Yehuda Ben-Zion

Professor of Earth Sciences

Contact Information
Phone: (213) 740-6734
Office: ZHS 109

Faculty Profile on Departmental Website


  • B.S. Geology and Physics, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 10/1982
  • Ph.D. Geophysics and Seismology, University of Southern California, 8/1990

  • Postdoctoral Training

    • Post-Doctoral fellow, Harvard University , 1991-1993  

    Academic Appointment, Affiliation, and Employment History

    Tenure Track Appointments
    • Professor of Earth Sciences, University of Southern California, 08/2005-  
    Non-Tenure Track Appointments
    • Visiting Professor, GeoForschungsZentrum GFZ, Potsdam, Germany, 2010-2011   
    • Visiting Professor, Joseph Fourier University, Grenoble, France, 2010-2011   
    • Visiting Professor, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia, 2010-2011   

    Description of Research

    Summary Statement of Research Interests
    Professor Ben-Zion research activities focus on efforts to develop an improved framework for the physics of earthquakes and faults. His studies employ a variety of theoretical tools and observational results. Examples of current research interests include dynamic ruptures and seismic waves in fault structures with bimaterial interfaces and geometrical heterogeneities, damage rheology for irreversible brittle deformation, material fragmentation and pulverized fault zone rocks, dynamics of avalanches in granular materials, high resolution imaging of fault zone environments, analysis of earthquake source properties, and correlations between spatio-temporal seismicity patterns and properties of fault zones (e.g. bimaterial interfaces) and the crust (e.g. heat flow). See Publications for recent papers on these topics.


    • Ben-Zion, Y., Rovelli, A. (2015). Properties and processes of crustal fault zones: Volume II. (Vol. 172). Pure Appl. Geophys..
    • Ben-Zion, Y., Rovelli, A. (2014). Properties and processes of crustal fault zones: Volume I. (Vol. 171). Pure Appl. Geophys..
    • Ben-Zion, Y., Sammis, C. G. (2011). Brittle deformation of solid and granular materials with applications to mechanics of earthquakes and faults. (Vol. 168). Pure Appl. Geophys.
    • Ben-Zion, Y., Sammis, C. G. (2009). Mechanics, Structure and Evolution of Fault Zones. (Vol. 166). Pure Appl. Geophys.
    • Ben-Zion, Y., Lee, W. (2006). Advances in Studies of Heterogeneities in the Earth Lithosphere: The Keiiti Aki Volume II. (Vol. 163). Pure Appl. Geophys.
    • Vere-Jones, D., Ben-Zion, Y., Zuniga, R. (2005). Statistical Seismology. (Vol. 162). Pure Appl. Geophys.
    • Ben-Zion, Y. (2003). Seismic Motion, Lithospheric Structures, Earthquake and Volcanic Sources: The Keiiti Aki Volume. (Vol. 160). Pure Appl. Geophys.

    Encyclopedia Article
    • Zöller, G., Hainzl, S., Ben-Zion, Y., Holschneider, M. (2009). Critical states of seismicity: From models to practical seismic hazard estimates, in press, Encyclopedia of Complexity and System Science. (R. Meyers, Ed.). 7853-7872. Vol. 9. Springer.
    • Dahmen, K., Ben-Zion, Y. (2009). The physics of jerky motion in slowly driven magnetic and earthquake fault systems, in press, Encyclopedia of Complexity and System Science. (R. Meyers, Ed.). 5021-5037. Vol. 5. Springer.
    • Yuen, D. A., Dzwinel, W., Ben-Zion, Y., Kadlec, B. (2009). Visualization of Earthquake Clusters over Multidimensional Space, in review, Encyclopedia of Complexity and System Science. (R. Meyers, Ed.). 2347-2371. Vol. 3. Springer.

