Kate's homepage

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Please visit the new website




About Me


Ph.D dissertation

Recent talks

Enjoy of teaching?

Introduction to Geophysics (required)

Theoretical Geophysics

Observational Seismology

Earthquake of the week

Introduction to Earth Sciences

Earth Interior

Writer’s EGO

How to read a scientific paper?

Writing is easy – are you kidding me?!

Having some fun!


Forever Friends

Dining Club in Berkeley

Extracurricular activities

Wedding  engagement


My favorite thingy

Girl of all work

My Brother’s blog

Queen & Daddy






Back to the old days

Study Group in NCKU

Reading Group in NCKU




































last update: March., 2013





Kate Huihsuan Chen 陳卉瑄

Associate Professor 副教授, 台灣師範大學 地球科學系

Department of Earth Sciences, National Taiwan Normal University

Department of Earth Sciences, National Taiwan Normal University
No.88, Sec. 4, Tingzhou Rd., Wenshan District, Taipei 11677, Taiwan R.O.C.

Office: B203R

Phone: 02-77346400

Contact: katepili at gmail.com

TAIWAN, TAIWAN! (my beloved country)
A glance at Taiwan

My name is Kate H. Chen (Kate Huihsuan Chen), now an associate professor in Department of Earth Sciences, National Taiwan Normal University.
My research is primarily focused on earthquake seismology, mainly the physics of seismological phenomena associated with different styles and mechanisms of slip in natural fault systems.
陳卉瑄在地球物理領域的專長為觀測地震學及斷層活動監測。近年來的研究主軸在偵測分析各種特殊的地震活動,以探索斷層帶構造和地震行為之間的關係。研究方向依不同時間尺度的斷層滑動模式區分為: 數秒的動態地震滑動、數分鐘或數天的長微動、及數年以上的震後滑移或無震滑移。而依對應的不同地震行為分為: 主餘震序列(mainshock aftershock sequences)及隱沒帶導波(slab guided wave)長微震(non-volcanic tremor) 及低頻群震(low-frequency earthquake swarm)、及重複地震(repeating earthquakes)。自2012年開始亦開始與科學教育結合,利用人手一台感震器”(QCN)、期將地震科學帶入校園  (2012 AGU poster)2013年開始,我們開始推動台灣地震學園,希望將地震科學配合防災知識介紹給中小學教師。教師無須具備專業背景,利用線上學習平台,介紹平易近人的地震海嘯故事和地震遊戲,目的在提供和中小學教師的教學材料、培養學生的科學素養和防災意識 (廣海報)


Towards real-time monitoring system of repeating earthquakes and tremors in Taiwan

I am seeking a postdoc and PhD student interested in developing real-time monitoring system of repeating earthquakes and tremors in Taiwan, based on the  catalogs developed by my lab over the past several years.  Interested applicants should please send their current CVs to me.


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National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan, Oct 01 - Jan 08, PhD



Professional Experience

2006~2007 Visiting Doctoral student at University of California, Berkeley

2008.2~2008.6 Postdoc fellow at Department of Geosciences, National Taiwan Univ.

2008.6~2008.9 Postdoc fellow at Berkeley Seismo. Lab, UC Berkeley

2008.9~2012.1 Assistant Professor at Department of Earth Sciences, National Taiwan Normal Univ.

2010.12~2011.2 Project Associate Professor at Earthquake Research Institute, Univ. of Tokyo

2012.2~present Associate Professor at Department of Earth Sciences, National Taiwan Normal Univ.



Outstanding student paper award, American Geophysical Union 2005 Fall meeting (Seismology section)

Wu Ta-You memorial award for year 2013吳大猷獎 (link)


Professional Service

Associate Editor of Reviews of Geophysics

Reviewer of manuscripts submitted to Bull. Seismol. Soc. Am.

Reviewer of manuscripts submitted to J. Geophys. Res.

Reviewer of manuscripts submitted to  Geophys. Res. Lett.

