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Geophysical Modeling

Geophysical Modeling IllustrationMuch is still unknown about the processes responsible for the intraplate seismicity in the central and eastern United States, the spatial distribution of subsurface material properties, or the specific geometry and earthquake potential of subsurface faults, including the presence of deep crustal structures that may also be geologically active but are currently aseismic. In addition, accurate estimates of seismic hazard for two most active intraplate seismic zones in the region, the New Madrid Seismic Zone (NMSZ) and Eastern Tennessee Seismic Zone (ETSZ), must account for significant 3D effects of seismic wave propagation, including complexities due to subsurface spatial distribution of seismic velocity and anisotropy. This project will utilize extensive seismic data sets consisting of earthquakes recorded by the regional networks, temporary seismic stations, earthquake P and S wave arrivals from the short-period PANDA experiment in 1989-1992, and a growing catalog of earthquake P and S arrivals recorded by the CERI cooperative network to image detailed 3D velocity structure for both P- and S-waves within the NMSZ and ETSZ. Parts of the NMSZ and ETSZ identified by tomography as having anomalous P- or S-wave upper crustal velocity will be further studied using potential field studies and shear-wave splitting technique that will help identify variations in fracture density and fluid pressure as well as fault-parallel fractures. Long term educational goals of the project are building the capacity for geophysical research at the Department of Environmental, Earth and Geospatial Sciences at the NCCU and furthering our partnership with the Center for Earthquake Research and Information (CERI) at the University of Memphis.


Senior Personnel:
  • Dr. Pierre Arroucau, North Carolina Central University
  • Dr. Rakesh Malhotra, Fayetteville State University
  • Dr. Christine Powell, CERI, University of Memphis
  • Dr. Gordana Vlahovic (PI, CREST Project 5), North Carolina Central University


  • Tolulope Agbaje, “Teleseismic P-Wave Travel Time Residual Mapping in the Eastern Tennessee Seismic Zone”, graduated December 2012.
  • Sanja Knezevic-Antonijevic, “Seismotectonic Setting of the November 3, 2010, Kraljevo, Serbia Earthquake”, graduated Spring 2012, now at PhD geophysics program at UNC-CH.
  • Davies Jubril, “Application of Monte Carlo Inversion techniques to geophysical data inversion”, graduated Summer 2012, now at PhD earth science program at NCSU.
  • Marc Duchateler, Analysis of Haiti Earthquake (12 January 2010) from its Aftershock Sequence
  • Esezobor Kingsley, Detecting Deformation in the New Madrid Seismic Zone using Radar Interferometry
  • Paul Kuponiyi, Ambient Noise Cross-Correlation in the Eastern Tennessee Seismic Zone
  • Philip Martin, “Shear Wave Splitting Analysis in the New Madrid Seismic Zone”, expected graduation May 2013.
  • Carl Sterans, “DEM Analysis of the Eastern Tennessee Seismic Zone Using Slope/Area and Stream Length Index Methods”, graduated December 2012.
  • Motunrayo Akinpelu, “Development of GIS database for Eastern Tennessee Seismic Zone”, graduated Summer 2011.
  • Yonas Birhanemeskel, “Development of GIS database for New Madrid Seismic Zone”, graduated Summer 2011.
  • Olorunfemi Olasanmi, “Teleseismic Travel Time Tomography in the Eastern Tennessee Seismic Zone”, expected graduation Spring 2014.

Recent Activities
  • Major Research Activities
  • Training and Development Activities for Students
  • Outreach Activities
  • Collaboration with other HBCUs
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Tkalčić, H., N. Rawlinson, P. Arroucau, A. Kumar and B.L.N. Kennett, Multi-Step modeling of receiver-based seismic and ambient noise data from WOMBAT array: Crustal structure beneath southeast Australia, Geophys. J. Int., accepted, 2/3/12, 2012.

Bodin, T., M. Sambridge, H. Tkalčić, P. Arroucau, K. Gallagher and N. Rawlinson, Transdimensional inversion of receiver functions and surface wave dispersion, J. Geophys. Res.,117, B02301, doi:1029/2011JB008560, 2012.

Young, M., N. Rawlinson, P. Arroucau, A. M. Reading and H. Tkalčić, High frequency ambient noise tomography of southeast Australia: New constraints on Tasmania's tectonic past, Geophys. Res. Lett., 38, L13313, doi:10.1029/2011GL047971, 2011.

Vlahovic G. and R. Malhotra (2011). The ESRI Site License Program – Enhancing Geospatial education at North Carolina Central University, North Carolina Geographer, Vol. 18, pp 53-60.

Malhotra R. and G. Vlahovic (2011). GIS Educational Opportunities at Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the United States, Southeastern Geographer, 51(3) 2011: pp. 443–456.

Vlahovic, G. and R. Malhotra (2010). Geospatial Education at North Carolina Central University- an HBCU Perspective, Southeastern Geographer, 50(2) 2010: p. 258–271.

Malhotra, R., G. Vlahovic, G., Madden, M., Tilley, K., and M. Renslow (2010). The Role of Geospatial Associations in Promoting the Profession to Young People, Commission VI, WG VI/5, International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences,p.25-27

Arroucau, P., Rawlinson, N., and M. Sambridge (2010), New Insight into Cainozoic sedimentary basins and Palaeozoic suture zones in southeast Australia from ambient noise surface wave tomography, Geophys. Res. Lett., 37, L07303, doi :10.1029/2009GL041974.

Malhotra, R. and G. Vlahovic (2009). ASPRS Provisional Certificate Program – A Student Focused Opportunity, Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing, Volume 75, no. 8, p. 927-930.

Also available: Abstracts