about 8 weeks.  

5.      If a foreign advisor has multiple projects, please fill out a separate form for each project.

6.      We will interview all students who intend to conduct the URP with the foreign advisors to make sure that they are well qualified, including English communication skills. We encourage foreign advisors have separate interview with the students who are interested in his/her projects if necessary.

7.      Please submit this form to Ms. Chanjuan Sun ( is in charge of international exchange affairs in SESS, USTC.

8.      The submission deadline for the URP form is March 10, 2016. We will organize the students’ interview in mid March.

9.      If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Prof. Huajian Yao (, the vice dean in charge of educational affairs in SESS, USTC.