Completed project: QuakeSim: Multi-source, synergistic, data-intensive computing for Earth science

Primary UITS contact: Marlon Pierce

Completed: September 1, 2015

Description: QuakeSim is a multi-source, synergistic, data-intensive computing system that supports modeling earthquake faults individually and as complex interacting systems. This involves information technology research and development for data management and data-centric cloud computing. Growing numbers of online data sources from NASA, USGS, NSF, and other resources provide researchers with an exceptional opportunity to integrate varied data sources to support comprehensive efforts in data mining, analysis, simulation, and forecasting. The primary focus of the QuakeSim project is to extend this infrastructure to support fault modeling with a focus toward earthquake forecasting and response, although the developed technology will support a wide array of science and engineering applications.

Better understanding of crustal deformation and fault behavior will lead to improved forecasting, emergency planning, and disaster response. Accurate fault models are supported through complementary information, such as geologic observations, crustal deformation from InSAR and GPS, and seismicity. Fault models are subject to both known and unknown uncertainties that propagate through any analysis and downstream applications. Providing better constraints on the models by integrating multiple data collections, delivering models through flexible, web-based catalog services, and validating them with numerous downstream applications will improve our understanding of earthquake processes. Analysis of crustal deformation data often indicates the existence of otherwise unknown faults. This project provides the computing infrastructure to identify, characterize, model, and consider the consequences of unknown faults. Handling large volumes of InSAR data and integrating the data with model applications is necessary for optimizing the utility of NASA's DESDynI-R mission, which will produce tremendous volumes of InSAR data products.


  • Bridging services within the QuakeSim service-oriented architecture that will integrate data from multiple sources, including interferogram, GPS position and velocity measurements, and seismicity
  • A fundamental cloud computing framework to support fault model optimization through the integration of multiple data types
  • The cyberinfrastructure within the QuakeSim science gateway to handle the computing requirements of the optimization framework
  • Improvement of the QuakeTables fault database to handle issues with contribution, provenance, version tracking, commenting, and rating of fault models produced by the optimization framework
  • Use of the improved fault models in downstream earthquake hazard assessment and forecasts, such as by the SCEC simulations group

Milestones and status: This four-year project has a period of performance of February 2012 through January 2016. Entry level TRL for the project is 2 with an exit TRL of 5. The entry level TRL for the infusion part of the project is 2 and the planned exit TRL is 7.

Comment process: For issues, feature requests, improvement requests, clarifications, and questions on documentation, create a JIRA issue for the QuakeSim team. Alternatively, contact the IU Science Gateways group.

Benefits: All developed capabilities will be made available through QuakeSim's science gateway infrastructure. The project concludes with a deployment of selected project components at appropriate production facilities, including the Alaska Satellite Facility and UNAVCO.

Infusion will be through several collaborations and will support disasters. Collaboration with the NASA-funded E-DECIDER project will deliver tools to emergency-response communities. We will infuse the crustal deformation modeling tools into analysis of flow of fluids in reservoirs for the civil engineering community. We will work closely with the US Geological Survey to develop deformation and aftershock assessment tools that are coupled to the QuakeCatcher early-warning network. QuakeSim simulations will feed into the Southern California Earthquake Center Simulations group, which in turn will be used for new versions of the Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast (versions 3 and 4).

QuakeSim deformation tools were used to calculate permanent ground motions from the August 23, 2011, magnitude 5.8 earthquake in Mineral, VA, which was widely felt up and down the east coast of the United States.

Related information:

Client impact: The goal is to simplify data discovery, access, and usage from the scientific user point of view. QuakeSim also provides capabilities for efficient data mining, and pattern recognizers for analyzing data and simulations. For more on the architecture, data, and capabilities of QuakeSim, see About QuakeSim.

Project team: See QuakeSim Team.

Governance: The project is governed by open source software governance; see Apache Corporate Governance.

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Last modified on 2016-11-13 11:25:50.

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