About the Tectonics Observatory

Thanks to a generous grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Caltech has established the Tectonics Observatory with the ultimate goal of providing a new view of how and why the earth's crust and lithosphere are deforming over timescales ranging from a few tens of seconds (the typical duration of an earthquake), to tens of millions of years (the time it takes to build mountains).

This decade-long effort involves 15 GPS faculty members spanning geophysics, geology and geochemistry. The idea is to bring the diverse range of skills represented by these faculty to bear on a carefully selected set of key questions. The TO provides infrastructure to foster interdisciplinary research activities that will focus on field areas of particular interest or on key processes. The TO employs staff to facilitate its work, notably in software development, geodesy, and in the application of geographical information systems (GIS).

Field investigations will be complemented by measurements made in laboratories at Caltech and elsewhere. These observations will provide critical input to a new generation of numerical models designed to elucidate the underlying processes.

In turn, the models will provide guidance for selecting new observations and new locations for study. A central challenge will be the development of models that can accommodate the necessarily huge range of time and length scales provided by the observations and will be required to accurately represent the relevant phenomena.

Most projects involve close collaboration with partners from other American or foreign institutions.

The Tectonics Observatory offers students an environment with access to a wide range of modern techniques and analytical tools in earth sciences, along with the possibility of interacting with a group of collaborators with diverse expertise and culture.

This website is funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation through Grant GBMF423.01 to the Tectonics Observatory.

© Tectonics Observatory :: California Institute of Technology
Last updated: November 4, 2013 :: Contact Us

Tectonics Observatory