Earthquake Geology - Kerry Sieh


Director Kerry Sieh’s principal research interest is earthquake geology, which uses geological layers and landforms to understand the geometries of active faults, the earthquakes they generate, and the crustal structure their movements produce. His early work on the San Andreas fault led to the discovery of how often and how regularly it produces large earthquakes in southern California.

More recently, his group has begun a study of the earthquake geology of Myanmar and New Guinea. Current research is especially focused on the subduction megathrust that produced the devastating giant Aceh-Andaman earthquake and Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004.

Latest Projects

Close to solving one of the most celebrated, long-standing geo-hazard mysteries of the region, Sieh’s group is searching for an 800,000-year-old impact crater in Laos.

The Shan Plateau, which passes through China and Myanmar, is not well studied; this three-year project that aims to determine earthquake recurrence intervals of two key faults will be invaluable to assessing hazard there.

Beginning with Myanmar as the test sub-region, Sieh and his team will combine fault and earthquake data to construct a state-of-the-art regional model to assess seismic hazards.

This project combines satellite imagery, advanced mapping tools, seismic monitoring and field work to investigate the behavior of the Sagaing Fault in Myanmar and improve seismic hazard predictions for Myanmar.

By measuring movement across the Sumatran Fault, Sieh and his team will update regional earthquake models and better estimate the potential hazards to society associated with this fault.

This project examines the evolution of settlements and the northern Acehnese coast throughout the past millennium to produce a compelling picture of the interaction of humanity and geohazards.



AXA Fellowship


Harry Fielding Reid Medal