News & Events


Srivatsan Hulikal Wins Seismo-Engineering, Prediction, and Protection Prize


Graduate student, Srivatsan Hulikal, was the recipient of the the 2015 Demetriades - Tsafka - Kokkalis Prize in Seismo-Engineering, Prediction, and Protection. In his thesis, Dr. Hulikal successfully took on the multifaceted and challenging problem of linking macroscopic frictional properties of interfaces to their micromechanics. His advisor Professor Lapusta explains, “Understanding this connection is key to addressing fundamental problems in seismo-mechanics and seismo-engineering, such as creating predictive physical models of earthquakes.”

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Faulty Behavior


Nadia Lapusta, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Geophysics, and colleagues have created new earthquake fault models showing that “stable” zones may contribute to the generation of massive earthquakes. "Lapusta and Noda's realistic earthquake fault models are critical to our understanding of earthquakes—knowledge that is essential to reducing the potential catastrophic consequences of seismic hazards," says Chair Ares Rosakis. "This work beautifully illustrates the way that fundamental, interdisciplinary research in the mechanics of seismology at Caltech is having a positive impact on society." [Caltech Release]

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Greater Insight into Earthquake Cycles


Nadia Lapusta, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Geophysics, and colleagues have developed the first computer model of an earthquake-producing fault segment that reproduces, in a single physical framework, the available observations of both the fault's seismic (fast) and aseismic (slow) behavior. "Earthquake science is on the verge of building models that are based on the actual response of the rock materials as measured in the lab—models that can be tailored to reproduce a broad range of available observations for a given region," says Lapusta. "This implies we are getting closer to understanding the physical laws that govern how earthquakes nucleate, propagate, and arrest." [Caltech Press Release]

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Aseismic Slip as a Barrier to Earthquake Propagation


Tectonics Observatory researchers including Nadia Lapusta, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Geophysics, have explored the effects of aseismic slip in the aftermath of the 2007 Peru earthquake. "This large area of aseismic slip is good news," says Jean-Philippe Avouac, Director of the Tectonics Observatory and Professor of Geology. "It lowers the seismic hazard in that region, and allows us to be a little bit predictive. We cannot tell you when there will be an earthquake, but we can tell you where there is stress buildup, and where there is no stress buildup. Where there is no stress buildup, there will be no seismic rupture. That is where the earthquakes are going to stop." [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: research highlights MCE Nadia Lapusta Jean-Philippe Avouac