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Fault Geomorphology and Seismic Hazard of Major Fault Zones

  • Full or part time
    Dr John Elliott
    Dr L Gregory
    Prof T Wright
  • Application Deadline
    Wednesday, August 28, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Project description
This exciting project aims to improve our understanding of relative crustal faulting activity and better assess earthquake hazard on a number of major fault zones by combining high resolution satellite optical imagery and DEMs with deterministic seismic hazard and risk models. This project will use novel space-based instruments (Elliott et al, 2016) and develop quantitative methodologies to assess active tectonic geomorphology. Determining the activity of faults is especially important near rapidly growing cities in poorer countries with less resilient infrastructure.

The aim is to identify the relative activity of fault segments in and around earthquake-prone cities. Initially the project will focus on the city of Santiago, Chile where a recently identified fault (Armijo et al., 2010) runs along the edge of the city. This builds directly on a recent study we completed examining the seismic risk for the city (Hussain et al., in review). Further earthquake prone cities will also be targeted for high resolution imagery and DEM analysis by creating high-resolution 3D landscape models from the satellite optical imagery. This will be used to quantify the fault geomorphology to better constrain deterministic seismic hazard models using the OpenQuake seismic hazard and risk engine from the Global Earthquake Model (GEM) foundation (Silva et al., 2014).

In this project, the student will apply the latest techniques in measuring active tectonics, faulting and seismic hazard. The project will have the following specific objectives:
1.The student will use very-high resolution stereo satellite optical imagery over Santiago Chile to extract topographic data across the active San Ramon fault and parts of the city. They will compare the DEM quality and usefulness for tectonic geomorphology of a hierarchal suite of topographic data (WV3, Pleiades, SPOT, PRISM, Vivid-i, TanDEM-X, AW3D, GDEM, SRTM).
2.They will apply algorithms to map out and identify the fault scarp using gradient, curvature, aspect and diffusivity metrics. This quality of the results of fault identification will be compared to the results that can be derived from pre-existing LiDAR open datasets elsewhere (such as in California).
3. The student will incorporate the fault location and segmentation into hazard calculations using the OpenQuake seismic hazard and risk engine from the Global Earthquake Model (GEM).
4. The student will apply these techniques to other active fault zones that threaten large population centres around the globe where high resolution optical imagery exists of can be tasked to apply. The balance between these components will vary depending on the specific interests of the student.

Funding Notes

The funding duration for this project is 3.5 years and will including tuition fees (£4,500 for 2019/20), tax-free stipend (£15,009 for 2019/20) and research costs.

Related Subjects

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