Geophysics

  • Advanced Geophysical Instrumentation

    Our scientists are developing innovative geophysical hardware and methods for subsurface imaging and monitoring with access to the Geosciences Measurement Facility.

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  • Environmental Geophysics

    Scientists develop new approaches for characterizing shallow subsurface properties and for monitoring complex processes associated with natural or induced subsurface perturbations.

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  • Geomechanics

    Geomechanic research efforts include fluid transport properties, rock-formation fracturing, fault slip resulting from fluid injection or withdrawal, as well as related effects due to thermal loading.

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  • Geophysical Computation for Modeling and Imaging

    Our geophysicists are developing efficient, 3D numerical codes for modeling geophysical attributes, mainly seismic and electromagnetic rock properties through seismic wave propagation and electromagnetic wave propagation and diffusion, respectively.

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  • Rock Physics and Coupled Dynamics

    Research in the laboratory increases our scientists experimental knowledge base for geophysical properties of rocks and sediments that are either not well described by conventional rock physics models or have yet to be fully exploited.

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Overview

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Geophysics has been a core science discipline at Berkeley Lab for over 40 years, predating the 1977 formation of the former Earth Sciences Division (ESD). During the world energy crisis of the mid-1970s, keen interest arose in finding alternative sources of energy. A number of UC Berkeley/Berkeley Lab scientists began exploring the possibility of finding geothermal energy sources using advanced geophysical techniques. This interest led to geothermal field explorations in Northern California, Nevada, and Mexico. Such projects soon expanded into geophysical studies of potential nuclear waste storage sites, and were the beginnings of ESD.

Since then, in addition to continuing and expanding its geothermal studies (in response to the abiding interest in locating and developing alternative energy sources), the Geophysics Department has expanded its mission and now conducts work on a wide variety of geotechnical problems for energy and environment. This work includes remediation projects at contaminated DOE sites, CO2 sequestration studies to mitigate the impacts of global warming, development and testing of new geophysical technologies for fossil energy and mining applications, geological and man-made hazard investigations, and basic research in geophysics. In these endeavors, our geophysicists employ subsurface modeling and imaging, and laboratory and field-scale studies for varied applications, including:

  • Mapping contaminant transport near the surface of polluted areas
  • Identifying geothermal fluids, oil and gas deposits, and CO2 plumes
  • Investigating earthquake and volcanic hazards
  • Locating unexploded ordnance (UXO).

Today, the Geophysics Department resides within the Earth and Environmental Sciences Area (EESA) where scientists, postdocs, research associates, and graduate students carry out a wide range of advanced research in fundamental and applied geophysics. The Geophysics Department is currently driven by two primary objectives.

  • One is to advance geophysical approaches for quantifying subsurface properties, including fluid properties, saturation, porosity, pore pressure, permeability, and in situ stress, from laboratory studies and field measurements at the earth surface and in boreholes.
  • The other is the development of technologies for subsurface resource access and monitoring, such as seismically enhanced oil recovery, geomechanics-based subsurface-permeability enhancement, and microearthquake-based reservoir monitoring.

Recent Activities

In 2015, the Geophysics Department hosted a series of forums to bring together its members, other invited guests, and other interested individuals to talk about the various seismic modeling software programs and electromagnetic modeling codes used in the Department and their applications. Attendees gained overall knowledge of Department capabilities and shared best practices and latest developments.

Core Capabilities

 

Advanced Geophysical Instrumentation

The focus of this research area is the development of innovative geophysical hardware and methodologies for subsurface imaging and monitoring, such as high-resolution borehole tomographic tools (radar and seismic), and micro-earthquake monitoring systems.

Environmental Geophysics

Research in environmental geophysics area combines the disciplines of geophysics, hydrogeology, statistics, and biogeochemistry to develop new approaches for characterizing shallow subsurface properties and for monitoring complex processes associated with natural or induced subsurface perturbations.

Geomechanics

Geomechanics is concerned with the elastic and/or poroelastic response of earth materials, typically in a scientific or engineering setting that involves fluids such as water or oil stored in earth reservoir.

