Department of Geology

Michael Brudzinski


Ph.D. (2002) University of Illinois
127 Culler Hall

My research program contributes to our understanding of the Earth's structure and composition as well as how the Earth deforms. My approach employs primarily seismic and geodetic tools to study first-order problems of geophysics and geodynamics that are of interest to a broad audience. A long-term focus of my research is to investigate processes related to subduction, a fundamental feature of the plate tectonic engine that drives the evolution of the Earth. However, the complexity of subduction zones is formidable and subducted lithosphere cannot be accessed directly at the Earth's surface, which make subduction zones arguably the most poorly understood part of the global tectonic framework. By constructing innovative experiments with high-resolution techniques, I seek to place new and important constraints on unresolved problems like convection, seismogenesis, and lithospheric evolution.

Possible thesis/dissertation topics:

  • Seismic and petrologic structure of subducted lithosphere near Fiji and Vanuatu.
  • Relationships between earthquakes, stress patterns, and mantle dynamics beneath South America and the western Pacific.
  • Combined GPS and seismic estimates of convergent deformation in southern Mexico.

Current/recent graduate student research:

  • Seismic and Aseismic Deformation of the Oaxaca Segment in the Mexican Subduction Zone.
  • Segmentation of Non-Volcanic Tremor in the Cascadia Subduction Zone.
  • Seismic Anisotropy and Thermo-Petrologic Evolution of Deep Subduction

Selected Publications:

Song, T.-R., Helmberger, A.D., Brudzinski, M.R., Clayton, R.W., Davis, P., Perez-Campos, X., and Singh, S.K. (2009) Subducting slab ultra-slow velocity layer coincident with silent earthquakes in southern Mexico, Science in press.

Brudzinski, M.R. (2008) Do Faults Shimmy Before They Shake?, Nature Geoscience, 1, 295-296.

Brudzinski, M.R. and Allen, R.M. (2007) Segmentation in Episodic Tremor and Skip all Along Cascadia, Geology, 35, 907-910.

Brudzinski, M.R., Thurber, C.H., Hacker, B.R. and Engdahl, E.R. (2007) Global Prevalence of Double Benioff Zones, Science, 316, p. 1472-1474, IF 30.927, Contribution 80%.

Chen, W.-P. and Brudzinski, M.R. (2007) Repeating Earthquakes, Episodic Tremor and Slip: Emerging Patterns in Complex Earthquake Cycles?, Complexity, 12, p. 33-43.

Lay, T., Kanamori, H., Ammon, C.J., Nettles, M., Ward, S.N., Aster, R., Beck, S.L., Bilek, S.L., Brudzinski, M.R., Butler, R., DeShon, H.R., Ekstrom, G., Satake, K., and Sipkin, S. (2005) The Great Sumatra-Andaman Earthquake of December 26, 2004, Science, 308, p. 1127-1133.

Selected Grants:

  • National Science Foundation, awarded 2007 (with R. Allen, UC-Berkeley)
    An integrated view of subduction along Cascadia: Episode tremor and slip linked to 3-D structure and hazards.
  • National Science Foundation, awarded 2006 (with W.-P Chen, University of Illinois and H.W. Green, University of California-Riverside
    A study of deep subduction integrating broadband seismology and mineral physics.
  • National Science Foundation, awarded 2005 (with C. DeMets, University of Wisconsin) A study of transient aseismic slip and non-volcanic tremor in southern Mexico with large aperture seismic and GPS arrays.

Teaching Interests:

GLG 121 - Environmental Geology - Emphasis on Natural Hazards
GLG 461/561 - Geophysics (cross-listed with PHY 466/566)
GLG 457/567 - Siesmology (cross-listed with PHY 467/567)
GLG 661 - Continental Mantle Dynamics
GLG 662 - Subduction Zones
GLG 667 Advanced Seismology

For complete descriptions of courses please click here.

For more information visit Dr. Brudzinski's personal web page.

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