Current Abstract

February 13th, 2024 Meeting Abstract

Where Faults Get Stuck: The Nature of Plate Boundary Coupling and Implications for Earthquakes


Presented by: Dr. Matt Herman



The general earthquake process (elastic rebound model) has been understood and successfully applied in the context of plate tectonics for decades. Yet the locations and effects of frictionally locked “asperities” (areas of faults that can generate large earthquakes) remain elusive, particularly in underwater subduction settings where the largest earthquakes occur and can generate massive tsunamis. New geophysical observations in subduction zones from Chile to New Zealand to Alaska, combined with advanced geodynamic models of fault locking processes, allow us to better constrain the locations of asperities and determine the effects of locking on earthquake behaviors. Lessons from these subduction-focused models can also be applied to understanding the San Andreas fault system here in California.



Dr. Herman is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geological Sciences at California State University Bakersfield, where he teaches courses on natural hazards, geophysics, plate tectonics, and geodynamics. He collaborates closely with the US Geological Survey National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, CO, providing seismotectonic expertise to support their earthquake monitoring program. Dr. Herman has a BA in Geology and Physics from Amherst College in Amherst, MA, and a MS and PhD in Geosciences from Penn State. He did his postdoc at Utrecht University in the Netherlands.