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Student Research Opportunities

The research group in seismology and tectonics at the University of Utah is working on a variety of topics summarized in my Research section. We anticipate new student research possibilities in two projects below.

1. A collaborative research project with Gene Humphreys, Oregon University, titled "Dynamics of the Yellowstone Hotspot: Seismic and GPS Imaging" has been funded by the NSF Continental Dynamics program. This is a 4 year grant to expand seismic tomography recording of the crust and upper mantle and GPS coverage around the hotspot to 300 km beyond Yellowstone. We want to image the affects of the deep mantle hotspot in passive source seismic tomography (to depths of 600 km+). We will also implement permanent and field campaign GPS surveys to examine how the regional affects of the hotspot are manifest in the deformational field. This will entail extensive field work in both PASSCAL seismic station and GPS station deployments over the first two to three years of the project with accompanying data analysis and interpretation. See our previous research on evolution, seismicity and crustal deformation of the Yellowstone hotspot.

In the fourth year we will bring our data together for kinematic and dynamic models of the hotspot to examine how it interacts with the continental lithosphere and tying the GPS data into the western US framework. Our modeling will employ 3-D numerical models constrained by our data, tectonics, petrology, volcanic history, regional fault slip data, topography, etc.

2. We are also expanding the capabilities of the Yellowstone seismic network with funding from the USGS Volcano Hazards program with new digitally telemetered broadband seismograph stations and permanent GPS sites. Also see our web site for earthquake data and the Yellowstone seismic network here. This project is focused on developing a detailed model of Yellowstone's seismicity and its relation to its ongoing crustal deformation, and to monitor the seismicity and active deformation of the Yellowstone volcanic field. We will use these data to model the interaction of tectonism with volcanic features as well as providing near-realtime data for volcano and seismic hazard monitoring.

For these projects, I am seeking students interested in working on various aspects of the projects at the Ph.D. and M.S. level. In particular I am interested in students wishing to integrate tectonics, math, and computing skills in a geophysics degree program and willingness to participate in field work. Undergraduate student research and field research opportunities are also availiable.

For more information, contact: Professor Bob Smith Department of Geology and Geophysics University of Utah Salt Lake City, Utah 84112 Email: Phone: (801) 581-7129

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