Geophysical Computation for Modeling and Imaging

Our subsurface imaging research is now focused on combining multiple types of geophysical data sets to better quantify the subsurface and reduce ambiguity. The degree to which joint images of geophysical attributes can be used successfully to infer rock properties (fracture orientation, fracture density, temperature and fluid saturations) from geophysical attributes is also an active area of research. Complementing this imaging capability is our robust computational capability, the challenge for which is to develop accurate and efficient computer codes capable of modeling the seismic and electromagnetic response in complex geologic media.

Rock Physics and Coupled Dynamics

The relationships between geophysical attributes (such as seismic velocities and attenuation, electrical conductivity, and dielectric constant) and rock properties (such as porosity, permeability, and fluid saturation) are provided by rock-physics measurements and/or theoretical understanding.

Jonathan Ajo-Franklin

Geophysics Department Head

Staff Scientist

Phone: 510-495-2728
jbajo-franklin@lbl.gov

Hussain Jummah Al Salem

Guest Student Assistant

Affiliate

Phone: 510-486-6887
hjalsalem@lbl.gov

Zachary Alexy

Guest Faculty

Affiliate

Phone: 925-583-4680

Alex Athey

Guest Scientist

Affiliate

Phone: 510-495-2728
aathey@lbl.gov

Corinne Elisabeth Bachmann

Senior Scientific Engineering Associate

Phone: 510-486-6743
cebachmann@lbl.gov

Lauren E. Beckingham

Guest Faculty

Affiliate

Phone: 510-486-5128
lecrandell@lbl.gov

Caitlin M. Bernier

Senior Scientific Engineering Associate

Phone: 970-641-3441
cmbernier@lbl.gov

James G. Berryman

Guest Senior Scientist

Affiliate

Phone: 510-486-5349
jgberryman@lbl.gov

Dimitri Bevc

Guest Scientist

Affiliate

Phone: 510-486-6709
dbevc@lbl.gov

Brian P. Bonner

Guest Scientist

Affiliate

Phone: 510-486-4308
bpbonner@lbl.gov

Steve Breen

Guest Graduate Student Research Assistant

Affiliate

Phone: 510-486-5335

Robert J. Budnitz portrait. Cr. Roy Kaltschmidt, Berkeley Lab. Photos.lbl.gov, XBD201408-01063-02.tiff

