Earthquakes have caused significant damage and fatalities to human society. Reducing losses from earthquakes and relevant secondary hazards such as tsunami demands better understanding of earthquake physics. In CUHK, we are striving to understand earthquake processes and their governing factors, from both observational seismological records and numerical simulations of earthquake rupture propagation. We aim at better elucidating critical factors that control earthquake rupture extent (the magnitude of the earthquake) so as to improve our preparation for future earthquakes.
Earthquakes occur on faults, and faults slip when the stress level exceeds the frictional strength. Therefore, we focus on illustrating the fault zone structure, including seismological structure that is derived from near-fault observations at dense seismic network, temporal changes of fault zone structure, as well as frictional properties at depths where earthquakes occur that are estimated by integrating numerical simulations and observations.
Since the largest earthquakes on Earth occur in subduction zones, we also heavily devote into investigations of subduction zones, including the Mariana subduction zone in eastern Pacific, the central America and Cascadia subduction zones in western Pacific, the Makran subduction zone in the Indian ocean. We use seismic instruments that can sit on the seafloor, termed Ocean Bottom Seismograph, to record how ground moves during earthquakes. Then we conduct detailed analyses to explore the subduction zone structure and earthquake source mechanisms.