2012 Workshop on Crustal Deformation Modeling

Golden, Colorado

Announcement for the 2012 Workshop on Crustal Deformation Modeling

The focus of this gathering is on computational models addressing crustal deformation with an emphasis on the seismic cycle across single and multiple events. The workshop will blend science talks on case studies from particular faulting environments and on key rheological behavior with discussions of current obstacles to crustal deformation modeling.

As in previous years, topics will span a variety of computational issues including how to go from a geologic structural model to a finite-element model, various numerical issues such as choosing discretization schemes and meshing strategies, and consideration of different bulk and fault zone rheologies. Another explicit goal of this workshop is to provide basic training in the installation, use, and customization of existing, freely available modeling software for crustal deformation. There will be dedicated time throughout the workshop for hands-on interaction with other users and developers of the primary existing tools.

This workshop will be held from June 18-22, 2012, in Golden, Colorado on the campus of the Colorado School of Mines. The first two days will be dedicated to tutorials (intermediate tutorials on Mon and advanced tutorials on Tue) with the remaining three days (Wed-Fri) including a mixture of science talks, discussion, and informal, hands-on tutorials and collaboration. We are able to provide reimbursement for a portion of the costs incurred for registered attendees with official appointments at U.S. institutions. There are no registration fees. Registration will be limited to 65 attendees.

Workshop Summary

The 2012 Crustal Deformation Modeling workshop was held June 18-22 on the campus of Colorado School of Mines in Golden, CO. This meeting continued an ongoing series of workshops held over the past 10 years. The focus of these workshops is physically based models of the distribution of lithospheric stress in space and time via simulation of the strain accumulation, dynamic rupture propagation, and postseismic relaxation over multiple earthquake cycles. The workshop included participation from 62 scientists. As in previous workshops in this series, nearly two-thirds of the participants were graduate students and postdocs. In this workshop 44% of the participants were graduate students, 21% were postdocs, 18% were faculty, and 18% were researchers. About 80% of the attendees participated in both the tutorials on the first two days of the workshop (Monday and Tuesday) and the science talks and discussions over the following two and one-half days (Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday).

The tutorials focused on Relax and PyLith with some discussion of CUBIT for meshing and ParaView for visualization. The 11 science talks covered a range of topics associated with modeling earthquake deformation, including the role of geodetic modeling in the Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast (UCERF3), elastic block modeling, Bayesian inversion methods, onceptual models of slow slip, the rheology of the lower crust with constraints on crust-mantle interactions, and insights from critical taper analysis on earthquake cycle modeling. The workshop also included two discussion sessions with one focused on the need for an inversion framework and one focused on prioritizing features to be included in PyLith. The participants expressed strong support for a community kinematic inversion code using a highly modular approach. Such a code would target the geodetic modeling community but might support seismic data as well. The main obstacle is finding the appropriate scientist to lead/champion the code development effort. The two hot topics for PyLith development were multiphysics capabilities and earthquake cycle modeling.

Workshop Information

Confirmed Speakers

  • Brad Aagaard (USGS)
  • Sylvain Barbot (Caltech)
  • Peter Bird (UCLA)
  • Margaret Boettcher (Univ. of New Hampshire)
  • Nadaya Cubas (Caltech)
  • Jessica Hawthorne (Princeton)
  • Jack Loveless (Smith)
  • Greg McLaskey (USGS)
  • Sarah Minson (USGS)
  • David Schmidt (Univ. of Oregon)
  • Wayne Thatcher (USGS)
  • Jolante Van Wijk (Univ. of Houston)
  • Charles Williams (GNS Science)


  • Travel Information
    • Reimbursement Information
      • Important: Reimbursement Policy
      • Only participants with official U.S. appointments will receive partial reimbursement of travel expenses.
      • Air travel must be done on a US carrier in order to be reimbursed.
  • Lodging

    Lodging in dorm rooms in Weaver Towers (same as previous years) will be covered for registered participants from U.S. institutions. Rooms are single occupancy in a suite format with 5-6 rooms per suite and 2 shared bathrooms. Sign up for dorm accommodations by indicating your preferences on the registration form.

    Participants may choose to stay in a hotel but will not be reimbursed for their lodging expenses. Local hotels include the Table Mountain Inn (800-762-9898) and the The Golden Hotel (303-215-4156). If you choose to stay in one of the hotels and cover your own lodging, you must make your own hotel reservations.

  • Airport Shuttle

    Participants (except invited speakers) should expect to cover their own transportation to/from the airport. Renting a car is strongly discouraged because you will not need a car while in Golden. We recommend Super Shuttle (800-258-3826). Allow up to an hour and a half for the trip.

  • Late Night Taxis For those who may be arriving after 11pm, please note that Supershuttle apparently doesn't guarantee operation. We have the following cab numbers to call if your flight arrives after 11pm. *Yellow Cab 303-777-7777 *Freedom Cab 303-444-4444 *Metro Cab 303-333-3333
  • Maps


We request all participants download and install PyLith, CUBIT, and ParaView on your computer before the workshop. See workflow diagram for a general description of the typical workflow used in numerical modeling of crustal dynamics
  • PyLith - static, quasi-static, and dynamic crustal deformation

    Binary packages and the PyLith manual are available on the PyLith webpage. The manual has a troubleshooting section, and there are links to the cig-short mailing list where users can get assistance.

  • RELAX - static and quasi-static crustal deformation in a half-space

    Binary packages and the RELAX manual are available on the RELAX webpage. Users can request assistance via the cig-short mailing list.

  • CUBIT - finite-element meshing

    Users can download a 30-day trial version from csimsoft. Follow the CUBIT link and open an account (does not require any financial commitment), to access links to binaries.

  • ParaView - visualization

    ParaView is a GUI visualization tool discussed in the PyLith examples. Binaries are available for a wide variety of platforms on the ParaView website. Click on RESOURCES->Download.

Workshop sponsors include: 
Computational Infrastructure for Geodynamics (CIG) Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC) National Science Foundation (NSF) National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
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