High-frequency Physics-based Earthquake Ground Motion Simulations

Host Faculty: Engineering
General Subject Area: Earthquake Engineering
Project Level: PhD
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High frequency earthquake simulations

Seismic hazard models that underpin our engineering design standards require accurate and precise prediction of the earthquake ground shaking we can expect from future earthquakes. Conventionally, such predictions are made using empirical ground motion models developed from historical data. In the advent of high performance computing, physics-based ground motion simulations are quickly becoming an alternative to conventional empirical ground motion models. The simulations have the inherent advantage of explicitly modelling the earthquake source rupture, seismic wave propagation and near-surface surficial site response, which conventional empirical methods account for simplistically. Such simulations have been studied for decades but recent advances in computational and scientific capability have brought them to the point where their accuracy is as good as the conventional empirical ground motion models, and soon to be better.

This research seeks to advance the predictive capability of the physics-based simulation through an iterative loop of improved modelling and validation, as well as push the simulations to higher deterministic frequencies (4 Hz or higher) to represent more realistic ground motions. Several components of the earthquake ground motion problem will need to be addressed to achieve this, including improvements to modelling the earthquake rupture, crustal velocities and surficial site response. This research will involve collaborations with top international researchers from the United States Geological Survey and Imperial College London, among others.

Interested candidates should email a cover letter outlining your background, interest/suitability in the project, and a CV to Dr Robin Lee robin.lee@canterbury.ac.nz.

Supervisors: Dr Robin Lee (UC), Professor Brendon Bradley (UC)

See my website for more details about my research and other opportunities: https://lee-robin.github.io/


Supervisor: Robin Lee

Key qualifications and skills

A relevant Bachelors or Masters degree in earthquake engineering, engineering seismology or similar would be most suitable but can be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

The applicant will require strong numerical modelling and scientific programming skills. Use of high performance computing (supercomputers) will be required and training will be provided.

For non-native english speakers: Evidence of sufficient english communication is required (https://www.canterbury.ac.nz/enrol/international/english/). The minimum requirements are either: (1) a TOEFL score greater than 90, of which writing must be greater than 20; or (2) a IELTS score of 6.5 with no section lower than 6.0

Does the project come with funding

Yes - Annual stipend of NZ$28,000 + travel. The candidate will be expected to apply for a UC Doctoral Scholarship (or equivalent) as well.

Final date for receiving applications



Earthquake engineering; Seismology; Seismic hazard; Geotechnical engineering; Civil engineering