Installing a broadband seismograph near Rodadero, Colombia, April 2016.  With Jorge de La Rosa &  Juan Carlos Lizcano (Servicio Geológico Colombiano) and Pnina Miller (PASSCAL)

Research Interests

  • Crustal and Upper Mantle Seismology

  • Evolution and Structure of Orogenic Belts and Plate Boundaries

  • Seismic Imaging and Forward Modeling

  • Energy and the Environment

Research Projects

  1. Caribbean Merida Andes Broadband Experiment  Investigating Flat Slab Subduction and Plate Edge Tectonics in Northern South America. Broadband seismic experiment in northwestern South America to investigate the Laramide style uplift of the Merida Andes, Perija Range, and Santa Marta block  (NSF 2015-2019, with Fenglin Niu).

  2. iMUSH Active Source Seismology  The iMUSH (iMaging Magma Under St Helens) Active Source Seismology Experiment. The active source seismology component of the iMUSH project is designed to investigate the magmatic plumbing system of Mount St. Helens.  (NSF 2011-2019)

  3. Delamination-Style Convective Downwelling under the Colorado Plateau Examining the Evolution of the Colorado Plateau and Its Relation to the Surrounding Tectonic Provinces Using USArray Data. (NSF EarthScope 2008-2011)

  4. PICASSO: Program to Investigate Convective Alboran Sea System Overturn.  PICASSO examined subduction and lithospheric delamination under the Gibraltar Arc and Moroccan Atlas Mountains using active and passive seismology, geochemistry, and structural geology.  Rice was the lead institution, with the University of Oregon, University of Southern California, and WHOI as US partners, and Institute of Earth Science “Jaume Almera”, Barcelona,  the University of Salamanca, and the Scientific Institute of Rabat as Spanish and Moroccan partners. (NSF Continental Dynamics 2008-2012)

  5. DAVinCI: MRI-R2: Acquisition of Data Analysis and Visualization Cyber-Infrastructure for Computational Science and Engineering Applications:  A Rice Science and Engineering infrastructure project that acquired a 2400 core, 25 Tflop cluster computer, and developed Rice’s Chevron Visualization Center  (NSF ACI and Chevron Corporation, 2010-2015).

  6. Making the San Andreas Fault at the Mendocino Triple JunctionUSArray FlexArray broadband experiment in the Mendocino Triple Junction Region, Northern California, with Gene Humphreys (University of Oregon) and Richard Allen (UC Berkeley). (NSF EarthScope 2006-2010)

  7. BOLIVAR: Crust-Mantle Interactions During Continental Growth and High-pressure Rock Exhumation at an Oblique Arc-Continent collision Zone: SE Caribbean Margin: BOLIVAR (Broadband Onshore-offshore Lithospheric Investigation of Venezuela and the Antilles arc Region) was a project that included structural geology, geochemistry, and combined active and passive seismology experiments to understand the evolution of the southeast Caribbean plate boundary. (NSF Continental Dynamics 2004-2015)

Other Interests:   EarthScope,  USArray, CIDER

  1. Levander, A., Humphreys, E.D., Ekstrom, G., Meltzer, A.S. and Shearer, P.M., 1999. Proposed project would give unprecedented look under North America. Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union80(22), pp.245-251.
  2. Meltzer, Anne; Rudnick, Roberta; Zeitler, Peter; Levander, Alan; Humphreys, Gene; Karlstrom, Karl; Ekström, Goran; Carlson, Rick; Dixon, Tim; Gurnis, Michael; Shearer, Peter; van der Hilst, Rob (November 1999), “USArray Initiative”GSA Today, pp. 8–10.
  3. Ekstrom, Goran, Gene Humphreys, and Alan Levander: USArray a tool for probing the continent.
  4. Imaging Science Workshops for USArray: NSF EAR 0501393, with Gary Pavlis (Indiana University). Workshops were held at Rice (2004), University of Washington St. Louis (2006), and UC Berkeley (2011)
  5. CIDER 2011 Summer Program, Dynamics of Mountain Building, Alan Levander, Adrian Lenardic, Gene Humphreys, Cin-Ty Lee, Greg Hirth
  6. EPSL Issue on USArray: Long, M.D., Levander, A. and Shearer, P.M., 2014. An introduction to the special issue of Earth and Planetary Science Letters on USArray science. Earth and Planetary Science Letters402, pp.1-5.
  7. Rice Energy and Environment Initiative (EEI) Operations Management Committee

Research Group: The students and post-docs in seismology named themselves:

The STAR Group: Seismology and Tectonics at Rice


  • Eric Kiser (iMUSH Active Source, now an Assistant Professor at the University of Arizona)
  • Imma Palomeras (PICASSO, now a Research Scientist at the University of Salamanca, Spain)

Current and Recent Graduate Students

  • Yen Sun (MS)
  • John Cornthwaite (PhD)
  • Sally Thurner (PICASSO, PhD 2014, now at Noble Energy)
  • Jeniffer Masy (BOLIVAR, PhD 2014, now at Osprey Energy)
  • Rachel Margolis (USArray, MS 2014, now at Schlumberger)
  • Mehdi Aharchau (Signal Processing, MS 2013, now at ExxonMobil)
  • Kaijian Liu (Imaging, USArray Data and Mendocino, PhD 2012, now at Shell USA)
  • Max Bezada (BOLIVAR, PhD 2010, now an Assistant Professor at University of Minnesota)
  • Yongbo Zhai (Mendocino, MS 2010, now at TGS)


  • Beining Zhang (USArray Data, BS 2016, now a graduate student at UCSD/Scripps)

Visiting Students

  • Carolina Ortiz Guerrera (Bucaramanga seismic data, 2016, summer intern from University of Los Andes, Bogota, Colombia)
  • Mohammad Youssof (South African Seismic Data, PhD 2014, University of Copenhagen)
  • Alba Gil (PICASSO, PhD 2015, University of Barcelona, now a post-doc at the Southampton Marine Science Centre)