Robert Jay Budnitz

Guest Physicist Project Scientist/Engineer

Affiliate

Phone: 510-486-7829
rjbudnitz@lbl.gov

Roland Burgmann

Faculty Scientist

Phone: 510-643-9545
rburgmann@lbl.gov

Jinsong Chen

Staff Scientist

Phone: 510-486-6842
Fax: 510-486-5686
jchen@lbl.gov

Sung Choi

Principal Scientific Engineering Associate

Phone: 818-425-8823
sungchoi@lbl.gov

Chunwei Chou

Student Assistant

Phone: 510-486-4793
chunweichou@lbl.gov

Julien F. Cohen-Waeber

Graduate Student Research Assistant

Phone: 310-488-8975
jfwaeber@lbl.gov

Michael Commer

Staff Scientist

Phone: 510-486-6164
Fax: 510-486-5686
mcommer@lbl.gov

Paul Cook

Paul Cook

Principal Scientific Engineering Associate

Phone: 510-486-6110
Fax: 510-486-6819
pjcook@lbl.gov

George A. Cooper

Guest Faculty

Affiliate

Phone: 510-486-5349

Baptiste Dafflon

Research Scientist

Phone: 510-486-4735
bdafflon@lbl.gov

Thomas Daley

Staff Scientist

Phone: 510-486-7316
Fax: 510-486-5686
tmdaley@lbl.gov

Shan Dou

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Affiliate

Phone: 510-495-2728
sdou@lbl.gov

Douglas S. Dreger

Faculty Scientist

Phone: 510-642-1719

Ian Ekblaw

Research Assistant

Phone: 510-495-2728
iekblaw@lbl.gov

Bill Foxall Portrait

William Foxall

Senior Scientist

Phone: 510-486-5082
bfoxall@lbl.gov

Erika Gasperikova

Erika Gasperikova

Research Scientist

Phone: 510-486-4930
Fax: 510-486-5686
egasperikova@lbl.gov

Steven Glaser

Faculty Scientist

Phone: 510-642-1264
sglaser@lbl.gov

Norman E. Goldstein

Guest Senior Scientist

Affiliate

Phone: 510-486-6887
negoldstein@lbl.gov

Roland Gritto

Guest Scientist

Affiliate

Phone: 510-486-7316
rgritto@lbl.gov

Yves Guglielmi portrait

Yves Guglielmi

Staff Scientist

Phone: 510-486-7626
Fax: 510-486-5686
yguglielmi@lbl.gov

Phil Harben

Project Scientist

Affiliate

Phone: 510-486-5082
pharben@lbl.gov

Amanda Henderson

Guest Graduate Student

Affiliate

Phone: 503-734-7119
ahenderson@lbl.gov

Earl Frederic Herkenhoff

Guest Scientist

Affiliate

Phone: 510-486-7316

Gary M. Hoversten

Guest Scientist

Affiliate

Phone: 510-486-6455
gmhoversten@lbl.gov

Lawrence J. Hutchings

Project Scientist

Affiliate

Phone: 510-486-7446
Fax: 510-486-5686
ljhutchings@lbl.gov

Stephen P. Jarpe

Guest Scientist

Affiliate

Phone: 510-486-4018
spjarpe@lbl.gov

Boris Jeremic

Faculty Scientist

Phone: 510-486-7829
bjeremic@lbl.gov

Lane R. Johnson

Guest Faculty

Affiliate

Phone: 510-486-4173
lrjohnson@lbl.gov

Ki H. Lee

Guest Scientist

Affiliate

khlee@lbl.gov

Emmanuel Leger

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Phone: 510-486-4735
eleger@lbl.gov

Nathaniel James Lindsey

Guest Graduate Student Research Associate

Affiliate

Phone: 510-486-5409
njlindsey@lbl.gov

Philip E. Long

Deputy Lead, Sustainable Systems Science Focus Area

Guest Scientist

Affiliate

Phone: 509-531-2987
Fax: 510-486-5686
pelong@lbl.gov

Ernest L. Majer

Guest Scientist

Affiliate

Phone: 510-486-6709
elmajer@lbl.gov

Pierpaolo Marchesini-portrait

Pierpaolo Marchesini

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Phone: 510-495-8232
Fax: 510-486-5686
pmarchesini@lbl.gov

David McCallen

Guest Senior Scientist

Affiliate

Phone: 510-486-7661
dbmccallen@lbl.gov

Mark Meadows

Guest Scientist

Affiliate

Phone: 510-486-7316
mmeadows@lbl.gov

Mamun Miah

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Phone: 510-486-5647
mmiah@lbl.gov

Douglas Miller

Guest Scientist

Affiliate

Phone: 510-486-7316
douglasmiller@lbl.gov

Paul Alexander Milligan

Principal Scientific Engineering Associate

Phone: 510-486-6742
pamilligan@lbl.gov

Alejandro Morales

Mechanical Engineering Technician

Phone: 510-486-5967
armorales@lbl.gov

Huntly F. Morrison

Senior Faculty Scientist

Phone: 510-486-5080
hfmorrison@lbl.gov

Robert Nadeau

Guest Scientist

Affiliate

Phone: 510-643-3980
r_nadeau@lbl.gov

Seiji Nakagawa

Research Scientist

Phone: 510-486-7894
Fax: 510-486-5686
snakagawa@lbl.gov

Gregory A. Newman

Senior Scientist

Phone: 510-486-6887
Fax: 510-486-5686
ganewman@lbl.gov

Edward Nichols

Guest Senior Scientist

Affiliate

Phone: 510-486-7048
enichols@lbl.gov

Kurt Toshimi Nihei

Staff Scientist

Phone: 510-486-7945
ktnihei@lbl.gov

John E. Peterson

Principal Scientific Engineering Associate

Phone: 510-486-4267
Fax: 510-486-5686
jepeterson@lbl.gov

Floriana Petrone

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Phone: 510-486-7961
Fax: 510-486-5686
florianapetrone@lbl.gov