Reviewer of manuscripts submitted to Terrestrial, Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences

Reviewer of manuscripts submitted to Earth, Planets and Space

Reviewer of manuscripts submitted to Journal of Asian Earth Sciences




Chen, K. H., Nadeau, R. M., and Rau, R. J. (2007). Towards a universal rule on the recurrence interval scaling of repeating earthquakes?, Geophys. Res. Lett., 34, L16308, doi:10.1029/2007GL030554. (pdf)

[*chosen as AGU  journal editors’ highlight (news)]


J.-C. Hu,, Hou, C.-S., Shen, L.-C., Chan, Y.-C., Chen, R.-F., Huang, C., Rau, R.-J., Chen, K. H., Lin, C.-W., Huang, M.-H., Nien, P.-F., (2007). Fault activity and lateral extrusion inferred from velocity field revealed by GPS measurements in the Pingtung area of southwestern Taiwan. J. Asian Earth Sci., 35, 287-302, doi:10.1016/j.jseaes.2006.07.020.


R. J. Rau, Chen, K. H., and Ching, K. E. (2007). Repeating earthquakes and seismic potential along the northern Longitudinal Valley fault of eastern Taiwan, Geophys. Res. Lett., 34, L24301, doi:10.1029/2007GL031622. (pdf)


Chen, K. H., S. Toda and Rau, R. J., (2008). A leaping, triggered sequence along a segmented fault: the 1951 HualienTaitung earthquake sequence in eastern Taiwan, J. Geophys. Res., 113, B02304, doi:10.1029/2007JB005048. (pdf)


Chen, K. H., Nadeau, R. M., and Rau, R. J. (2008). Characteristic repeating microearthquakes on an arc-continent collision boundary - the Chihshang fault of eastern Taiwan, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 276, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2008.09.021. (pdf)


Chen, K. H., Rau, R. J., and Hu, J. C. (2009). Variability of the repeating earthquakes behavior along the Longitudinal Valley fault zone of eastern Taiwan, J. Geophys. Res., 114, B05306, doi:10.1029/2007JB005518. (pdf)


Chen, K. H., Bürgmann, R., and Nadeau, R. M. (2010), Triggering effect of M 4-5 earthquakes on the earthquake cycle of repeating events at Parkfield, Bull. Seismol. Soc. Am.,100, 2, doi:10.1785/0120080369 (pdf)

[*highlight in BSSA tip sheet  (news)]


Chen, K. H., Bürgmann, R., Nadeau, R. M., T. Chen, N. Lapusta (2010), Postseismic variations in seismic moment and recurrence interval of repeating earthquakes, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 299, 118-125,
10.1016/j.epsl.2010.08.027. pdf


Chen, K. H., Furumura, T., Rubinstein, J., and Rau, R. J. (2011), Observations of changes in waveform character induced by the 1999 Mw7.6 Chi-Chi earthquake, Geophys. Res. Lett., 38, L23302,

doi:10.1029/2011GL049841. pdf


J. Rubinstein, Ellsworth, W., Chen, K. H., Uchida, N. (2012), Fixed recurrence and slip models better predict earthquake behavior than the time- and slip-predictable model 1: Repeating earthquakes, J. Geophys. Res., 117, B02306, doi:10.1029/2011JB008724.


Chen, K. H., Burgmann, R., Nadeau, R. M. (2013), Do earthquakes talk to each other? Triggering and interaction of repeating sequences at Parkfield, J. Geophys. Res., 118 (1), 165-182, doi:10.1029/2012JB009486. pdf


Chen, K. H., Kennett, B., Furumura, T. (2013), High frequency waves guided by subducted plates underneath Taiwan and their association with seismic intensity anomalies, J. Geophys. Res., 118 (2), 665-680, doi:10.1029/2012JB009691. pdf


Lin, D. H., Chen, K. H., Rau, R. J., Hu, J. C. (2013), The role of a hidden fault in stress triggering: Stress interactions within the 1935 Mw7.1 Hsinchu-Taichung earthquake sequence in central Taiwan, Tectonophysics, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tecto.2013.04.022.


