Cycle 1 (2011 Deadline)
Discovering potential seismic sources in the Caucasus using virtual-reality based data analysis and development of a cyber-enabled geosciences workforce in Georgia
PI: Mikheil Elashvili, Ilia State University
From left to right, Zurab Javakhishvili (Dean of the Ilia State University School of Engineering), Mikheil Elashvili, Mikheil Darjania, Giorgi Sokhadze, and Irakli Gunia (another student from ISU) demonstrate their project at the AGU Fall Meeting, December 2012. Photo courtesy of Dr. Elashvili.
US Partner: Louise Kellogg, University of California Davis
Project Dates: June 2012 - January 2015
In much of the developing world, including Georgia, active faults with the potential to produce devastating earthquakes have yet to be identified, as illustrated by the frequent occurrence of such events on previously unidentified faults. Discovering and characterizing these potential seismic sources is an essential first step towards increasing disaster resilience. In particular, planning for and managing the impact of earthquake disasters requires knowing the location and three-dimensional (3D) geometry of active faults that may rupture to produce an earthquake, as well as the type, magnitude, and frequency of ruptures they are likely to produce. This project aims to increase disaster resilience and thus promote sustainable development in Georgia by discovering potential seismic sources in the Caucasus through the use of new virtual-reality (VR) based methods of data analysis. In particular, these researchers will use the new virtual-globe application Crusta to map active faults and folds based on their distinctive expression in the landscape. Using the application Visualizer they will also determine the subsurface geometry of potential seismic sources by analyzing the 3D distribution of relocated earthquakes. They will subsequently test their VR-based observations by conducting pilot field studies of active faults near the capital city of Tbilisi to determine fault geometries and slip-directions, as well as preliminary slip rates and earthquake histories.
This project will enhance the skills of Georgian researchers and students through mentor-based education and research in collaboration with their US partners. Faculty and students at Ilia State University will learn how to use the VR-based software tools by receiving training at KeckCAVES (the W.M. Keck Center for Active Visualization in the Earth Sciences) at the University of California, Davis. With this training, ISU faculty will incorporate advanced visualization tools in their undergraduate and graduate courses. The project should also facilitate disaster mitigation efforts by improving understanding of potential seismic sources in Georgia, an essential first step towards preparing for such events and reducing their possible impacts.
Summary of Recent Activities
Most activities on this project during early 2013 focused on infrastructure improvements at Dr. Elashvili’s lab. After its initiation in late 2012, installation of the new Augmented Reality Sandbox continued. He expects to further augment the facility with several new Linux workstations that will be delivered in the spring of 2013, with another batch to be purchased in the fall. In late January 2013 Dr. Elashvili hosted a meeting for USAID and U.S. Embassy staff, Georgian government officials, university-based researchers, and the private sector to show off the capabilities of their new lab. In the coming months, he and his colleagues also plan to initiate a series of regular virtual conferences with their colleagues at UC Davis in order to work jointly on Georgian 3D data.