Alexis Cartwright-Taylor

PhD student

Title: A non-extensive statistical physics approach in rock fracture and earthquake geophysics
Supervisors: Filippos Vallianatos, Earth Sciences and Peter Sammonds, IRDR
Source(s) of funding: UCL Impact, IRDR, Technological Institute of Crete
Address: UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction, University College London, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT
Phone No: 0207 679 2004
Extension: 32004
Alexis Cartwright-Taylor

Project description

By approaching fundamental questions of earthquake geophysics and integrating ideas from seismology, rock physics and statistical mechanics, my aim is to shed new light on the relationship between earthquakes and rock fracture mechanisms. Rock fracture systems involve phenomena such as fractality (scale-invariance), self-organised criticality and long-range interaction. Non-extensive statistical physics (NESP), based on the thermodynamic concept of entropy, provides a consistent theoretical framework to analyse the behaviour of such systems.  My project involves conducting rock physics experiments under a variety of crustal conditions to measure electrical and acoustic signals emitted prior to and during rock fracture and then  using NESP methods to analyse the experimental results. The results of these should help to elucidate further the relationships between microscopic fracture behaviour in the laboratory and macroscale seismicity and identify potential mechanisms for earthquake precursors. Long-term, I hope my study will help improve the understanding of earthquakes and contribute to improved methods for assessing seismic risk. In addition, by investigating potential mechanisms for electric earthquake precursors, I hope to progress the field of earthquake geophysics towards an earthquake warning methodology.

Research Publications

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