Chuang, L. Y.,  Chen, K. H., Wech, A., Byrne, T., Peng, W. (2013), Ambient tremors in a collisional orogenic belt, submitted to Geophys. Res. Lett.




Ruey-Juin Rau (Department of Earth Sciences, National Cheng-Kung University, Taiwan)

Jyr-Ching Hu (Department of Geosciences, National Taiwan University, Taiwan)

Shinji Toda (Disaster Prevention Research Institute, Kyoto University) 

Robert Nadeau (Berkeley Seismological Lab., UC Berkeley, U.S.)   

Roland Burgmann (Department of Earth and Planetary Science, UC Berkeley, U.S.)

Nadia Lapusta & Ting Chen (Seismological Lab., Caltech, U.S.)

Justin Rubinstein (USGS)

Takashi Furumura (Earthquake Research Institute, University of Tokyo, Japan)

Brian Kennett (Research School of Earth Sciences, Australian National University, Australia)

Brian Kennett’s lecture in NTNU  (materials)

1.     Seismic waves (video)

2.     Proving the interior of the Earth (video)

3.     Elements of seismic tomography (video)

4.     The global seismic wavefield (video)

5.     Global seismic tomography (video)

Wen-Tzong Liang (IES, Acadamia Sinica, Taiwan)


My Recent Projects

Monitoring deep slip rate using repeating earthquake sequence in Taiwan (2008-2009 papers)

Triggering and interaction of small repeating earthquakes at Parkfield (2012 JGR paper)

Change in crustal properties using M4 repeating earthquakes in Taiwan (2012 GRL poster)

High frequency waves guided by subducted plates in Taiwan and their association with ground motion anomalies (2013 JGR paper)

QCN outreach in Taiwan (news)



Ongoing Projects in my lab

Automatic detection of repeating earthquakes in Taiwan

Taiwan repeating earthquake catalog website by Eugene Cheng

Automatic detection of ambient tremors in Taiwan

Taiwan ambient tremor catalog website by Lindsay Chung

Characterizing non-volcanic hybrid earthquakes in Taiwan

Fault healing process on the rupture zone of the M7.6 Chi-Chi earthquake: Observations from repeating earthquakes

Spatio-temporal association between earthquake swarms and non-volcanic tremors underneath Central Range, Taiwan

Characterization of subduction zone guided waves


Triggering and interaction of repeating earthquakes at Parkfield

[with Roland Burgmann and Bob Nadeau]

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The study of what governs the timing of repeating earthquakes is a key to understanding the nature of the earthquake cycle and to determining earthquake hazard, yet the control of the recurrences is not well established. The large population of characteristically repeating earthquakes at Parkfield provides a unique opportunity to study the controls of repeating events’ aperiodicity, and how the interaction with nearby earthquakes affect their recurrence properties. We analyze 242 M -0.4 ~ 3.0 repeating earthquake sequences to examine the variation of recurrence properties in space and time. We find that the quasi-periodic repeating sequences (i.e., coefficient of variation in recurrence interval less than 0.3) tend to lie in zones of low seismicity.  These quasi-periodic sequences have a smaller number of larger events in their immediate vicinity, suggesting that more regular repeating events are more isolated in space and from perturbing stress changes. The response of the repeating events and other M>3 events to the occurrence of large earthquakes provides the clearest documentation of the interaction process. Accelerations of repeating sequences are associated with the 2004 Parkfield earthquake and reflect accelerated aseismic afterslip surrounding the rupture. The recurrences of repeating sequences are found to correlate with each other when they are close enough in space. Spatially clustered repeating sequences show evidence of strong interaction in time, reflected in temporally clustered event recurrences and similar recurrence history. The temporal correspondence appears to be a function of separation distance from nearby repeaters, where the dependence is evident for the repeaters with similar magnitude. Building on the above observations, we will be able to develop mechanical models that test the extent to which fault interaction in the form of static stress changes and transient postseismic fault creep produces the observed aperiodicity in the occurrence of these events, and furthermore, attempt to improve predictions of the times of future event repeats.

