Victor C. Tsai

Victor Tsai
Professor of Geophysics
Dept. of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences

   email: victor_tsai [at] brown . edu
address:   Brown University
                DEEPS, Box 1846
                   Providence, RI 02912
phone: office: 401-863-1190

Professional Appointments

2023-present: Professor of Geophysics, Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences, Brown University
2019-2023: Associate Professor of Geophysics, Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences, Brown University
2017-2019: Professor of Geophysics, Seismological Laboratory, California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
2011-2017: Assistant Professor of Geophysics, Seismological Laboratory, California Institute of Technology
2009-2011: Mendenhall Postdoctoral Fellow, Geologic Hazards Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey
2009: Postdoctoral Researcher, Dept. of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University


Ph.D., Earth and Planetary Sciences (Geophysics), Harvard University, 2009
M.A., Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University, 2006
B.S., Geophysics with Honors, California Institute of Technology, 2004

Recent Media

Highlight by VCT: Earthquakes Have Preparatory Stage Years Before Rupture
U.S. Geological Survey Seminar by VCT: Understanding Earthquake Ground Motion Variability from Fault Network Complexity
Colloquium Talk by VCT: Statistical Mechanics for Erosion and Earthquakes
Pop-sci from Atlas Obscura: Lovely Lake Stars Shine in Winter's Chill
Highlight by VCT: Why Are Earthquakes Seasonally Modulated?
Technical Talk by VCT: Noise Correlation Source-Structure Tradeoffs
Pop-sci from Quanta Magazine: New Earthquake Math Predicts How Destructive They'll Be
Pop-sci from Brown: Researchers develop new explanation for destructive earthquake vibrations
Colloquium Talk by VCT: Understanding High-Frequency Earthquake Ground Motion
Pop-sci from Caltech: Seismometer Readings Could Offer Debris Flow Early Warning
Pop-sci from Caltech: Friction Means Antarctic Glaciers More Sensitive to Climate Change Than We Thought

Selected Publications

Tsai, V. C. (2023). "The future of Earth imaging"
Seismol. Res. Lett., 94, 2119-2128, doi:10.1785/0220230125, published (August 14, 2023). html, PDF
Tsai, V. C., C. Huber, and C. A. Dalton (2023). "Towards the geological parametrization of seismic tomography"
Geophys. J. Int., 234, 1447-1462, doi:10.1093/gji/ggad140, published (March 30, 2023). PDF, html
Tsai, V. C., L. C. Smith, A. S. Gardner and H. Seroussi (2021). "A unified model for transient subglacial water pressure and basal sliding"
J. Glaciol., doi:10.1017/jog.2021.103, published (September 17, 2021). html
Tsai, V. C., and G. Hirth (2020). "Elastic impact consequences for high-frequency earthquake ground motion"
Geophys. Res. Lett., 47, e2019GL086302, doi:10.1029/2019GL086302. PDF w/ Supp, html, Press Release, KBYU Interview, Quanta Magazine article
Muir, J. B. and V. C. Tsai (2020). "Geometric and level set tomography using ensemble Kalman inversion"
Geophys. J. Int., 220, 967-980, doi:10.1093/gji/ggz472. PDF
Fichtner, A., and V. C. Tsai (2019). "Theoretical foundations of noise interferometry" in Seismic Ambient Noise,
N. Nakata, L. Gualtieri, A. Fichtner (eds.), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. PDF
Lai, V. H., V. C. Tsai, M. P. Lamb, T. P. Ulizio, and A. R. Beer (2018). "The seismic signature of debris flows: flow mechanics and early warning at Montecito, California"
Geophys. Res. Lett., 45, 5528-5535, doi:10.1029/2018GL077683. PDF, Press Release, KPCC Interview, KABC-TV
Bowden, D. C., and V. C. Tsai (2017). "Earthquake ground motion amplification for surface waves"
Geophys. Res. Lett., 44, 121-127, doi:10.1002/2016GL071885. PDF
Tsai, V. C., A. L. Stewart, and A. F. Thompson (2015). "Marine ice sheet profiles and stability under Coulomb basal conditions"
J. Glaciol., 61, 205-215, doi:10.3189/2015JoG14J221. PDF and Press Release
Tsai, V. C., J.-P. Ampuero, H. Kanamori, and D. J. Stevenson (2013). "Estimating the effect of elasticity and compressibility on tsunami speeds"
Geophys. Res. Lett., 40, 492-496, doi:10.1002/grl.50147. PDF
Tsai, V. C., B. Minchew, M. P. Lamb, and J.-P. Ampuero (2012). "A Physical Model for Seismic Noise Generation from Sediment Transport in Rivers",
Geophys. Res. Lett., 39, L02404, doi:10.1029/2011GL050255. PDF
Tsai, V. C. (2009). "On Establishing the Accuracy of Noise Tomography Travel-Time Measurements in a Realistic Medium",
Geophys. J. Int., 178, 1555-1564, doi:10.1111/j.1365-246X.2009.04239.x. PDF
Tsai, V. C., M. Nettles, G. Ekstrom, and A. M. Dziewonski (2005). "Multiple CMT source analysis of the 2004 Sumatra earthquake",
Geophys. Res. Lett., 32 (17), L17304, doi:10.1029/2005GL023813. PDF

Full Publications

For a complete list of publications, click here.

Academic Interests

I am interested in many different aspects of solid earth geophysics, including but not limited to: earthquakes, glaciers, seismic imaging techniques, solid/fluid interactions, melting processes, earth structure, waves, mantle convection, planetary formation/processes, harnessing seismic noise, and earth surface processes. Some of my current projects include understanding how fault zone structure affects earthquake ground motions, creating new tomographic methods including with correlations, improving models of glacier and ice sheet motion, using non-traditional seismic methods to constrain geophysical phenomena, and modeling tsunamis. For more details, please click here.

Vivo @ Brown

For Brown's official information about me, click here.

Last update 11:13AM September 29, 2023