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David Oglesby

Associate Professor of Geophysics
David Oglesby
Exploring Earthquake Prediction and Impacts
Research that complements each other’s work has led James Dieterich and David Oglesby to answer big questions in the area of earthquake science as they individually study the physical processes that control earthquakes and the processes themselves. Why and when does an earthquake occur and how does it interact with other earthquakes in fault systems? Why do some earthquakes stop while others keep going? What causes some earthquakes to become large while others stay small? And how do these factors lead to the ground motion we experience on the surface of the earth?

Areas of Expertise

Research Summary

Earthquake physics (in particular, the effects of fault geometry and stress inhomogeneity on earthquake dynamics), computational models of faulting, wave propagation, and earthquake ground motion; strong-motion seismology.

Q&A

Q: What sets your research apart from other earthquake studies?
We incorporate as much realism into our models as possible, including realistic fault geometry, realistic material properties, and realistic frictional properties so we can get an understanding of what's going on in nature and hopefully forecast future ground motion and the occurrence of earthquakes.

Q: What do your models show?
We have been working on software technology to model the physics of earthquakes while they're happening. Starting with the nucleation of an earthquake, we can model the propagation of a slip pulse as it travels along the fault and seismic waves as they travel out from the fault, which causes ground shaking on the earth.

Q: How does your research impact everyday life?
Our models have impacts in building design, city planning and engineering. Through our simulation methods, we can produce synthetic earthquakes that help engineers and architects understand building safety requirements based on the potential ground motion of future earthquakes.

Q: What phase is your research in and will it go beyond California?
Our grant from the National Science Foundation is a unique endeavor, opening up new research opportunities as we incorporate individual bits of knowledge into a comprehensive perspective, taking into account many different methods, observations and models and putting them together where the whole is much greater than the sum of its parts. As the lead institution in this project, our focus is on the North American plate boundary and the San Andreas fault system of Northern and Southern California but these simulations can be performed for any earthquake-prone region on Earth.

Q: Why is UCR a great place to do research?
The primary reason is the people that are here — a unique selection of fantastic scientists paired with motivated students and supportive administration, all of whom are really interested in the earthquake process and pushing our knowledge forward. Also, the facilities at UCR are exceptional — from the computers we use and the space we have to work in, it's really an exciting, inspirational environment.

Q: What does Living the Promise mean to you?
For me, Living the Promise means the opportunity to work and engage with an amazing assortment of young scientists. I'm continually amazed and inspired by the students we have here at UC Riverside, many of whom are the first in their families to go to college.

David Oglesby “Our models have impacts in building design, city planning and engineering. Through our simulation methods, we can produce synthetic earthquakes that help engineers and architects understand building safety requirements based on the potential ground motion of future earthquakes.”

—David Oglesby
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