Physics - Geophysics Publications (50)

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Physics - Geophysics Publications

El Nino is probably the most influential climate phenomenon on interannual time scales. It affects the global climate system and is associated with natural disasters and serious consequences in many aspects of human life. However, the forecasting of the onset and in particular the magnitude of El Nino are still not accurate, at least more than half a year in advance. Read More


The approaches taken to describe and develop spatial discretisations of the domains required for geophysical simulation models are commonly ad hoc, model or application specific and under-documented. This is particularly acute for simulation models that are flexible in their use of multi-scale, anisotropic, fully unstructured meshes where a relatively large number of heterogeneous parameters are required to constrain their full description. As a consequence, it can be difficult to reproduce simulations, ensure a provenance in model data handling and initialisation, and a challenge to conduct model intercomparisons rigorously. Read More


Geophysical model domains typically contain irregular, complex fractal-like boundaries and physical processes that act over a wide range of scales. Constructing geographically constrained boundary-conforming spatial discretizations of these domains with flexible use of anisotropically, fully unstructured meshes is a challenge. The problem contains a wide range of scales and a relatively large, heterogeneous constraint parameter space. Read More


We present a study on the prediction of rogue waves during the 1-hour sea state of Hurricane Joaquin when the Merchant Vessel El Faro sank east of the Bahamas on October 1, 2015. High-resolution hindcast of hurricane-generated sea states and wave simulations are combined with novel probabilistic models to quantify the likelihood of rogue wave conditions. The data suggests that the El Faro vessel was drifting at an average speed of approximately~$2. Read More


A set of 50,000 artificial Earth impacting asteroids was used to obtain, for the first time, information about the dominance of individual impact effects such as wind blast, overpressure shock, thermal radiation, cratering, seismic shaking, ejecta deposition and tsunami for the loss of human life during an impact event for impactor sizes between 15 to 400 m and how the dominance of impact effects changes over size. Information about the dominance of each impact effect can enable disaster managers to plan for the most relevant effects in the event of an asteroid impact. Furthermore, the analysis of average casualty numbers per impactor shows that there is a significant difference in expected loss for airburst and surface impacts and that the average impact over land is an order of magnitude more dangerous than one over water. Read More


It is generally accepted that all models are wrong -- the difficulty is determining which are useful. Here, a useful model is considered as one that is capable of combining data and expert knowledge, through an inversion or calibration process, to adequately characterize the uncertainty in predictions of interest. This paper derives conditions that specify which simplified models are useful and how they should be calibrated. Read More


Upon employing the analysis in a new time domain, termed natural time, it has been recently demonstrated that a remarkable change of seismicity emerges before major mainshocks in California. What constitutes this change is that the fluctuations of the order parameter of seismicity exhibit a clearly detectable minimum. This is identified by using a natural time window sliding event by event through the time series of the earthquakes in a wide area and comprising a number of events that would occur on the average within a few months or so. Read More


Boulders are an important coastal hazard event deposit because they can only be moved by tsunamis and storms. However, storms and tsunami are competing processes for coastal change along many shorelines. Therefore, distinguishing the boulders that were moved during a storm from those moved by a tsunami is important. Read More


The settling of cohesive sediment is ubiquitous in aquatic environments. In the settling process, the silt particles show behaviors that are different from non-cohesive particles due to the influence of inter-particle cohesive force. While it is a consensus that cohesive behaviors depend on the characteristics of sediment particles (e. Read More


Continuous microseismic monitoring of hydraulic fracturing is commonly used in many engineering, environmental, mining, and petroleum applications. Microseismic signals recorded at the surface, suffer from excessive noise that complicates first-break picking and subsequent data processing and analysis. This study presents a new first-break picking algorithm that employs concepts from seismic interferometry and time-frequency (TF) analysis. Read More


In this paper, we consider the 3D primitive equations of oceanic and atmospheric dynamics with only horizontal eddy viscosities in the horizontal momentum equations and only vertical diffusivity in the temperature equation. Global well-posedness of strong solutions is established for any initial data such that the initial horizontal velocity $v_0\in H^2(\Omega)$ and the initial temperature $T_0\in H^1(\Omega)\cap L^\infty(\Omega)$ with $\nabla_HT_0\in L^q(\Omega)$, for some $q\in(2,\infty)$. Moreover, the strong solutions enjoy correspondingly more regularities if the initial temperature belongs to $H^2(\Omega)$. Read More


