Jean Paul Ampuero
Assistant Professor of Seismology
Ampuero develops theoretical and computational models constrained by observations to improve understanding of dynamic earthquake ruptures and high-frequency seismic radiation.
Areas of Expertise:
Pablo Ampuero creates simulations of earthquake scenarios that draw on numerical methods and available geological and seismological data. He explores the application of physics-based ground-motion modeling to common conditions along faults, such as a juxtaposition of two different kinds of rock; spatial variations in preexisting stresses or microfractures in the fault zone; steps, jogs, kinks, and branches in faults; and interactions of fault slip with off-fault rock damage. By developing models and testing them against observations, Ampuero studies how earthquakes start, how roughness and variability in fault zones affects the intensity, velocity, and directionality of earthquakes, what distributions of damage will ensue, and other topics with implications for earthquake predictability and hazard mitigation. He also studies the physics of tectonic tremors. These swarms of low-frequency earthquakes occur in the deeper portions of faults (beneath the expected locations of large earthquakes). Because of their association with aseismic slip events that can precede large earthquakes, monitoring these tremors could help alert us to precursors of large earthquakes. Ampuero also develops sophisticated processing methods that will enable researchers to tap into the wealth of information on earthquake physics that frequent, small-magnitude earthquakes could convey. He is developing a new generation of strong-motion seismic networks for high-resolution source imaging that draws on multiple seismic arrays, and exploring the concept of earthquake seismology from space, with satellite optical measurements revealing strong ground motion. He applies empirical Green’s function deconvolution—a technique to retrieve source parameters—to data on early aftershocks and small-magnitude events. A native of Lima, Ampuero also has a strong interest in earthquake hazard assessment and management tools for megacities near subduction zones. He collaborates with Instituto Geofisico del Peru on portable and permanent seismic networks to facilitate seismological research, and earthquake engineering.