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Data Science 2019 Summer Colloquium Series: Tolulope Olugboji

Probabilistic Earth Imaging with Ground Vibrations: Explaining the Softness in Earth’s Stiffest Rocks

This talk is a featured presentation of the National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates (NSF REU) on Computational Methods for Understanding Music, Media, and Minds. This event is free and open to all faculty, staff, students and community members.

Lunch is sponsored by the Goergen Institute for Data Science. Please register to ensure we order adaquate food for everyone.

Abstract: The lithosphere is the stiff outer shell of our planet, underlain by a soft and weak layer, the asthenosphere, which flows more readily. These are concepts that are fundamental to plate tectonics. However, the cause of this rheological transition from stiff to soft behavior is still vigorously debated. In our group, we construct high-resolution images of global lithospheric structure and internal layering, crucial constraints that enable resolution of the stiff/soft debate and other questions in global geophysics. In this talk, I introduce recent advances in observational and computational seismology and how they enable us to build better images of the global lithosphere. The first is the explosion of arrays of sensors that measure the Earth’s ground vibration spectrum. Second, I describe how we use computational methods to facilitate rapid extraction of Earth’s elastic response from waves buried within continuous ground vibration - i.e., both ambient noise, as well as teleseismic earthquake waves. Finally,  I introduce how probabilistic inverse theory is applied to the rapid extraction of Earth’s elastic response, data assimilation, and for constructing auto-adaptive maps of lithospheric structure. With better maps, we can provide better constraints to distinguish different explanatory models on why our planet’s rocks undergo this stiff to soft transition. These models include partial melt, anisotropy, and chemical stratification; each with different implications for the geological evolution of continents and oceans. 

Bio: Tolulope Olugboji joined the Earth and Environmental Sciences faculty at the University of Rochester as an assistant professor in the Fall of 2018. He completed his postdoctoral research at the University of Maryland (2015-2018). Prior to this, he obtained his Ph.D. from Yale University and his B.S. from the Obafemi Awolowo University, in Nigeria (2008). He uses recordings of ground vibrations from seismic sensors across the globe, combined with high-performance computing, to build high-resolution images of Earth’s interior.  

Wednesday, June 26, 2019 at 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Wegmans Hall, Auditorium 1400
250 Hutchison Rd, Rochester, NY 14620

Event Type

Lectures and Talks


General Public, Faculty, Students, Alumni, Staff


data science, research




Goergen Institute for Data Science
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DEBORAH PULLEY left a positive review Tuesday, June 25, 2019

He was a fantastic presenter. I imagine his students love him. It was all over my head, but I enjoyed it despite my lack of understanding.

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