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UC Davis

United States

Project Description

Numerical models of subduction zones are important for establishing the background state of stress due large-scale tectonic forces. In this project Prof. Billen will guide a student or early career scientist through the process of creating 2D models (with visco-elasto-plastic rheology) of the semi-instantaneous state-of stress through various locations of the Chile subduction zone using observational data to determine the subducting plate geometry, geometry and thickness of the forearc and overriding plate. We will use the Aspect geodynamic code and the Geodynamic Worldbuilder to create model input. The finest resolution in such models is typically 1000 m, but we can attempt to go down to 100 m the available data provide constraints on this scale. The outcomes would be models of the current state of stress in the overriding plate and slab with to be compared to observations from earthquakes and geological observations (structures indicating locations and orientations of strain). These models could also be used to motivate a proposal to develop similar 3D models for the entire margin. The student/early career faculty should be comfortable with python and have some geophysics background. Prior experience with Aspect /Worldbuilder is not needed. We will use our in-house cluster for running the models.

Proposed Hosting Period

Timing can be arrange with participant as there are no external constraints (e.g., weather or field location access) except for personnel vacation or travel to conferences. A full month is needed to achieve the goals.


We will provide a desk and work station if needed (if they have a laptop they are use to using that can make it easier). We will also provide access to our cluster for the duration of the project (e.g., aim would be paper with the results of the 2D models, but this would take more than 1 month to achieve).

Additional Comments

PI Name & email: 

Magali Billen

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