I am the Cecil & Sally Drinkward Postdoctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). My research is focused on studying the physics of earthquakes and the seismic behaviour of mountain belts. I am currently working with Nadia Lapusta and Jean-Philippe Avouac on developing and applying a physics-based, cross-scale forward modeling framework for collisional orogens. With this approach we link geodynamic space–time scales of millions of years of slow and broadly distributed regional deformation with seismic space–time scales of rapid and localized earthquake rupture processes. This can be used to improve our physical understanding of earthquakes, especially their spatiotemporal occurrence in relation to observations during the inter-, co- and post-seismic period.

My studies are primarily aimed at understanding the relationship between crustal deformation and earthquakes in mountain belts, combining theoretical, computational and observational approaches. I am also broadly interested in the assessment, prevention and mitigation of earthquake hazard, in particular in large urban areas close to mountain belts, like in Italy, my native country. Currently active projects concern seismicity and mountain building processes in the Alps and Himalaya.

Luca Dal Zilio


Mechanical and Civil Engineering Department

California Institute of Technology


218 Gates-Thomas, 307 North Mudd

1200 E. California Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91125


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