University of California, Riverside

Earth Sciences

Department of Earth Sciences

Earthquake Processes & Geophysics

Research Splash

Earthquake Physics

Group The Department of Earth Sciences at the University of California, Riverside, is a growing center for earthquake physics research. Areas of research include:

  • Numerical and analytical models to investigate the physics of the earthquake nucleation, rupture, and slip processes. Recent examples of research topics include the long-term evolution of geometrically complex fault systems, the effects of pore fluid heating on earthquake slip, and the dynamic interactions of nonplanar fault segments.
  • Experimental investigations of the high-temperature, high-pressure rheology and petrology of geological materials. A particular focus is the physics of deep earthquakes, with applications to shallow subduction earthquakes as well. Recent projects include investigations of dehydration embrittlement and its applications to intermediate-depth earthquakes, the anticrack mechanism for deep earthquake initiation and very recent evidence of serpentine-induced enhancement of the depth to which normal frictional sliding can be extended.
  • Magnetotellurics and earth structure; observational studies of earthquake precursors. This group uses electromagnetic measurements to investigate the structure of the crust, with particular emphasis on faults. It also monitors faults for electromagnetic signals that may indicate impending seismic activity. Recent research topics include investigations of crustal and fault structure in Central Asia, as well as electromagnetic monitoring of the San Andreas Fault in Parkfield.

Faculty Involved:
 Dieterich, Ghosh, Green, Oglesby

Neotectonics and Structural Geology

Mojave Desert

Because of the extremely active local tectonic setting, study in this department has addressed questions concerning the development and history of the Transverse Ranges, Mojave Desert, and several local basins to gain a better understanding of the offset history of the San Andreas Fault.

  • Estimation of the timing of uplift and strike slip relative to the San Gabriel Mountains
  • GIS applications to geologic history of southern California
  • Mapping of recent and historical mud and debris flows for risk assessment
  • Paleogeographic evolution of the San Andreas fault based on cross-fault correlation

Faculty Involved: Morton, Sadler

Tectonic Geomorphology

  • Determining rates of vertical and horizontal crustal displacements in active tectonic settings using geomorphic, sedimentological and geochronological methods
  • Mapping active faults in California and Asia
  • Defining rates and modes of landscape evolution along active faults and in fold belts
  • Quantifying rates of mountain uplift and incision
  • Regional mapping of Quaternary sediments and landforms in Southern California

Faculty Involved:

Funning, Kendrick


Petrology, Geochemistry, Geothermics

Iceland hot spring Within this group, faculty members and students are working on a broad range of projects both locally and globally addressing questions on diverse aspects of petrology and geochemistry. With excellent research facilities the experimental deformation of rocks and minerals at high temperature and pressure invites a broad range of research questions.

  • Mechanism and condition of growth of metamorphic diamonds from ultra-high pressure felsic gneisses
  • Experimental modeling of the ultra-deep metamorphic process and mineral phase transformation utilizing multianvil apparatus
  • Decompression microstructures in rocks subjected to ultra-high pressure metamorphism
Geochemistry of a High-level Nuclear Waste repository in Japan

Faculty Involved:
Dobrzhinetskaya, Green, McKibben, Morton

More Information

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

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Earth Sciences Information

Department of Earth Sciences
Geology Building

Tel: (951) 827-3434
Fax: (951) 827-4324