Summary of Research Highlights


Since its inception many of the research activities at ICS have focussed on the study of earthquakes. One does not have to travel to Japan, or Turkey or Taiwan to understand the effects of earthquakes. The 1994 Northridge earthquake, only 120 kilometers to the southeast, is in the same tectonic environment as the South Coast—Point Conception to Ventura—including UCSB, of course. During the past year the efforts of many years of research are now starting to take shape in defining the seismic hazard for the South Coast (Cover Figure). The offshore research by ICS investigators Kamerling, Luyendyk, Nicholson, Pinter and Sorlien has delineated the general structure of the faults that reach, or almost reach, the earth’s surface in the Santa Barbara Channel. Research by Keller and his students, notably Gurolla and Hartleb, have documented the characteristics of onshore faults and folds (symptomatic of buried thrust faults). Direct measurements of ground motion on the UCSB campus taken by Steidl, Archuleta and Bonilla have been coupled with simulations for a M 6.8 earthquake by Liu, Archuleta, Bonilla and Lavallée to begin estimating the ground motion that might be expected. In line with these observations has been the work of Oglesby who simulated dynamic earthquakes. He showed that the ground motion of the wedge of the earth above the fault (the location of most cities in the South Coast relative to many of the faults) can have much more severe ground motion than almost any other region during an earthquake. The dynamics of earthquake ruptures has been the subject of research by Olsen, Nielsen and Prof. Jean Carlson of the Physics Department. Thus, through integration of different lines of research, the seismic hazard of the South Coast is more quantifiable than ever before.

Tanya Atwater has been involved in a project sponsored by the Smithsonian Museum with additional funds from the Boyd Foundation, to animate reconstructions of western North America, see . These animations have served a dual purpose. They are foremost an educational tool that allows students to visualize the evolution of western North America. They are also a research tool in that they predict the character and location of the geology through time. By these animations Atwater has proven once again that research and teaching go hand-in-hand.

ICS submitted an interdisciplinary research proposal to the Keck Foundation this year. The proposal includes Ralph Archuleta from ICS and Geological Sciences, Jean Carlson and Jim Langer from Physics and Jacob Israelachvili and David Pine from Chemical Engineering. This proposal entitled, "The Interdisciplinary Program in Seismology and Materials Physics" has been funded for three years in the amount of $1 million beginning September 1, 1999. The Program will blend UCSB's strengths in science and engineering by assembling a team of physicists, engineers, materials scientists, and geoscientists to address some of the most outstanding and overlapping problems that arise in seismology and materials physics today. Graduate students from each of the departments will be working together with UCSB faculty and visiting researchers. Stay tuned for next year’s annual report for results from this exciting venture.

A complete list of research activities can be found under the heading of Awards Administered.