We show how receiver functions imaging, laboratory experiments, and
geodynamical modeling can be combined to show that there is likely a
zone of downwelling underneath the western US which induced melting
underneath a high volatile content transition zone.
Also see popular news coverage on:
Jazeera America, FAZ,
Weather Channel (with video),
Scientist, and elsewhere.
Banda Arc project lead post-doc Leland O'Driscoll has started
reporting from field work in East Timor at
Becker, T. W., Conrad, C. P., Schaeffer, A. J., and Lebedev, S.:
Origin of azimuthal seismic anisotropy in oceanic plates and mantle.
Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 401, 236-250, 2014.
Schmandt, B., Jacobsen, S. D., Becker, T. W., Liu, Z., and Dueker,
K. G.: Dehydration melting at the top of the lower mantle.
Science, 334, 1265-1268, 2014.
Undergrad and grad (Ph.D.) research opportunities
We are always looking for motivated students with a keen interest and
solid background in the Earth sciences, physics, engineering, or
computer science. I like to work with students who think and work
independently and challenge and extend my expertise and interests.
- If you are an undergraduate, please
- If you are interested in graduate (PhD) study, note that USC offers a
rewarding academic environment amongst a diverse group of students and
faculty. If you
- If you are a foreign student looking for a summer research
internship, I will typically not be able to hire you, sorry.
Goebel graduates with PhD (06/2013)
- Miller, M. S. and Becker, T. W.: Mantle flow deflected by
interactions between subducted slabs and cratonic keels.
Nature Geosc., doi:10.1038/ngeo1553, 2012.
news release (covered by PhysOrg, EurekaAlert, TerraDaily,
Science Daily, etc.). Reporting on
Lisa Alpert passes her PhD defense (01/2012)
G-Cubed 2010 impact factor up to 3.4, now ranking 10th
out of all Geochemistry/Geophysics journals (06/2011)
As of the 2011 ISI report, AGU's
Geophysics, Geosystems (G3) impact factor went up to
3.368 for 2010, from 2.626 in 2009. G3 is now ranked #10, up from
#13, out of 77 Geochemistry and Geophysics journals.
Thomas Goebel wins a Best Student Presentation Award at
SSA 2011 (05/2011)
USC Geodynamics grad student
Thomas Goebel won a
Best student presentation award, at the Annual Meeting of the
Seismological Society of America, Memphis, TN, in April 2011 on
his poster on
- Goebel, T. H. W., Becker, T. W., Schorlemmer, D., Stanchits,
S. Rybacki, E., Dresen.G: Connecting Acoustic Emission Event
Locations, Aftershock Density and b-values before and after
Stick-Slips to Changes in Topography of Rough Fracture Surfaces
during Frictional Sliding Experiments. Meeting of the
Seismological Society of America Abtsract, Memphis TN, 2011.
- Goebel, T. H. W., Becker, T. W., Schorlemmer, D., Stanchits, S.,
Sammis, C., Rybacki, E., and Dresen, G.: Identifying fault
heterogeneity through mapping spatial anomalies in acoustic
emission statistics. J. Geophys. Res., 117, B03310,
USC was ranked as the 23rd best university overall in the US in 2010, ahead of
UCLA (25th), and just behind UC Berkeley
Geophysics PhD program was ranked 9th earlier (04/2010).
Small-scale convection study published in Nature
Results on the role of small-scale mantle convection on microplate
motions and dynamic topography in the Mediterranean were published
This project is a long-standing collaboration with Claudio Faccenna of
Roma TRE. See
- Faccenna and Becker: Shaping mobile belts by small-scale
convection. Nature, 465, 2010. (PDF)
- the corresponding News and Views article
by Wortel and Govers
- Reporting in Christian
Science Monitor, Pour La Science (in French),
Online, and Bild
der Wissenschaft (last three in German)
- Terra Daily,
got a Cool on FARK,
Futurity, Science Daily, LiveScience, PhysOrg, ScienceCodex, Eureka
Science News, Lab Spaces, E Science News, News Blaze, Sify News, ABC
Espana, New Kerala, Science Centric, Thai Indian, News Track India,
One India, Mysterium at Blogosfere.
San Andreas Fault Zone study hits top spot in G-Cubed
hits the top weekly download spot at
(G-Cubed "cover" from 07/2010).
Numerical Geodynamics lecture notes online (06/2010)
A fully contained set of lecture notes and accompanying Matlab
exercises on Numerical Geodynamics are
- Becker, T. W. and Kaus, B. J. P.: Numerical Geodynamics. An
introduction to computational methods with focus on solid Earth
applications of continuum mechanics. Lecture notes (162
pages). University of Southern California, Los Angeles,
USC High performance computing center 5th in US (06/2010)
USC's Linux cluster supercomputing facility HPCC has been ranked 5th
in the US in an academic setting in the most recent TOP500
USC's Geophysics graduate program has been ranked ninth in the US in
version of the US News and World Report, right after Harvard and
Princeton, and before the University of Washington.
Michael Kaplan awarded an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship
USC Geodyanmics Grad student
Michael Kaplan was awarded
a prestiguous National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship
on April 6, 2010. Congrats Mike!
USC undergrad paper hits top spot in G-Cubed downloads
Former USC Earth science undergrad Brad Foley's paper
- Foley, B. and Becker, T. W.: Generation of plate-like behavior and
mantle heterogeneity from a spherical, visco-plastic convection
model. Geochem., Geophys., Geosys., 10, Q08001,
hits the top weekly download spot at
G-Cubed and gets picked as
highlighted image in August 2009
(G-Cubed "cover" from
08/2009). Brad is now a PhD student at Yale University.
USC graduate student Sean Loyd, faculty Frank Corsetti, and myself
were among the authors of a study on Cenozoic heat flux and plate
tectonics that got published in the Proceedings of the National
Academy of Sciences. Read the PNAS
paper, or news releases by UPI
Most recent PBO GPS velocity solution (always updated)
The PBO part of the EarthScope program provides GPS
crustal velocities. For continuously
updated maps of the GPS velocities in the western United States,
and crustal thickness plots, see the visuals
USC Supercomputer Second Fastest in Academic Setting (11/2005)
In the Nov 2005
Top500 ranking, USC's Linux cluster configuration was ranked the
second most powerful academic supercomputer in the US and 24st
overall. The Southern California Earthquake
Center and USC Geodynamics
are among the supporters of the USC
HPPC cluster which has now a measured performance of more than 11
USC ranked third world-wide in earthquake publications (05/2005)
ISI has recently evaluated the
worldwide distribution of citations of papers dealing with earthquakes
from 1993 to 2003. Among the institutions with highly cited authors,
USC ranked third in the
world, behind the USGS and Caltech. [read