Petr Vitalievich Petrov

Principal Scientific Engineering Associate

Phone: 510-486-6596
pvpetrov@lbl.gov

Steven R. Pride

Staff Scientist

Phone: 510-495-2823
Fax: 510-486-5686
srpride@lbl.gov

James W. Rector

Faculty Scientist

Phone: 510-643-7820
jwrector@lbl.gov

Michelle Robertson

Program Manager

Phone: 510-486-5096
mcrobertson@lbl.gov

Barbara A. Romanowicz

Faculty Scientist

Phone: 510-643-5690

Arturo Romero

Guest Scientist

Affiliate

Phone: 510-495-8225
Fax: 510-486-5686
aeromer@lbl.gov

Seth Saltiel

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Phone: 510-495-2728
ssaltiel@lbl.gov

Jean B. Savy

Guest Senior Scientist

Affiliate

Phone: 510-486-4404
jbsavy@lbl.gov

Nicholas Sitar

Faculty Scientist

Phone: 510-486-5206
nsitar@lbl.gov

Jeremy T. Smith

Senior Scientific Engineering Associate

Phone: 510-486-5761
jtsmith@lbl.gov

Kenichi Soga

Guest Faculty

Affliate

Phone: 510-486-7945

Ray D. Solbau

Guest Scientist

Affiliate

Phone: 510-486-6092
rdsolbau@lbl.gov

Florian A. Soom

Senior Research Associate

Phone: 510-486-4788
flosoom@lbl.gov

Joseph Stefani

Guest Scientist

Affiliate

Phone: 510-486-6709
jstefani@lbl.gov

Bozidar Stojadinovic

Guest Faculty

Affiliate

Phone: 510-643-7035
bstojadinovic@lbl.gov

David Temple

Guest Technical Associate

Affiliate

Phone: 510-495-2728
dtemple@lbl.gov

Leon Thomsen

Guest Scientist

Affiliate

Phone: 510-486-5349
lthomsen@lbl.gov

Anh Phuong Tran

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Phone: 510-486-5971
Fax: 510-486-5686
aptran@lbl.gov

Craig Ulrich

Senior Scientific Engineering Associate

Phone: 510-495-8891
Fax: 510-486-5686
culrich@lbl.gov

Evan S. Um

Project Scientist

Phone: 510-495-2172
Fax: 510-486-5686
esum@lbl.gov

Donald W. Vasco

Hydrogeophysicist

Senior Scientist

Phone: 510-486-5206
Fax: 510-486-5686
dwvasco@lbl.gov

Roelof Versteeg

Guest Scientist

Affiliate

Phone: 510-495-8890
rversteeg@lbl.gov

Marco Voltolini

Marco Voltolini

Senior Scientific Engineer Associate

Phone: 510-486-4093
mvoltolini@lbl.gov

Andrew Whittaker

Guest Faculty

Affiliate

Phone: 510-486-7829

Michael Wilt

Staff Scientist

Phone: 510-486-5430
mwilt@lbl.gov

David Winslow

Principal Scientific Engineering Associate

Phone: 805-657-2928
dcwinslow@lbl.gov

Nicholas Winter

Guest Scientist

Affiliate

Phone: 510-486-4308
nwinter@lbl.gov

Jenna Wong

Jenna Wong

Visiting Faculty

Phone: 510-486-4926
Fax: 510-486-5686
jbwong@lbl.gov

Todd J. Wood

Principal Scientific Engineering Associate

Phone: 510-486-4104
tjwood@lbl.gov

Yuxin Wu

Research Scientist

Phone: 510-486-4793
Fax: 510-486-5686
ywu3@lbl.gov