Seismic data quality is vital to geophysical applications, so methods of data recovery, including denoising and interpolation, are common initial steps in the seismic data processing flow. We present a method to perform simultaneous interpolation and denoising, which is based on double-sparsity dictionary learning. This extends previous work that was for denoising only. Read More


Seismic imaging of the mantle has revealed large and small scale heterogeneities in the lower mantle; specifically structures known as large low shear velocity provinces (LLSVP) below Africa and the South Pacific. Most interpretations propose that the heterogeneities are compositional in nature, differing in composition from the overlying mantle, an interpretation that would be consistent with chemical geodynamic models. Numerical modeling of persistent compositional interfaces presents challenges, even to state-of-the-art numerical methodology. Read More


Transitions between multiple stable states of nonlinear systems are ubiquitous in physics, chemistry, and beyond. Two types of behaviors are usually seen as mutually exclusive: unpredictable noise-induced transitions and predictable bifurcations of the underlying vector field. Here, we report a new situation, corresponding to a fluctuating system approaching a bifurcation, where both effects collaborate. Read More


Using evolutionary crystal structure prediction algorithm USPEX, we identify the compositions and crystal structures of stable compounds in the Fe-S system at pressures in the range 100-400 GPa. We find that at pressures of the Earth's solid inner core (330-364 GPa) two compounds are stable - Fe2S and FeS. In equilibrium with iron, only Fe2S can exist in the inner core. Read More


Detecting weak seismic events from noisy sensors is a difficult perceptual task. We formulate this task as Bayesian inference and propose a generative model of seismic events and signals across a network of spatially distributed stations. Our system, SIGVISA, is the first to directly model seismic waveforms, allowing it to incorporate a rich representation of the physics underlying the signal generation process. Read More


The space-temporal evaluation to characterize meteorological droughts was based on data accumulated monthly precipitation between 1996-2005 from 20 meteorological stations distributed in the Coello River basin. Data precipitation was performed preprocessing with data consistency tests to correct and delete data over- or under estimated. To estimate missing precipitation data are compared three geostatistical interpolation methods derived from Kriging, associated with secondary variables such as the Ordinary Kriging, CoKrigin Ordinary associated with secondary variables of a Digital Elevation Model and data satellite TRMM. Read More


In Earth's mantle gravity instabilities initiated by density inversion lead to upwelling of hot materials as plumes. This study focuses upon the problem of their ascent dynamics to provide an explanation of the periodic multiple eruption events in large igneous provinces and hotspots. We demonstrate from physical experiments that plumes can ascend in a continuous process to form a single large head trailing into a long slender tail, typically described in the literature only under specific physical conditions. Read More


We investigate the accuracy and robustness of one of the most common methods used in glaciology for the discretization of the $\mathfrak{p}$-Stokes equations: equal order finite elements with Galerkin Least-Squares (GLS) stabilization. Furthermore we compare the results to other stabilized methods. We find that the vertical velocity component is more sensitive to the choice of GLS stabilization parameter than horizontal velocity. Read More


Many measurements of geophysical interest are contaminated by tidal effects, which can have amplitudes greater than the ones in the events intended to be investigated. One of these measurements is the precise monitoring of the Earth's gravity field, regarded as a powerful tool for investigation of seismically induced deformations, hydrological effects on the ground and ice cap variations. Superconducting gravimeters have sensitivity below the 1nm/s$^2$ level, able to investigate those phenomena, and data from instruments in 33 locations globally distributed are available from the International Geodynamics and Earth Tides Service. Read More


We present experimental results of a homopolar disc dynamo constructed at CICATA-Quer\'etaro in Mexico. The device consists of a flat, multi-arm spiral coil which is placed above a fast-spinning metal disc and connected to the latter by sliding liquid-metal electrical contacts. Theoretically, self-excitation of the magnetic field is expected at the critical magnetic Reynolds number Rm~45, which corresponds to a critical rotation rate of about 10 Hz. Read More


