Project Overview

Deep Earth Imaging of the Alaskan Subduction Zone

Faculty Sponsor

Aubreya Adams (




The Alaskan subduction zone has experience the second largest earthquake in recorded history, as well as numerous other damaging earthquakes, tsunamis, and a volcanos - yet these hazards are not evenly distributed along the boundary.  Right next to the region that moved during the second largest recorded earthquake is a region that appears to have hosted no large earthquakes in thousands of years!  Why are some parts of subduction zones more dangerous than others?  The answer may lie in the structure of the crust and mantle of the tectonic plates.  In this project, you will use records of global earthquakes recorded on more than 100 stations along the southern margin of Alaska to build a model of the deep Earth structures in the Alaskan subduction zone.  Normal tasks will involve examining time-series data (records of ground motions with time), writing short computer scripts, and testing model parameters.  Prior experience with programming is not required, but during the summer you will develop transferable computing skills including handling large datasets, making interpretations based on real-world data, working with Linux systems, working with Matlab, writing short computer scripts, and reading/interpreting pre-written computer codes.

Student Qualifications

At least one class in geology and at least one class in physics, calculus, or computer science.

Number of Student Researchers

2 students

Project Length

8 weeks

Applications open on 01/03/2020 and close on 03/11/2020

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If you have questions, please contact Karyn Belanger (