2013 CIG/QUEST/IRIS Joint Workshop on Seismic Imaging of Structure and Source

Fairbanks, Alaska
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Workshop Summary

The July 14-17, 2013, workshop, hosted by the University of Alaska at Fairbanks, presented theoretical developments and applications in computational seismology with regard to earth structure and earthquake sources.

The sessions were:

  1. The forward problem: Model construction, meshing, and wavefield simulations
  2. Structure inversion
  3. Source modeling
  4. Challenges and frontiers for seismology

The formal discussion topics were:

  1. Tomographic model validation and uncertainty estimation
  2. Source modeling
  3. Workflows, big data, and exascale seismology
The conference format included invited talks, poster sessions, discussion sessions, and computing tutorials. A total of 91 participants attended the workshop, including 28 graduate students, 14 postdocs, and 49 senior scientists. The 21 invited talks as well as 63 posters; and the abstract volume which includes all presentations are available through links below (see Final Workshop Documents).

The first computing tutorial session featured the wave propagation code AXISEM and the workflow toolkit ObsPy. Participants were able to run the codes themselves and interact with the developers. The second computing tutorial featured the wave propagation code SPECFEM3D and the associated hexahedral meshing software GEOCUBIT. The workshop was strengthened by diverse geographic representation and professional representation from industry, national labs, and academia. One theme of the meeting is that we are faced with great theoretical, computational, and data-centered challenges regarding seismic imaging of earth structure and in the estimation of uncertainties.

The July 14-17, 2013, workshop, hosted by the University of Alaska at Fairbanks, presented theoretical developments and applications in computational seismology with regard to earth structure and earthquake sources.

Workshop Organizers

  • Carl Tape lead (University of Alaska, Fairbanks)
  • Tim Ahern (IRIS Data Management System, Seattle)
  • Alan Levander (Rice)
  • Tarje Nissen-Meyer (ETH Zurich)
  • Arthur Rodgers (Lawrence Livermore National Lab)

Final Workshop Documents

  • Final Agenda pdf
  • Abstract Volume pdf 
  • Final List of Workshop Registrants pdf



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    Credit: Piero Basini

Speakers & Presentations

[pdf]  Brad Aagaard, USGS Bay Area Seismic Velocity Model, Construction and Earthquake Simulations 
[pdf]  Tim Ahern, IRIS Services, Products, Quality Assurance Efforts, and Potential Links to High Performance Computing in the Era of BIG DATA 
[pdf]  Yehuda Ben-Zion, Multi-scale 4D Imaging of Fault Zone Environments 
[pdf]  Michael Bostock, Low Frequency Earthquakes: A New Seismic Source for Imaging Subduction Zones 
[pdf]  Michael Campillo, Ambient Noise Imaging 
[pdf]  Emanuele Casarotti, Hex Meshing 101 [keynote] (fully animated)
[pdf]  Andreas Fichtner, Towards a Comprehensive Seismic Model 
[pdf]  Jeff Freymueller, Active Tectonics of Alaska 
[pdf]  Heiner Igel, Challenges in Computational Seismology 
[pdf]  Miaki Ishii, Rupture Properties of Intermediate-Depth Earthquakes Using Back-Projection Techniques 
[pdf]  Chen Ji, Recent Advances and Limitations in Earthquake Source Studies 
[pdf]  Qinya Liu, High-resolution Seismic Array Imaging Based on Spectral Element Simulations 
[pdf]  Philip Maechling, SCEC's Unified Community Velocity Model (UCVM) Software: Development Goals and Current Status 
[pdf]  Tarje Nissen-Meyer, AxiSEM HIgh-frequency Global Wavefields for Forward and Inverse Modeling 
[pdf]  Christian Pelties, Rapid CAD and Tetrahedral Mesh Generation for Dynamic Rupture Problems 
[pdf]  Barbara Romanowicz, Low Velocities in the Oceanic Upper Mantle and Their Relation to Plumes: Insights from SEM-based Waveform Tomography 
[pdf]  Stephane Rondenay, Imaging with the Generalized Radon Transform: a Review of the Theory and Applications 
         Partha Routh, Full Wavefield Inversion’s Impact on the Upstream Business 
[pdf]  Jeroen Tromp, Imaging Earth's Interior Based on Spectral Element and Adjoint Methods [keynote] (fully animated)
         Jean-Pierre Vilotte, The Virtual Earthquake and Seismology Research e-science Community in Europe: Lessons Learned and Some Identified Challenges 
[pdf]  Jean Virieux, Full Waveform Inversion: Challenges 


The oral sessions, poster sessions, and computing tutorials will all be held at the Geophysical Institute and connected buildings. See Maps below.



University of Alaska, Fairbanks. Housing for the workshop will take the form of apartments, which each contain two rooms. We will organize rooming lists, and will try to match roommates to the best of our ability.

Accommodation will be covered for workshop participants for the nights of July 14, 15, 16, 17. If you would like to stay in UAF accommodation on days before or after, then you will need to make the arrangements yourself (and pay yourself). To do this, please fill out the Conference Reservation Form and email it to and cc Camille Linn ( Be sure to state that you are participating in the CIG-QUEST-IRIS workshop, so that you are billed only for nights besides July 14, 15, 16, 17. UAF conference servicies will try to provide the same room as the one for the workshop, so that you do not have to move.

Air Travel

Fairbanks, Alaska is serviced by Fairbanks International Airport. Attendees traveling from Europe and supported by QUEST may want to consider the Condor Airlines direct flights between Frankfurt and Fairbanks. Participants who choose to arrive earlier cannot receive reimbursement for non-conference days. International travelers not sponsored by QUEST would be required to fly on US-based airlines, or their international code-sharing partners, as part of the Fly America act, for any reimbursement. In addition, reimbursement is only allowed for coach class travel, not economy plus or other classes.

Airport to Campus transportation 
The UAF campus is about three miles from the airport. The best option is to take a taxi to UAF Office of Residential Life located in Moore-Bartlett-Skarland Hall, 732 Yukon Drive. This office is open 24 hours in the summer for check ins. Please check website spreadsheet to consolidate rides.


Abstract Submission is Closed.

Poster boards are 8 ft wide by 4 ft tall. Participants who wish to pay to have their posters printed at Geophysical Institute can make arrangements directly with Design Services.


Speakers will be fully covered, either through QUEST funds or CIG. There will be some funds available for reimbursement of air and ground transportation for attendees presenting posters. Apartment housing and catering will be paid by sponsors, but not hotels. Forms will be made available to all qualified participants at the workshop to request reimbursement. Please provide a reasonably accurate estimate of your estimated costs (not including hotels) when submitting your registration form, so that we can provide an estimate of reimbursement.


The computing tutorials will be held in a computer lab maintained by Arctic Region Supercomputing Center. Participants are encouraged to bring their laptops, which can also be used to access the tutorials.

Further Information

QUEST (follow up to SPICE) is a European-wide organization focused on computational seismology. More information on the organization can be found here: QUEST. IRIS stands for Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology, and focuses on the collecting and distribution of seismological data to the public. More information on IRIS and its various operations can be found here: IRIS

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact events.

Historical Seismology Workshops: Joint workshops with a variety of partners, such as IRIS, CIDER, QUEST/SPICE, and USARRAY.

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