Isostatic equilibrium is commonly understood to be the state of equilibrium--neglecting mantle dynamics and the slow relaxation of the crust--achieved when there are no lateral gradients in hydrostatic or lithostatic pressure, and thus no lateral flow, at depth within the lower viscosity mantle that underlies the outer crust of a planetary body. In a constant-gravity Cartesian framework, this definition is equivalent to the requirement that columns of equal width contain equal masses. Here we show, however, that this equivalence breaks down when the spherical geometry of the problem is taken into account. Read More


Earthquakes cannot be predicted with precision, but algorithms exist for intermediate-term middle range prediction of main shocks above a pre-assigned threshold, based on seismicity patterns. Few years ago, a first attempt was made in the framework of project SISMA, funded by Italian Space Agency, to jointly use seismological tools, like CN algorithm and scenario earthquakes, and geodetic methods and techniques, like GPS and SAR monitoring, in order to effectively constrain priority areas where to concentrate prevention and seismic risk mitigation. We present a further development of integration of seismological and geodetic information, clearly showing the contribution of geodesy to the understanding and prediction of earthquakes. Read More


An innovative computational approach to capturing the essential aspects of an Enhanced Geothermal System (EGS) is formulated. The modified finite element method is utilized to model transient heat and fluid flow within an EGS reservoir. Three main features are modified to determine their impact on the reservoir: the fracture model, the porous model, and the coupling physical model. Read More


Time measured by an ideal clock crucially depends on the gravitational potential and velocity of the clock according to general relativity. Technological advances in manufacturing high-precision atomic clocks have rapidly improved their accuracy and stability over the last decade that approached the level of 10$^{-18}$. Based on a fully relativistic description of the background gravitational physics, we discuss the impact of those highly-precise clocks on the realization of reference frames and time scales used in geodesy. Read More


Seasonal patterns associated with stress modulation, as evidenced by earthquake occurrence, have been detected in regions characterized by present day mountain building and glacial retreat in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Himalaya and the Alps, seismicity is peaking in spring and summer; opposite behaviour is observed in the Apennines. This diametrical behaviour, confirmed by recent strong earthquakes, well correlates with the dominant tectonic regime: peak in spring and summer in shortening areas, peak in fall and winter in extensional areas. Read More


2017Feb
Affiliations: 1Argonne National Laboratory, 2Argonne National Laboratory, 3Argonne National Laboratory, 4Argonne National Laboratory, 5University of Bern

We report a methodology for measuring 85Kr/Kr isotopic abundances using Atom Trap Trace Analysis (ATTA) that increases sample measurement throughput by over an order of magnitude to 6 samples per 24 hours. The noble gas isotope 85Kr (half-life = 10.7 yr) is a useful tracer for young groundwater in the age range of 5-50 years. Read More


In simulation of fluid injection in fractured geothermal reservoirs, the characteristics of the physical processes are severely affected by the local occurence of connected fractures. To resolve these structurally dominated processes, there is a need to develop discretization strategies that also limit computational effort. In this paper we present an upscaling methodology for geothermal heat transport with fractures represented explicitly in the computational grid. Read More


In order to improve our understanding of landing on small bodies and of asteroid evolution, we use our novel drop tower facility to perform low-velocity (2-40 cm s^-1), shallow impact experiments of a 10 cm diameter aluminum sphere into quartz sand in low effective gravities (~0.2-1 m s^-2). Using in situ accelerometers, we measure the acceleration profile during the impacts and determine the peak accelerations, collision durations and maximum penetration depth. Read More


An asteroid impact is a low probability event with potentially devastating consequences. The Asteroid Risk Mitigation Optimization and Research (ARMOR) software tool calculates whether a colliding asteroid experiences an airburst or surface impact and calculates effect severity as well as reach on the global map. To calculate the consequences of an impact in terms of loss of human life, new vulnerability models are derived that connect the severity of seven impact effects (strong winds, overpressure shockwave, thermal radiation, seismic shaking, ejecta deposition, cratering and tsunamis) with lethality to human populations. Read More


Forecasting fault failure is a fundamental but elusive goal in earthquake science. Here we show that by listening to the acoustic signal emitted by a laboratory fault, machine learning can predict the time remaining before it fails with great accuracy. These predictions are based solely on the instantaneous physical characteristics of the acoustical signal, and do not make use of its history. Read More


