Edwin Nissen
   Research Overview
Earthquakes are one of the most important natural hazards faced by mankind and understanding what governs their locations, timings, and magnitudes is one of the grand challenges of geophysics. However, they also provide vital information on earth’s tectonics, rheology, and structure. Tectonics, manifest in earthquakes, control the distribution of key natural resources such as hydrocarbons in sedimentary basins and ore deposits in mountainous uplifts. Studying earthquakes thus has far-reaching benefits.

Much of our research focus is on the surface expression of earthquakes and faulting, and what we can learn using the twin fields of earthquake geodesy (how the earth surface deforms during or between earthquakes) and tectonic geomorphology (how the landscape evolves over many earthquake cycles). These fields are complementary to earthquake seismology (the study of seismic waves propagating through the earth), and much of our work involves observations and modelling from all three areas.

Our research is sponsored by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Canada Research Chairs program, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, and the BC Knowledge Development Fund (at University of Victoria), and by the National Science Foundation and the Air Force Research Laboratory (at Colorado School of Mines). In the past we have been funded by the Southern California Earthquake Center, the U. S. Geological Survey, Newmont Mining Corporation, and Apache Corporation.