2013 - Undergraduate research project

     In the spring 2013, I proposed a research project to two undergraduate students of mine: Yuan Liu and Morgan Weiss, on a problem that was suggested by Kristel Chanard (Ph.D.student in Seismology at California Institute of Technology). The study is about some properties of the interface between two plates sliding against each other, subjected to a constant regional stress. An important matter of interest is the pore fluid pressure within the fault zone, and its evolution with time as it has been reported to facilitate triggering and sliding during earthquakes.

     The idea is to consider the 2 dimensional section plane of the fault, and model the contacts between the two plates using the percolation model. Two types of fluid pressure were considered: the pore fluid pressure and the surface fluid pressure.

Yuan Liu wrote a report on the theoretical part of the problem.


Morgan Weiss created and ran simulations on the model.


Central pore when p=.49, p=.5, p=.51, in a 200x200 window


Surface pore pressure as a function of p: average of the surface pressure of the central pore (curve above) vs surface pressure averaged over the pores (curve below) in a 200x200 window, p from 0 to .8



  • Quentin Berger
  • USC, Department of Mathematics
  • 3620 S. Vermont Ave, KAP 108
  • Los Angeles, California 90089-2532