Mark Naylor’s Blog

Mark Naylor’s Blog

I want to know how the Earth works…

PhD PROJECT ADVERTISED: Developing a next-generation seismic assessment methodology by advancing physics-based ground motion modelling

Supervisors: Dr Karim Tarbali, Dr Mark Naylor, Prof John McCloskey


You will advance the current scientific understanding of earthquake ground motions by establishing a numerical lab and conducting simulations to create a next-generation hazard analysis method.

Project background

Quantifying seismic risk in an urban environment and utilizing the results in risk mitigation and urban planning strategies is essential for establishing resilient societies. This requires seismic hazard assessment methods capable of producing an accurate view of the earthquake-induced ground motions. Despite the global increase in the number of recorded motions and the efforts to improve the empirical ground-motion models established based on this data, these models fail to accurately honor the underlying physical characteristics of the earthquake source and the wave propagation medium. These shortcomings result in biased and/or imprecise estimates of the surface ground motion, which has detrimental implications in engineering designs and urban planning.

Physics-based simulation has emerged as an alternative approach in ground motion modeling and aims to rigorously consider the underlying physics of the earthquake source, path, and site effects. Extensive validations of this approach and its utilization in regional simulation-based hazard assessments (e.g., Cybershake New Zealand which I was one of the technical leaders) have demonstrated the undeniable role of physics-based simulation in the next generation of seismic hazard assessments.

In this project, you will develop a numerical simulation methodology to quantify the effect of earthquake source and velocity structure uncertainties on the ground motion properties. The simulated motions will be used to create high-fidelity models to represent basin edge and soft-soil responses, forward directivity, and correlation between high and low-frequency ground-motion contents. The advancements of this research will be demonstrated in comparison with the existing empirical models. The results of this research will have an international impact in developing the next generation of seismic hazard assessment methodology.

For more information see:


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