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Dr. John U. Free Seminar Series Feb. 21- Apr. 26

Published: February 5, 2013

The Physics and Engineering Department is proud to sponsor this very highly anticipated seminar series. This series encourages collaboration and information sharing between departments and promotes an atmosphere that supports undergraduate research.

The Spring 2013 John U. Free Physics and Engineering Seminar Series will be held on Friday afternoons from 3:45-4:50pm in Shrader Lecture Hall. Presentations are open to all faculty, students, and alumni.

The first presentation will be by Dr. Pierre-Richard Cornely Thursday, February 21, 2013. This is the rescheduled date after the postponement due to blizzard Nemo.

The topic of his talk is “Tomography Applied to Earthquake Monitoring and Prediction.

Tomographyrefers to imaging a three dimensional object, section by section, through the use of electromagnetic waves. The waves will penetrate the object and send back reflection signals characteristic of the magnetic properties of the object.These reflection signals can in turn be used to produce a three dimensional image of the object. In most cases, the imaging procedure is based on a set of mathematical techniques called tomographic reconstruction. The method is used in several branches of sciences such as: radiology, archaeology, biology, geophysics, oceanography,materials science and astrophysics.

The ionosphere is ashell of electrons and electrically charged atoms and molecules that surroundsthe Earth, stretching from a height of about 50km to more than1000km above the Earth’s surface. The ionosphere has practical importancebecause, among other functions, it influences radio and communicationpropagation to distant places on the Earth. The ionosphere has also been receivingsome additional interest because of its potential for characterizing pre- seismicactivities in several tectonically active regions around the globe.

In the last ten years, severalearthquakes have occurred most notably in Haiti, Chile and Japan causingconsiderable disruption and damage. These events have reignited scientific interestin the area of earthquake monitoring and prediction. To date, abnormal motionof the earth’s crust near fault lines, related seismic activities, have beenobserved using GPS positional data. Seismic activities have also been monitoredusing seismographs. In general, when these data are available, it is often toolate to use them for predictive and corrective means.

This presentation will discuss the basics of Tomography and its potential application to ionospheric modeling and seismic predictions. The primary objective of this research is to investigate the potential correlation between electron density perturbations and processes within the earth’score, mantle and crust typically associated with the onset of seismic activities. Preliminary results seem to suggest that pre-earthquake signals can be detected, in some cases, months before the actual earthquake occurs.”



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