Computational Earthquake Physics  

  Mechanics of porous media  

  Geodynamics across the scales  

  Tectonics and topographic evolution  

Modeling earthquake source processes is a multi-physics, multi-scale, societally important endeavor that tightly links several geoscience disciplines. My group leverage both theoretical and computational methods to develop physics-based models and combine them with observations and laboratory experiments. With the use of these models, we aim to capture relevant problems at the societal scales of interest, including scenarios of large destructive earthquakes, prediction of strong ground motion, physics-based estimates of long-term seismic hazard, and potential for induced seismicity.

• Computational Mechanics of Geomaterials

• Earthquake Source Processes

• Fundamentals of Sliding/Dynamic Friction

• Solid-fluid Interactions

The topographic evolution in actively deforming mountain ranges is controlled by a nonlinear feedback between tectonic deformation and surface runoff induced by precipitation. Recent advances in numerical modeling have provided intriguing insights into the dynamical coupling between atmospheric and solid Earth processes. In my group we develope and apply thermal-mechanical numerical experiments to investigate the influence of surface erosion during continental plate collision and orogenesis. These models help to better understand observations obtained in the field, which provides a more comprehensive insight into topographic, crustal, and and faulting processes.

• Fold-and-thrust belts

• Coupling tectonic and topographic erosion

• Brittle-ductile crustal deformation

Large-scale geodynamic processes are substantially multi-scale process where the stresses are built by long-term tectonic motions, modified by rapid deformations during earthquakes, and then restored by following multiple relaxation processes. To bridge these broad range of timescales, we develop a cross-scale thermomechanical models aimed at simulating seismic cycles and long-term tectonic deformation. We these multi-physics and multi-scale models, we aim at better understanding the tectonic and rheological controls governing the spatiotemporal occurrence of fault slip, ranging from earthquakes to slow slip and continuous creep. 

• Seismic cycle with viscoelasticity

• Subduction dynamics

• Mantle-lithosphere interactions

• Crustal deformation: Folding and Faulting

Unstable porous-media flows are essential to understanding many natural and man-made processes, including water infiltration in rocks, ice-sheet flow, geothermal fluid circulation, and CO2 sequestration, and induced seismicity. My group combines theory and simulations that elucidate fundamental aspects of fluid flow, which we then apply for prediction of large-scale Earth science problems in the areas of energy and the environment, including geological carbon sequestration. We develop software that couples fluid flow in porous and fractured media with thermo-hydro-mechanical models and statistical and physical earthquake modes.

• Fluid flow in poro-visco-elasto-plastic rocks

• Coupled models of fault slip and fluid flow

• Fluid injection and induced-seismicity

• Ice-sheet flow and ice-quakes

3-D dynamic simulation of fault slip

High-resolution porosity waves (You Wu, BSc student @ETH)

Strain-rate map showing the long-term evolution of a convergent margin: from subduction to collision

Rock composition showing the long-term evolution of a fold-and-thrust belt