Inorganic carbon, in the form of allogenic (transported) and pedogenic (soil) carbonates in semi-arid soils, may comprise an important carbon sink. Carbon dioxide, CO2, originating from the atmosphere and exhaled by tree roots into the soil, may be hydrated by soil water within the unsaturated zone (USZ) of semi-arid soils to produce the carbonic acid (H2CO3) solutes HCO3- bicarbonate and H+ Hydrogen ion. This H+ may then dissolve relict soil CaCO3 carbonate (calcite), to release Ca+2 calcium cations and more HCO3- bicarbonate. Read More


Inspired by river networks and other structures formed by Laplacian growth, we use the Loewner equation to investigate the growth of a network of thin fingers in a diffusion field. We first review previous contributions to illustrate how this formalism reduces the network's expansion to three rules, which respectively govern the velocity, the direction, and the nucleation of its growing branches. This framework allows us to establish the mathematical equivalence between three formulations of the direction rule, namely geodesic growth, growth that maintains local symmetry and growth that maximizes flux into tips for a given amount of growth. Read More


The Finite Difference (FD) and the Spectral Boundary Integral (SBI) methods have been used extensively to model spontaneously propagating shear cracks in a variety of engineering and geophysical applications. In this paper, we propose a new modeling approach, in which these two methods are combined through consistent exchange of boundary tractions and displacements. Benefiting from the flexibility of FD and the efficiency of spectral boundary integral (SBI) methods, the proposed hybrid scheme will solve a wide range of problems in a computationally efficient way. Read More


Many natural and engineering systems are simultaneously subjected to a driving force and a stabilizing force. The interplay between the two forces, especially for highly nonlinear systems such as fluid flow, often results in surprising features. Here we reveal such features in three different types of Rayleigh-B\'enard (RB) convection, i. Read More


Recent 60Fe results have suggested that the estimated distances of supernovae in the last few million years should be reduced from 100 pc to 50 pc. Two events or series of events are suggested, one about 2.7 million years to 1. Read More


Analysis of transient deformation events in time series data observed via networks of continuous Global Positioning System (GPS) ground stations provide insight into the magmatic and tectonic processes that drive volcanic activity. Typical analyses of spatial positions originating from each station require careful tuning of algorithmic parameters and selection of time and spatial regions of interest to observe possible transient events. This iterative, manual process is tedious when attempting to make new discoveries and does not easily scale with the number of stations. Read More


KM3NeT-ORCA is a water-Cherenkov neutrino detector designed for studying the oscillations of atmospheric neutrinos, with the primary objective of measuring the neutrino mass ordering. Atmospheric neutrinos crossing the Earth undergo matter effects, modifying the pattern of their flavour oscillations. The study of the angular and energy distribution of neutrino events in ORCA can therefore provide tomographic information on the Earth's interior with an independent technique, complementary to the standard geophysics methods. Read More


Sand seas on Titan may reflect the present and past climatic conditions. Understanding the morphodynamics and physico-chemical properties of Titan's dunes is therefore essential for a better comprehension of the climatic and geological history of the largest Saturn's moon. We derived quantitatively surface properties (texture, composition) from the modelling of microwave backscattered signal and Monte-Carlo inversion of despeckled Cassini/SAR data over sand sea. Read More


A pseudo-outcrop visualization is demonstrated for borehole and full-diameter rock core images to augment the ubiquitous unwrapped cylinder view and thereby to assist non-specialist interpreters. The pseudo-outcrop visualization is equivalent to a nonlinear projection of the image from borehole to earth frame of reference that creates a solid volume sliced longitudinally to reveal two or more faces in which the orientations of geological features indicate what is observed in the subsurface. A proxy for grain size is used to modulate the external dimensions of the plot to mimic profiles seen in real outcrops. Read More


Surface observations indicate that the speed of the solar meridional circulation in the photosphere varies in anti-phase with the solar cycle. The current explanation for the source of this variation is that inflows into active regions alter the global surface pattern of the meridional circulation. When these localized inflows are integrated over a full hemisphere, they contribute to the slow down of the axisymmetric poleward horizontal component. Read More


