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The majority of my research uses various seismic methods (e.g., tomography, SKS splitting) to determine physical properties (e.g., seismic velocity, anisotropy) of the crust and upper mantle (surface to ~400 km depth). We can use this information for many reasons, however, the primary goal of my work is to infer past tectonic conditions for several continents.

What is seismic tomography?

Much like how a CT scan can image the inside of a human body using electromagnetic waves, we can use elastic waves from distant earthquakes to image the inside of the planet. This allows us to differentiate areas of fast and slow seismic velocities, from which we infer as various physical constraints (rock type, temperature, partial melt, viscosity, etc.).

What is seismic anisotropy?

Seismic anisotropy is a phenomenon where seismic waves travel faster in one direction through a medium than in another. We can measure the velocity difference as well as the direction of anisotropy to infer mineral orientation in the mantle. We can then interpret the anisotropy, or grain orientation, in a tectonic context.