UAF researchers show work at seismology meeting

Rod Boyce
April 26, 2023

Fifteen people from the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute attended the annual meeting of the Seismological Society of America in San Juan, Puerto Rico, earlier this month.

The group, which included graduate students, gave several oral and poster presentations at the four-day meeting.

“The Seismological Society of America meeting is routinely a favorite of graduate students,” said Michael West, Alaska Earthquake Center director. “It is big enough to draw our entire field while still being accessible.”

“The society has existed for well over a century and offers a meaningful blend of leading edge fundamental research together with applications to reduce earthquake risk,” he said.

Student at SSA meeting
Photo by Mike West
Ph.D. student Sebin John presents his research on observing the impact of ocean storms and sea ice on seismic background noise across Alaska.

Earthquake center research seismologist Ezgi Karasözen, graduate student Liam Toney of the Alaska Volcano Observatory and Wilson Alaska Technical Center, and Kate Allstadt of the U.S. Geological Survey gave an oral presentation titled, “Detecting, Locating, Characterizing and Monitoring Non-earthquake Seismoacoustic Sources.”

Karasözen also presented a poster about the July 2022 launch of the open-access journal Seismica. She was involved in the publication's creation, which was a response to steep increases in article processing charges at some journals.

Ph.D. student Sarah Noel gave an oral presentation about machine learning phase-detection algorithms, specifically the earthquake transformer algorithm, as a third source for cataloging Alaska earthquakes.

Graduate student researcher Nealey Sims presented a poster about his work creating a high-resolution seismic catalog for the Minto Flats fault zone in central Alaska. 

Postdoctoral fellow Julien Thurin gave an oral presentation about the seismic characterization of the explosive subevents of the January 2022 Hunga-Tonga volcanic eruption.

Thurin also presented a poster showcasing recent applications of MTUQ, an open-source Python package for moment tensor estimation and uncertainty quantification in 1D and 3D Earth models.

Graduate student researcher Amanda McPherson’s poster presentation explained her research in creating a database that she then used to invert for the moment tensor solutions of 70 regional earthquakes in Alaska using MTUQ.

Postdoctoral fellow Yuan Tian gave an oral presentation about the seismic response of the Nenana Basin based on 3D seismic wavefield simulations of local and regional earthquakes. Knowing the seismic response of a sedimentary basin can aid in understanding active tectonics and in assessing seismic hazards.

Postdoctoral fellow Evans Onyango gave an oral presentation about the subduction zone interface of the southern 1964 Great Alaska Earthquake, which measured magnitude 9.2. He used data collected as part of the Alaska Amphibious Community Seismic Experiment in 2019.

West gave an oral presentation about the land, air and water signature of large calving events at Alaska’s Barry Glacier. 

Postdoctoral fellow Bryant Chow gave an oral presentation about his research into deformation and structure in northern Alaska. His work included the use of adjoint tomography, a seismic imaging method that generates high-resolution images of Earth structure.

Travel distance will be a little shorter next year. The 2024 annual meeting will be held April 23-27 in Anchorage. West and associate professor Carl Tape are the meeting’s co-chairs.