Using the repeating earthquakes in Parkfield we established

(1) The degree of interaction between nearby micro-earthquakes [in preparation for J .Geophys. Res.]

(2) Triggering of such events by local M > 4 earthquakes [BSSA, 2010]

(3) The accelerated recurrence and systematic moment changes of repeating earthquakes in the aftermath of the 2004 Parkfield earthquake [EPSL, 2010]


Characteristics of repeating earthquake sequences in eastern Taiwan

[with Robert Nadeau and Ruey-Juin Rau]

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My PhD dissertation topic is Characteristics of repeating earthquake sequences in eastern Taiwan (supervisor: Ruey-Juin Rau). Creeping crustal faults often generate a number of microearthquakes, and less commonly, they may also produce large earthquakes that rupture the brittle crust. The Longitudinal Valley Fault in eastern Taiwan characterized by such behavior has been known to undergo 1-3 cm/yr surface creep, probably one of the most active creeping thrust faults known in the world. It gives an excellent opportunity for studying how a creeping fault can generate large earthquakes. However, due to limited geodetic coverage in this area, a well resolved picture of fault slip rates at depth has been lacking. Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) data provides better spatial sampling of the deformation field, but the nature of landcover and atmospheric condition of this area complicate the task of obtaining more detailed deformation information.

Study on repeating earthquakes (i.e., a group of events with nearly identical waveforms, locations, and magnitudes and thus represents a repeated rupture of the same patch of fault) has been proposed to infer fault slip rate at depth. However, it also has its limitation because of the poor station coverage. In this study, we propose a relatively objective method to identify repeating events in this particular region. Furthermore, using these results we aim to answer the following questions:

1) What are the spatial and temporal distributions of repeating earthquakes and what are their relationships to

the distribution of seismicity and large earthquakes on the fault? 

2)  What is the distribution of deep creep rates that can be inferred from repeating quakes if they exist?

3) How does deep fault creep inferred from repeating earthquakes compare with deep creep determined geodetically? 

4)  How can the repeating earthquake distribution, inferred rates, overall seismicity patterns, and large earthquakes

 distributions be used to improve our understanding of the earthquake potential in this unique tectonic environment?

The completeness of this project relies on the collaboration with R. M. Nadeau in U C Berkeley.


Seismogenesis of Taiwan arc-continent collision boundary

(with Shinji Toda and Jyr-Ching Hu)

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The island of Taiwan, situated at the plate boundary zone between the Eurasian plate (EP) and the Philippine Sea plate (PSP), is one of the best examples of young and rapidly-growing orogeny due to arc-continent collision. About  25~30% of the total plate convergence rate of 82 mm/yr have been concentrated on the narrow arc-continent collision boundary, Longitudinal Valley (LV) in eastern Taiwan, which indicates that this boundary may pose a significant seismic threat.  Since it has been undergoing active tectonic collision, the Longitudinal Valley fault (LVF) is characterized by active fault segments, high seismic activity, and rapid surface creep. To understand the seismogenic processes along the LV, I have been interested in answering:

1) When and where the significant earthquakes may occur in such a high-angle reverse fault system?

2) How earthquakes along this boundary interact, propagate, and inhibit each other?

3) How the earthquake interactions affect the stressing state and earthquake probability in eastern Taiwan?

I worked with Shinji Toda to study a most destructive earthquake series of eastern Taiwan that is consisted of 12 M>6 earthquakes and sequential ruptures along four distinct fault segments along the LVF, where we explained the leaping, triggered sequence by the rate/state stress transfer model. I have been also working with Jyr-Ching Hu to study the segmentation of active fault and its implication to the evaluation of future earthquakes along the LVF.


