Richard Allen

Richard Allen

Professor of Earth and Planetary Science
Dept of Earth and Planetary Science
(510) 642-1275
(510) 643 5811
Research Expertise and Interest
seismology earthquakes earthquake hazard mitigation earth structure tomography natural hazards
Research Description

Earthquake Rupture Processes and Hazard Mitigation: Kinematics and dynamics of fault rupture. Earthquake initiation processes. Rapid magnitude determination from P-wave arrivals. Earthquake early warning systems.

Natural Hazards: Effects and Mitigation

3D Structure and Processes of the Earth's Interior : Tomographic imaging of the Earth's interior to constrain 3D structure using integrated seismic techniques. Mapping of anisotropic structure to determine strain fields and flow in the Earth's mantle. Particularly interested in mantle upwelling processes, coupling with crustal deformation and surface volcanism.

In the News

November 2, 2015

Scientists map source of Northwest’s next big quake

A large team of scientists has nearly completed the first map of the mantle under the tectonic plate that is colliding with the Pacific Northwest and putting Seattle, Portland and Vancouver at risk of the largest earthquakes and tsunamis in the world.

January 28, 2013

Earthquake alert system may be coming

The San Francisco Chronicle recently reported on the work of Richard M. Allen, Director of the UC Berkeley Seismological Laboratory, for helping to develop an early warning system that flashes imminent danger when a damaging earthquake is about to strike.

Featured in the Media

Please note: The views and opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily reflect the official policies or positions of the campus.
July 31, 2019
Maya Wei-Haas
A missing piece of the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate under central Oregon suggests that the plate is breaking apart some 93 or more miles under the Earth's surface, according to a new study co-authored by doctoral earth and planetary science student William Hawley and earth and planetary science professor Richard Allen, director of the Berkeley Seismological Laboratory. The oceanic plate plunges under the North American plate in the Cascadia subduction zone, and it could unleash one of the largest possible earthquakes in the U.S. someday. The researchers drew their conclusions after mapping the different speeds of seismic waves created by 217 earthquakes, and looked at how the waves changed according to the temperature and composition of the rock. What they perceived was that the colder, denser Juan de Fuca plate is sinking into the mantle and part of it is, in fact, missing. "What we are looking at right now is the death of an oceanic plate," Hawley says. Another story on this topic appeared in Science Alert.