GEO 147

GEO 147: Active tectonics and remote sensing

With the COVID-19 mandate to teach the 2020 Spring quarter online, I ended up recording all the lectures as videos. There are typical 4 or 5 short(ish) videos per lecture, collected into playlists, which I link below for posterity.

Lecture 1: "Continental tectonics is not the same as plate tectonics"

Plate tectonics was a theory that was developed to explain the behavior of the oceans. It might not work so well on the continents...

Lecture 2: Earthquake hazard and risk

As plate boundary zones on the continents are typically quite wide, then many people will be at risk of harm from them. This lecture covers the ways in which earthquakes damage buildings and infrastructure necessary for humans.

Lecture 3: Introduction to remote sensing

This lecture introduces some basic concepts in remote sensing, including the electromagnetic spectrum, black body radiation, absorption of specific wavelengths in the atmosphere and on the ground, and how we can visualize the images we collect.

Lecture 4: Optical satellite imagery

A tour of the different capabilities and design choices made for several operational optical remote sensing satellites

Lecture 5: DEMs, photogrammetry and lidar

High-resolution topographic data are very useful for identifying geomorphic features associated with tectonics. Here are some of the ways we can generate such data.

Lecture 6: InSAR

Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) is a method for measuring surface deformation and topography using radar signals from satellites

Lecture 7: GPS

The Global Positioning System was designed to provide accurate positioning on the Earth's surface in real time. Although its precision for civilian users (~3 m) is not good enough for most scientific applications, with a few methodological tricks we can get that down to a few mm, which most certainly is good enough!

Lecture 8: Seismotectonics

Seismotectonics is the use of earthquakes to study active tectonics. There's a lot you can learn from earthquakes!

Lecture 9: Strike-slip faults and the landscape

How, and where strike-slip faults form, how they are represented in the landscape at a range of scales, and how we infer amounts and rates of fault offset

Lecture 10: Paleoseismology and Quaternary dating

How we can use historical information, paleoseismology and Quaternary dating methods to understand the history of earthquakes on a fault or in a region

Lecture 11: Normal faults

Normal faults: how they move, where they are found, how they evolve over time, and how you can spot them in the landscape

Lecture 12: Reverse faults

Reverse faults accommodate tectonic compression! A few examples of how they often do not have surface expression, but can be identified from subtle geomorphic features and/or their effect on drainage.

Lecture 13: Subduction zones

Subduction zones: evidence for them, what happens in the earthquake cycle at them, Sumatra and the 2004 earthquake, coral paleogeodesy in Sumatra, GPS data from subduction zones, and how we can infer past earthquakes in them

Lecture 14: Earthquake case studies

Examples of what we can learn from studying earthquakes in detail, focusing on the 2003 Bam, Iran and 2014 South Napa, California earthquakes

Lecture 15: Friction

Friction controls how faults behave, and the strength of the continents. Here we discuss Coulomb friction, Byerlee's Law, the San Andreas heat paradox, fault creep, rate-and-state friction and how these manifest in the earthquake cycle at Parkfield.

Lecture 16: Rheology

Rheology describes how materials respond to stress (elastic? plastic? viscous? brittle? ductile? or a combination of several?) How we can use geodetic data, especially of postseismic deformation, to measure it.

Lecture 17: The jelly sandwich

In 2002, James Jackson published a widely-read article suggesting that the canonical 'jelly sandwich' model of the strength of the continental lithosphere was wrong. This stirred a lot of debate...

Lecture 18: Active tectonics of Asia

There are two types of model that have been proposed for the deformation of the Indian-Eurasian plate boundary zone: block models and continuum models. In this lecture, we look at the assumptions and evidence, and find that there are versions of each type of model that fit the data about the same...