    Journal Article
    • Hamiel, Y., Lyakhovsky, V., Ben-Zion, Y. (2011). The elastic strain energy of damaged solids with applications to nonlinear deformation of crystalline rocks. Pure Appl. Geophys. Vol. 168, pp. 2199–2210.
    • Ben-Zion, Y., Dahmen, K. A., Uhl, J. T. (2011). A unifying phase diagram for the dynamics of sheared solids and granular materials. Pure Appl. Geophys. Vol. 168, pp. 2221–2237.
    • Schulte-Pelkum, V., Ben-Zion, Y. (2011). Apparent vertical Moho offsets under continental strike-slip faults from lithology contrasts in the seismogenic crust. Geophys. J. Int.
    • Pischiutta, M., Salvini, F., Fletcher, J., Rovelli, A., Ben-Zion, Y. (2011). Horizontal polarization of ground motion in the Hayward fault zone at Fremont, California: Dominant fault-high-angle polarization and fault-induced cracks. Geophys. J. Int.
    • Allam, A. A., Ben-Zion, Y. (2011). Seismic velocity structures in the Southern California plate-boundary environment from double-difference tomography. Geophys. J. Int..
    • Ben-Zion, Y., Rockwell, T., Shi, Z., Xu, S. (2011). Reversed-polarity secondary deformation structures near fault stepovers. J. of Appl. Mech.
    • Lyakhovsky, V., Hamiel, Y., Ben-Zion, Y. (2011). A non-local visco-elastic damage model and dynamic fracturing. J. of Mech. and Phys. of Solids. Vol. 59, pp. 1752–1776.
    • Ben-Zion, Y. (2011). Episodic tremor and slip on a frictional interface with critical zero weakening in elastic solid. Geophys. J. Int.
    • Dahmen, K., Ben-Zion, Y., Uhl, J. (2011). A simple analytic theory for the statistics of avalanches in sheared granular materials. Nature Physics. Vol. 7, pp. 554-557.
    • Bulut, F., Ben-Zion, Y., Bonhoff, M. (2011). Evidence for a bimaterial interface along the Mudurnu segment of the North Anatolian Fault Zone from P wave arrival times and polarization analysis. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett.
    • Ozakin, Y., Ben-Zion, Y., Aktar, M., Karabulut, H., Peng, Z. (2011). Velocity contrast across the 1944 rupture of the North Anatolian fault east of Ismetpasa from analysis of teleseismic arrivals. Geophys. Res. Lett.
    • Wechsler, N., Allen, E., Rockwell, T., Girty, G., Chester, J., Ben-Zion, Y. (2011). Characterization of Pulverized Granitoids in a Shallow Core along the San Andreas Fault, Little Rock, CA. Geophys. J. Int. Vol. 186, pp. 401–417.
    • Mitchell, T., Ben-Zion, Y., Shimamoto, T. (2011). Pulverized Fault Rocks and Damage Asymmetry along the Arima-Takatsuki Tectonic Line, Japan. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. Vol. 308, pp. 284–297.
    • Zaliapin, I., Ben-Zion, Y. (2011). Asymmetric distribution of early aftershocks on large faults in California. Geophys. J. Int. Vol. 185, pp. 1288-1304.
    • Hillers, G., Ben-Zion, Y. (2011). Seasonal variations of observed noise amplitudes at 2-18 Hz in southern California, Geophys. Geophys. J. Int. Vol. 184, pp. 860–868.

    Honors and Awards

    • Google h-index 54, Spring 2016   
    • ISI h-index 46, Fall 2015   
    • Frontiers in Geosciences Lecture, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Fall 2013   
    • Humboldt Research Prize, 2010-2011  
    • Fellow, American Geophysical Union, Spring 2011   
    • Visiting Professor, GeoForschungsZentrum GFZ, Potsdam, Germany, Spring 2011   
    • Visiting Professor, Joseph Fourier University, Grenoble, France, Spring 2011   
    • Gledden Visiting Senior Fellowship, Institute of Advanced Studies, University of Western Australia, Fall 2010   
    • Ranked 5th in total citations in a global survey of the ESI on "Earthquake Studies", 2000-2010  
    • In top 1% of most cited Geosciences authors in the ESI database for the last 10 years, Spring 2010   
    • Mercator Fellowship of the German Research Society (DFG), 2003  
    • Ranked 4th in citations per paper and 15th in total citations in a global survey of the ESI on "Earthquake Studies", 1993-2003  
    • Zumberge Research and Innovation Fellowship, University of Southern California, 1998  
    • Visiting Professor Fellowship, Earthquake Research Institute, University of Tokyo, Japan, 1996  
    • Geophysics Graduate Student Achievement (University of Southern California), 1989  
    • W. M. Keck Foundation Fellowship (University of Southern California), 1985-1988  
    • Valedictorian, Natural Sciences Faculty (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem), 1982  
    • Natural Sciences Dean's Fellowship (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem), 1980-1982  

    Service to the Profession

    Editorships and Editorial Boards
    • Editor, Geophys. J. Int., 2005-2012  
    • Guest Editor, Pure and Applied Geophys, 2010-2011  
    • Guest Editor, Pure and Applied Geophys, 2008-2009   
    • Guest Editor, Pure and Applied Geophys, 2005-2006   
    • Guest Editor, Pure and Applied Geophys, 2003-2004   
    • Guest Editor, Pure and Applied Geophysics, 2002-2003  
    • Associate Editor, Journal of Geophysical Research, 1999-2002  

    Other Service to the Profession
    • President, Mathematical Geophysics Committee of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics , 05/2011-  

  • Zumberge Hall of Science (ZHS)
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-0740
  • Phone: (213) 740-6106
  • Email: