Caltech's Tectonics Observatory (TO) brings together an interdisciplinary team of Caltech faculty, graduate students, postdoctoral research associates, and visitors in the areas of field-based geology, numerical modeling, remote sensing with satellite-based instruments, and laboratory analysis.
TO science focuses on geological processes that occur at the boundaries of Earth's tectonic plates, ranging from the sudden rupture of earthquakes (tens of seconds) to the slow formation of mountains (tens of millions of years).
Source Models of Large Earthquakes - rapid estimation of slip maps for many recent
large earthquakes (Mw>7)
Plate Boundary - multi-disciplinary
effort to understand tectonic processes at a plate boundary
dominated by the oblique convergence of oceanic and continental
Subduction Experiment (MASE) - construction of a dynamical (numerical) model of the subduction
process that matches the variety of subduction scenarios
present in the Central America subduction zone
Central Andean Tectonic Observatory (CAnTO) - collaborative
project that focuses on the dynamics of the South American
subduction zone, a region that spans the source area of
a high percentage of the world's largest earthquakes and
tsunamis, hundreds of active volcanoes, and the presently
rising Andean mountain range
Dynamics of fault slip - integrates theory, computational modeling, and laboratory experiments with multi-disciplinary observations of fault slip phenomena ranging from large subduction earthquakes to slow slip and tremor
Taiwan Tectonics and Seismicity - uses
this exceptional area to investigate mountain building
processes over time scales ranging from the seconds
of an earthquake to millions of years of an orogeny.
It is also an ultimate place to investigate both the
transition from subduction to collision and from collision
Collision Zone - case study
to address the question of a need for some simple models
relating crustal deformation and seismicity that would
provide some physical basis to help assess the frequency
and size of major earthquakes
Western US Dynamics - collaborative project focused on the formation and underlying dynamics of anomalous high-density structures suspended in the mantle underlying the western US. Do they come from portions of the overlying continental plate "dripping" off? Are they dangling remnants of old, subducted, oceanic plates?
Research Highlights - for general audiences