Prof. Manoochehr Shirzaei       

Lab Friends

Dr. Susanna Werth


Dr. Chandrakant Ojha

Remote sensing of large scale  crustal deformation and modeling  total water storage in California

States across southwest USA, in particular California, are currently undergoing a severe drought on large spatial extents, which causes shrinkage of the surface and groundwater resources. Thus, a comprehensive monitoring and modeling schemes to enhance drought management and mitigating the negative impacts at various spatial and temporal scales is an essential. The proposed research effort will perform a joint analysis of the deformation and gravity data to obtain maps of TWS variations, on various scales ranging from 100s of m to 1000s of km. To this end we will analyze the archive of gravity data obtained by GRACE satellites (2002-present) and the high resolution 3D deformation data obtained through InSAR processing of the SAR images acquired by various satellites (2003-present) and GPS measurements over the state of California. Combination of the high resolution deformation data and continuous gravity observations, through a Bayesian inverse modeling scheme, provides multiscale estimates of water storages variations and its uncertainty. Thus it provides unique constraints on the timing and extent of hydrological mass fluxes, useful for probabilistic drought forecast and management. Results from this project will assess the capabilities of InSAR in combination with GRACE and GPS data to provide high resolution spatiotemporal observations of TWS variations.

Graduate Students

Megan Miller

Spatiotemporal Characterization of Aquifers Using InSAR Time Series and Time-dependent Poroelastic Modeling in Phoenix, Arizona

Alluvial basins in Phoenix experience surface deformation due to large volumes of fluid withdrawn and added to aquifers. The spatiotemporal pattern of deformation is controlled by pumping and recharge rates, hydraulic boundaries, and properties such as diffusivity, transmissivity, and hydraulic conductivity. Land subsidence can cause damages to structures, earth fissures, and a permanent loss of aquifer storage; effects are often apparent after the onset of sustained events. Improving our understanding of the source and mechanisms of deformation is important for risk management and future planning.

Guang Zhai (Gavin)


Time-dependent deformation source model of Kilauea volcano obtained via InSAR time series and inversion modeling

The Kilauea volcano, Hawaii Island, is one of the most active volcanoes worldwide. Its complex system including magma reservoirs and rift zones, provides a unique opportunity to investigate the dynamics of magma transport and supply. The relatively shallow magma reservoir beneath the caldera stores magma prior to eruption at the caldera or migration to the rift zones. Additionally, the temporally variable pressure in the magma reservoir causes changes in the stress field, driving dike propagation and occasional intrusions at the eastern rift zone. Thus constraining the time-dependent evolution of the magma reservoir plays an important role in understanding magma processes such as supply, storage, transport and eruption. 

Mostafa Khoshmanesh

Time-dependent Model of Aseismic slip on the Central San Andreas Fault from InSAR Time Series and Repeating Earthquakes

The Central segment of the San Andreas Fault (CSAF) is characterized by a nearly continuous right-lateral aseismic slip. Geodetic observations of surface deformation along CSAF indicate interseismic strain accumulation with a rate of about 10 mm/yr. The creep rates obtained using Characteristic Repeating Earthquakes (CRE) show pulses of creep affecting most of the CSAF, suggesting spatiotemporal variability of seismic hazard. Therefore, a high resolution time-dependent model of creep on the CSAF can greatly enhance the knowledge of aseismic and seismic faulting processes as well as the seismic hazard estimates


Constraining the Evolution of Martian Atmosphere through Analysis of the Impact Ejecta

The evolution of the atmosphere of Mars is one of the most engaging questions in planetary science. Whether or not Mars may once have had a warmer and wetter past, is likely linked to the partial density and pressure of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, in particular, carbon dioxide. While much work has focused on the plausibility of a young and dense atmosphere, the early Mars atmospheric properties, such as its density and pressure, as well as their spatiotemporal variations remain poorly constrained. The atmospheric thickness and its evolutions probably have played a key role in providing the conditions necessary for life to originate on Mars as well as shaping the morphology of the planet.

Undergraduate students

Sarah Moran

Statistical assessment of wastewater injection data in Texas                                          

Former Postdoctoral Researchers

Dr. Jennifer Weston
Researcher at International Seismological Centre

Former Students

Alexander Sedlak

Rohan Jawali

Alexandra Horne