Healing of subsurface damage after the 1999 M7.6 Chi-Chi earthquake

(with Takashi Furumura, Justin Rubinstein, and Ruey-Juin Rau)

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We observe changes in the waveforms of repeating earthquakes in eastern Taiwan following the 1999 Mw7.6 Chi-Chi earthquake, while their recurrence intervals appear to be unaffected. There is a clear reduction in waveform similarity and velocity changes indicated by delayed phases at the time of the Chi-Chi event. These changes are limited to stations in and paths that cross the 70×100 km region surrounding the Chi-Chi source area, the area where seismic intensity and co-seismic surface displacements were largest. This suggests that damage at the near-surface is responsible for the observed waveform changes. Delays are largest in the late S-wave coda, reaching approximately 120 ms. This corresponds to a path averaged S wave velocity reduction of approximately 1%. There is also evidence that damage in the fault-zone caused changes in waveform character at sites in the footwall, where source-receiver paths propagate either along or across the rupture. The reduction in waveform similarity persists through the most recent repeating event in our study (November 15, 2007), indicating that the subsurface damage induced by the Chi-Chi earthquake did not fully heal within the first 8 years following the Chi-Chi earthquake.


High frequency waves guided by the subducted plates underneath Taiwan

 (with Brian Kennett and Takashi Furumura)

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Energy from seismic events traveling up a subduction zone is frequently associated with significant large-amplitude, high-frequency signals with sustained long coda. Such seismic waves guided by the subducted plate with high wave velocity and high Q can cause surprisingly large seismic intensity in the forearc area. In this study we characterize the guiding behavior of the subducted Philippine Sea plate (PSP) underneath Taiwan, and investigate their relationship with anomalous peak ground acceleration (PGA) patterns. Oblique subduction of Philippine Sea plate beneath northeast Taiwan complicates the guiding phenomena. Seismic waves from events deeper than 60 km offshore northern Taiwan reveal wave guide behavior: large, sustained high-frequency (3-10 Hz) signal in P and S wave trains. With increasing depth, a low-frequency (< 1 Hz) first arrival becomes more significant especially for events deeper than 100 km. The time separation between the low-frequency onset and the later high-frequency arrival slightly increases with depth, while the value varies with station due to different travel distances in the shallow crust. The depth dependent high-frequency content confirms the association with a waveguide effect in the subducting slab rather than localized site amplification effects. We attempt here to obtain a practicable quantification scheme to determine the duration of higher frequency energy, which can be regarded as an indicator of the guiding effect of the Philippine Sea Plate.


Grid-enabled earthquake science in high school

 (with Wen-Tzong Liang, Chun-Yen Chang, and Eric Yen) (2012 AGU poster)

High Scope Program (HSP) is a long-term project funded by NSC in Taiwan since 2006. It is designed to elevate the quality of science education by means of incorporating emerging science and technology into the traditional curricula in senior high schools. Quake-Catcher Network (QCN), a distributed computing project initiated by Stanford University and UC Riverside, encourages the volunteers to install the low-cost, novel sensors at home and school to build a seismic network. To meet both needs, we have developed a model curriculum that introduces QCN, earthquake science, and cloud computing into high school classrooms.

Through professional development workshops, Taiwan cloud-based earthquake science learning platform, and QCN club on Facebook, we have worked closely with Lan-Yang Girl's Senior High School teachers' team to design workable teaching plans through a practical operation of seismic monitoring at home or school.  However, some obstacles to learning appear including QCN installation/maintain problems, high self-noise of the sensor, difficulty of introducing earthquake sciences for high school teachers. The challenges of QCN outreach in Taiwan bring out our future plans: (1) development of easy, frequently updated, physics-based QCN-experiments for high school teachers, (2) design of an interactive learning platform with social networking function for students.





一、      孕震區上方地震滑動與無震滑動之關係

1.     研究地震重複特性與大地震之間的相依性,應用於斷層帶之變形監測。(震後滑移 vs. 無震滑)

主要與美國加州大學柏克萊分校地球與行星科學系的Roland Burgmann教授和地震研究中心(Berkeley Seismological Lab)研究員 Robert Nadeau合作,以大量微地震資料分析地震間的觸發行為及其觸發機制。地震能不能以同等規模在同一地點破裂、以甚麼週期特性展現,受其本身震源特性(破裂範圍內無震滑移所的比例)與局部斷層滑移特性(滑移速率、地震空間分布)影響甚。利用美國加州高精度井下地震站收集之重複微地震資料,本人近幾年已發表成果如下:


