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Application of state-of-the-art approaches from statistical physics to understand the spatio-temporal behaviour of earthquakes and to assess time-dependent hazard


We aim to better understand the physics of earthquake dynamics from the point of view of statistical physics where regional seismicity patterns are studied, regarding for example growing spatial correlation prior to large events. The theoretical framework is criticality and complexity. The approach shows promise for forecasting the location of large events while much work remains with respect to time and magnitude.

We also address the prevalent problems of bias in data selection and decomposition of seismicity patterns by applying parameter-free methods such as Principal Components Analysis (PCA) which robustly quantify changes in the entire space for the first time. Enhancement of these methods, comparison, interpretation and systematic testing with real and synthetic earthquake catalogues will be the main activity. To efficiently carry out this work, receive most competent supervision and collaborate in a truly ideal setting we propose for the researcher, Dr. Goltz, to visit the Dept. of Geology at University of California Davis, USA.

The researcher would be supervised by Profs. Donald L. Turcotte and John B. Rundle. Prof. Turcotte recently established a program on earthquake physics with Prof. Rundle who also heads the newly established Centre for Computational Sciences and Engineering (CCSE). Dr. Goltz has developed PCA for earthquakes simultaneously with but independently from similar work by the group of Prof. Rundle. Both developments led to the same conclusions. Joining the program at U.C. Davis thus constitutes a rare and ideal opportunity.

The proposed activity blends perfectly with Dr. Goltz's career plan and those of the Dept. of Geophysics at Kiel University. He currently heads a small group on statistical earthquake physics and geoinformatics which is planned to be included as a permanent part of the department in the future. To be able to work and receive training at CCSE is thus an additional lucky circumstance.

Call for proposal

See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

OIF - Marie Curie actions-Outgoing International Fellowships


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