Research Projects

Landslide Hazards

Studies of the surface morphology will combine the use of high quality commercial airborne light detection and ranging (LiDAR) measurements and newly acquired observations. Specifically, we will produce local highly detailed digital elevation models based on orthophotos obtained by unmanned remotely operated vehicles (aka drones) and land-based LiDAR. We will combine these observations with microgravity surveys and background information on geology and seismic activity to develop case studies in hazards assessment for selected locations.

Gravitational Studies

Density structure of the CT region will be investigated using 3D forward modeling. Both satellite-based gravity and legacy land-based measurements in Costa Rica will be used. Improved constraints on the distribution of density will come from better data and the integration of additional constraints on the geometry and chemistry of Earth’s crust.  Improvements in data quality will be accomplished by acquiring targeted data sets that will fill holes in existing coverage, by repeating measurements where legacy data have high uncertainty, and by applying better terrain corrections using high-resolution digital elevation models.

Seismological Studies

Seismic structure of the CT will be investigated by a combination of methods that rely on body waves from local and distant earthquakes. We will use the teleseismic receiver function (RF) analysis to constrain the vertical extent of the earth's crust, and its bulk properties, to detect major internal boundaries within and below the crust, and to map lateral changes in all these parameters. The method requires broadband seismic data, and may be applied to single sites, including locations that we will instrument with portable seismographs. We will use previously existing along side newly acquired data to investigate earthquake depth, focal point, and wave speed. Simple techniques such as wave refraction a wide-angle reflection will also be used.