Titus awarded NSF grant to study San Andreas Fault patterns

June 14, 2019
By Dee Menning

Sarah Titus, Sarah TitusProfessor of Geology, has been awarded a National Science Foundation grant (#1917048) for a collaborative research project entitled “Linking slip dynamics to off-fault deformation in strike-slip fault systems.” The research team seeks to develop physical models -- using sand, clay, and other materials -- to mimic patterns observed in nature near the San Andreas fault in California. This laboratory-based approach allows the team to investigate the importance of different parameters, such as slip rate, which isn’t possible in natural systems because the Earth has already run the experiment. In addition to the physical models, the team will develop freely-available computational tools for analyzing the experimental results, and a module about seismic hazards for middle schoolers that will be publicly available via the Science Education Resource Center. The project supports two PIs (Sarah and early-career investigator Jacqueline Reber at Iowa State University), a graduate student/alum Emily Ross ’17 at ISU, a research scientist in Mathematics (Joshua Davis), and three undergraduate students from Carleton.