Research

 
 

The difficulty in understanding the initiation and arrest of an earthquake fracture, the coupling among faults and the triggering of earthquakes arises from the intrinsic heterogeneities in the Earth crust, as well as from the various physical mechanisms involved in transforming the elastically stored energy into slip and stress waves during the process. My strategy to unravel how earthquakes work and interact is by answering key questions such as: What is the role of heterogeneities in earthquake dynamics and statistics? Do all earthquakes, small and large, initiate equally? How do reactive and non-reactive fluids affect the initiation and propagation of shear fractures?

Understanding the evolution of porous and fractured media under fluid flow is of great interest to seismologists as pore pressure changes and fluid migration in faults can affect earthquakes. It is of interest to hydrologists and oil reservoir engineers as it provides guidance on long-term evolution of hydrological and oil-bearing systems. It is also of interest to geothermal engineers as the injection of fluids into deep hot reservoirs affect their thermal and hydrological properties. My research is focused on understanding the evolution of fracture permeability, deformation and dissolution of fractures under chemical and mechanical stresses and on improving our understanding of recirculation systems for geothermal energy recovery in sedimentary basins.