The recent evolution of induced seismicity in Central United States calls for exhaustive catalogs to improve seismic hazard assessment. Over the last decades, the volume of seismic data has increased exponentially, creating a need for efficient algorithms to reliably detect and locate earthquakes. Today's most elaborate methods scan through the plethora of continuous seismic records, searching for repeating seismic signals. Read More


We present results of observation of Cygnus-A radiosource scintillation in the Earth's ionosphere in quiet and disturbed geomagnetic condition at Irkutsk incoherent scattering radar (IISR). Scintillation method applied for ionosphere testing at IISR confidently defines Fresnel frequency and power cutoff - the spectral characteristics usually related to the velocities and spatial spectra of ionospheric plasma irregularities. We also use IGFR magnetic field model in order to show relation between shape of discrete radio source scintillation spectra and direction to the radio source with respect to geomagnetic field. Read More


In the presence of background noise and interference, arrival times picked from a surface microseismic data set usually include a number of false picks which lead to uncertainty in location estimation. To eliminate false picks and improve the accuracy of location estimates, we develop a classification algorithm (RATEC) that clusters picked arrival times into event groups based on random sampling and fitting moveout curves that approximate hyperbolas. Arrival times far from the fitted hyperbolas are classified as false picks and removed from the data set prior to location estimation. Read More


2017Feb
Affiliations: 1Argonne National Laboratory, 2Argonne National Laboratory, 3University of Science and Technology of China, 4Argonne National Laboratory, 5Argonne National Laboratory, 6Argonne National Laboratory, 7University of Bern

We place a 2.5% limit on the anthropogenic contribution to the modern abundance of 81Kr/Kr in the atmosphere at the 90% confidence level. Due to its simple production and transport in the terrestrial environment, 81Kr (halflife = 230,000 yr) is an ideal tracer for old water and ice with mean residence times in the range of 10^5-10^6 years. Read More


The paper by Taroni et al. (2016) considers results of forward prediction of Italian strong earthquakes by CN algorithm with the declared intent of providing "a careful assessment of CN prediction performances.. Read More


In this paper we survey the various implementations of a new data assimilation (downscaling) algorithm based on spatial coarse mesh measurements. As a paradigm, we demonstrate the application of this algorithm to the 3D Leray-$\alpha$ subgrid scale turbulence model. Most importantly, we use this paradigm to show that it is not always necessary that one has to collect coarse mesh measurements of all the state variables, that are involved in the underlying evolutionary system, in order to recover the corresponding exact reference solution. Read More


The soundscape in the eastern Arctic was studied from April to September 2013 using a 22 element vertical hydrophone array as it drifted from near the North Pole (89$^{\circ}$23'N, 62$^{\circ}$35'W) to north of Fram Strait (83$^{\circ}$45'N 4$^{\circ}$28'W). The hydrophones recorded for 108 minutes on six days per week with a sampling rate of 1953.125 Hz. Read More


We present results of numerical simulation of the direct cascade in two-dimensional hydrodynamic turbulence (with spatial resolution up to $16384 \times 16384$). If at the earlier stage (at the time of order of the inverse pumping growth rate $\tau\sim\Gamma_{max}^{-1}$), the turbulence develops according to the same scenario as in the case of a freely decaying turbulence \cite{KNNR-07, KKS}: quasi-singular distributions of di-vorticity are formed, which in $k$-space correspond to jets, leading to a strong turbulence anisotropy, then for times of the order of $10\tau$ turbulence becomes almost isotropic. In particular, at these times any significant anisotropy in the angular fluctuations for the energy spectrum (for a fixed $k$) is not visible, while the probability distribution function of vorticity for large arguments has the exponential tail with the exponent linearly dependent on vorticity, in the agreement with the theoretical prediction \cite{FalkovichLebedev2011}. Read More


A first principle micromagnetic and statistical calculation of viscous remanent magnetization (VRM) in an ensemble of cubic magnetite pseudo single-domain particles is presented. This is achieved by developing a fast relaxation algorithm for finding optimal transition paths between micromagnetic local energy minima. It combines a nudged elastic band technique with action minimization. Read More