Songqiao “Shawn” Wei: Imaging Earth’s structure
Earth’s interior is a mystery. Michigan State University’s Songqiao “Shawn” Wei wants to understand the geological processes at subduction zones where instead of two continental plates pushing against each other, one plate slides underneath the other one. This is where powerful earthquakes originate and most volcanoes form.
“I study the Earth’s interior structure and evolution using a variety of seismic techniques,” says Wei, an Endowed Assistant Professor of Geological Sciences in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences in the College of Natural Science. “Although we do not try to predict earthquakes or volcanic eruptions, my goal is to better understand every detail of the physics and chemistry of generating earthquakes and volcanoes.”
Wei wants to understand why some areas along the same subduction zone respond differently to the same pressures and stresses.
“Why do some regions have moderate earthquakes very often whereas other adjacent regions keep silent for decades and then rupture in a big, devastating earthquake?” Wei says. “Why are some volcanoes more explosive than others that are located not far away?
With the support of a 2021 National Science Foundation Career award, Wei will study the Earth’s interior and subduction zones using seismic attenuation. Seismic attenuation measures how fast the wave energy generated from an earthquake gets dissipated and converted into heat as it travels through the Earth.
Real full article at MSU Today.