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Visual Insights into High-Resolution Earthquake Simulations
September/October 2007 (vol. 27 no. 5)
pp. 28-34
Amit Chourasia, San Diego Supercomputer Center
Steve Cutchin, San Diego Supercomputer Center
Yifeng Cui, San Diego Supercomputer Center
Reagan W. Moore, San Diego Supercomputer Center
Kim Olsen, San Diego State University
Steven M. Day, San Diego State University
J. Bernard Minster, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Philip Maechling, Southern California Earthquake Center
Thomas H. Jordan, Southern California Earthquake Center
This study focuses on the visualization of a series of large earthquake simulations, collectively called TeraShake. The simulation series aims to assess the impact of Southern San Andreas Fault earthquake scenarios on Southern California. The authors discuss the role of visualization in gaining scientific insight and aiding unexpected discovery. Examples include significant differences in the ground motion pattern for different rupture directions; wave-guide effects leading to strong, localized amplification; variation in rupture speed for a spontaneous rupture model; and a star-burst pattern, indicating an unusual radiation of energy. The authors also cite instances of how visualization helped in finding numerical instabilities, leading to the use alternate absorbing boundary conditions for the wave propagation code. Without the sophisticated level of visualization carried out for the TeraShake, important scientific results would have remained undiscovered or less clearly understood. Moreover, some of the visualizations provide invaluable instructional material on earthquake phenomena to the public.

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Index Terms:
earthquake visualization, earthquake simulation, TeraShake, topography deformation, self-contouring, visualization insight
Citation:
Amit Chourasia, Steve Cutchin, Yifeng Cui, Reagan W. Moore, Kim Olsen, Steven M. Day, J. Bernard Minster, Philip Maechling, Thomas H. Jordan, "Visual Insights into High-Resolution Earthquake Simulations," IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, vol. 27, no. 5, pp. 28-34, Sept.-Oct. 2007, doi:10.1109/MCG.2007.138
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