Virginia Tech Global Seismological Lab

3056A Derring Hall (Mail Code 0420)
Department of Geosciences, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061

There are hundreds of large earthquakes occurring globally every year, these earthquakes generate seismic waves that travel through the deep interior of the earth. Ground motions recorded by seismometers are the most direct observations on the Earth's interior for understanding the dynamics of the planet that are responsible for past tectonic events as well as present-day natural hazards including earthquakes and volcanoes. At Virginia Tech Global Seismological Lab, we study seismic wave propagation in complex earth media and seismic structure of the Earth's interior.






New Research 2018

Anomalous mantle transition zone beneath the Yellowstone hotspot track
(Nature Geoscience, 2018)

Figure 1: Location of the Yellowstone hotspot track. Triangles indicate general locations of the Yellowstone age-progressive volcanoes (age in millions of years), plotted on a topography map of the Western US.

Figure 2: Side view of subducted oceanic Farallon plate (blue color) under the Western United States from surface down to 1600 km depth. This gigantic oceanic plate broke into pieces and a section started tearing off and sinking down to the deep earth about 16 million years ago. This down-going section of oceanic slab replaced materials in the deep mantle, pushing hot deep mantle materials up to form the Yellowstone volcanoes.

Figure 3: Bird-eye view of underground structure in the Western US. Blue: The subducted oceanic Farallon plate beneath the Western US. Red: anomalous rocks in the mantle (410-660 km depth) under the Yellowstone volcanoes.