2010 Alum

Andrew Lopez

Andrew Lopez

Years participated in RESESS:

An Overview

A comparison of regional 3-D subduction models in the Western Pacific to subduction models from Slab 1.0

Academic Affiliation: Senior, University of Texas at El Paso, Geology
Science Research Mentor: Gavin Hayes, USGS and Synergetics Inc.
Writing Mentors: Stuart Wier and Valerie Sloan, UNAVCO, Aaron Velasco, University of Texas, at El Paso
Community Mentor: Dustin Kloempken, Student, University of Colorado at Boulder


Andrew Lopez was born in the border metropolis of El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. Seismology and geophysics are his main areas of interest within the field of geology. In his spare time he plays the guitar, trumpet, trombone, baritone, and tuba. He loves to play basketball and was on the varsity swim team in high school. Andrew's goal is to work for the Department of Defense after graduation, monitoring other countries for underground nuclear testing.


The largest earthquakes occur along subduction zones, regions where one tectonic plate slides underneath another. To assess which regions may be most susceptible to future earthquakes, it is critical to understand the rupture process of earthquakes, especially along subduction zones. To create accurate models of subduction zone geometries we use Slab1.0, a three-dimensional model of global subduction zone geometries created using teleseismic data and regional data when available. We assess the accuracy of Slab1.0 3-D models by comparing a selection of these models to models derived from previous regional studies. By digitizing models of subduction zones collected from readily available geoscience literature, we quantitatively compare these models to Slab1.0, identifying discrepancies in slab interface depth. Plausible reasons for such discrepancies include differences in data coverage and bias in the location of the earthquake epicenters in regional and teleseismic catalogs. Here we show comparisons between subduction zone models in Japan, Sumatra, and the Tonga trench, all well-defined in Slab1.0. In Japan, where we have collected several regional models, we find that the Slab1.0 models are consistently shallower than their regional counterparts in the shallow sections of the subduction zone. This may indicate that discrepancies are due to well-known bias in teleseismic earthquake locations in subduction zones, or perhaps that the regional data are biased because of poor azimuthal coverage in recordings of offshore events.