利用速率-狀態摩擦定律整合入地震模型,能描述地震聚焦、動態破裂傳播、級瞬間地震滑動和變。與美國加州理工機械工程與地球物理系Nadia Lapusta (及其博士班學生Ting Chen)合作,配合加州微地震觀測,我們發現不同於以往研究室摩擦行為實驗之結果:『等待時間越久、下次破裂發生之規模越大』。我們的重複地震觀測顯示完全相反之趨勢,亦即,受到鄰近大地震的應力變化擾動後,小地震重複週期瞬間加速(週期變短至數天、數月不等,隨離擾動時間越遠,週期逐漸拉長),此時重複地震規模反而變大。此趨勢被發現與地震本身的大小與其斷層面上凹凸(asperity)無震滑移比例有關。


2.     結合有限元震波模擬,研究波傳特性在時間空間上的變異,理解斷層復原特性。 (地震滑移)

重複地震的波形高度相似,因為他們發生在同一地點、傳播路徑高度相仿。大地震後,地殼介質特性變,可在某些傳播方向的測站被記錄到,形成重複地震波形內的微小變異,這種觀測波形可提供地殼特性時空變化的約制。 以有限差分波傳模擬,配合特殊地震之觀測波形,本人與日本東京大學地震研究所教授Takashi Furumura合作研究震波傳播路徑上的時間、空間變異性,以理解大地震後地殼特性隨時間的復原程度。


3.     利用隱沒帶導波探討台灣下方隱沒帶特性及其與強地動異常之關係。(地震滑移)

經過隱沒板塊的震波具有複雜的波傳特性。當震波在隱沒帶內傳播夠長的距離時,常會產生具有低頻前兆的高頻導波:低頻的P波初達,尾隨以高振幅、持續時間長的高頻訊號。在日本,此種隱沒帶導波造成了弧前盆地的異常高震度,即使震央在100公里之外、深度大於300 km。這種導波guided wave)被視作是評估地動特性及理解隱沒板塊細部構造的一個重要觀測。台灣位處兩個隱沒板塊交互作用之碰撞縫合帶,東北方有隱沒的菲律賓海板塊,南方外海有隱沒的歐亞大陸板塊。本人和澳洲國立大學地球科學院Brian Kennett教授,以及日本東京大學地震研究所教授Takashi Furumura針對此研究主題自2009年開始合作,我們發現典型的高頻隱沒帶導波頻繁地出現在台灣北部,影響台灣的強地動特性。


二、      孕震區下方地震滑動與無震滑動之關係

探討上下部地殼尺度的地震觸發行為,並發展長微震事件自動偵測系統,以利地殼深部變形監測 (長微動)

在孕震區更深部的下部地殼,長微震事件(non-volcanic tremor)的發現近年來引起大量關注,這些事件釋放的地震能量可對等於規模六的地震事件,因此被視作是地震潛能計算中不可忽略的重點研究。長微震被發現可以受遠距地震表面波的觸發,觸發距離可以長達處百公里,而大地震也在鄰近區域,影響了長微震的頻繁度,說明下部地殼的觸發特徵具有爭議性。 在上部地殼尺度,一般地震的觸發型態為密集的餘震; 特殊的重複地震其觸發型態為縮短的重複週期、規模的微量變動、亦伴隨密集的震後事件; 而在下部地殼尺度,長微震的觸發型態為頻繁的活動、以及與遠距表面波的到時同步。本人與學生量化分析上、下部地殼尺度的觸發行為,並建立自動化偵測系統、大量蒐集台灣的重複地震與長低頻震動事件,以清控制長微震活動性之發生特徵和機制。


三、      校園地震科學平台 小電腦做大科學

要怎麼樣讓高中、國中甚至國小學生了解地震、動手玩地震?  進而將地震科學大眾化平民化?
我們需要的是 (1) 吸引學生興趣的教學工具 -   (2) 不需要教師們具有地震學基礎的學習平台。






地震園 (知識端)

台灣地震科學雲端學習平台 (技術端)