Earthquakes frequently claim hundreds of lives and cause major damage to cities and infrastructures. Recent large (M 8.8 in Chile, 2010; M 9.1 in Japan, 2011) as well as moderate-size devastating events (M 6.3 in New Zealand, 2010) are forceful reminders that earthquakes cannot be predicted. However, we can prepare for the expected shaking levels and potential secondary effects (tsunamis, landslides, liquefaction) by investigating the physics of earthquake rupture, by studying seismic wave propagation in the Earth crust, and by finding innovative methods to  quantify the seismic hazard.

The CES-group at KAUST conducts research to study earthquake source physics and ground-motion generation, with the goal to gain insight into  earthquake properties and to create new tools for seismic-shaking estimation for earthquake-engineering applications. We use seismic data to image the kinematic rupture process during earthquakes, and perform forward simulations to understand the dynamcis of the rupture process under various initial conditions. We calculate the radiated seismic wavefield emitted by the space-time varying rupture process, and investigate seismic wave scattering in heterogeneous Earth crust. We are also interested in retrieving accurate information about Earth structure in Saudi Arabia in order to understand better the seismo-tectonics and geo-dynamics of the Arabian Plate, and to improve earthquake locations and thus seismic monitoring capabilities and seismic hazard calculations in the region.


Research Topics

Over the years, the economy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has been primarily dependent on fossil-fuel-based energy sources to meet energy and electricity demand. In this regard, in our research group, we explore and model the potential of low-to-medium geothermal energy extraction and utilization in KSA for heating and cooling, water desalination and power generation. We focus our research on the hydrothermal resources in the high heat-flow Red Sea rift basin.

Earthquake source imaging is the key to better understand the kinematics of the space-time evolution of the earthquake rupture process. The resulting kinematic rupture models serve to study earthquake mechanics, to model earthquake rupture dynamics, to compute Coulomb-stress variations after significant earthquakes, and to build realistic rupture models for ground-motion simulation.

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