Studying Earthquake Faults: From the Sky and with Boots on the Ground 🗓

Rolling Hills Estate, California Map

IEEE CLAS Life Members Affinity Group
Meeting Date: June 16, 2018
Time: 10AM – 12 Noon
Speaker: Andrea Donnellan of Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Location: Rolling Hills Estate, California
Cost: none
RSVP: requested, through website
Event Details: IEEE vTools
California’s earthquake faults take up the motion of the Pacific and North American tectonic plates. Tectonic deformation of the Earth’s crust can be measured using the Global Positioning System (GPS), differenced radar images, and topography measured from small UAVs (drones). Combining the measurements with computational models makes it possible to understand past earthquakes and current earthquake fault behavior. The measurements show triggered slip on networks of faults in southern California following moderate to large earthquakes. A significant portion of the slip is aseismic, which would reduce the earthquake hazard. Analysis of regional crustal deformation shows a bifurcating plate boundary with two branches that extend from the Gulf of California and follow the San Andreas fault system, and Eastern California Shear Zone. The analysis also can be used to rank relative activity between fault systems.

Bio: Andrea Donnellan is a principal research scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Andrea Donnellan studies how earthquakes and plate tectonics relate by integrating observations from space, aircraft, small drones, and computational modeling. She has conducted field studies in California, Antarctica, the Altiplano of Bolivia, Mongolia, and Variegated Glacier in Alaska. Andrea Donnellan received a B.S. in geology from the Ohio State University in 1986, a master’s and Ph.D. in geophysics from Caltech in 1988 and 1991 respectively, and an M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Southern California in 2003. She has won the Presidential Early Career Award, NASA’s Software of the Year Award, the MUSES of the California Science Center Woman of the Year Award, and Women in Aerospace Award for Outstanding Achievement. The Donnellan Glacier in Antarctica is named in honor of her work on that continent. She is an instrument rated commercial land and sea pilot, an FAA and NASA certified small UAS pilot, and a certified scuba diver.