Courses Taught

Kaj Johnson

Kaj Johnson

Associate Professor of Geological Sciences
Director of Undergraduate Studies

Office:   GY401
Phone:   812-855-3612

Educational Background

  • Ph.D., 2004, Geophysics, Stanford University
  • M.S., 2000, Geology, Purdue University
  • B.S., 1996, Mathematics, Purdue University

Research Interests

I am a geophysicist who works primarily with geodetic data and numerical and analytical modeling to investigate active deformation of the lithosphere. In particular, I study how deformation within plate boundary zones is accommodated by faulting and folding in the crust and viscous flow in the lower crust and upper mantle.

The types of research questions that motivate my current work and will continue to drive future research include:

  • (1) What physical processes are involved in the “earthquake cycle” at plate boundary settings consisting of relatively steady interseismic deformation punctuated by sudden earthquakes and rapid transient postseismic deformation?
  • (2) What controls the location and timing of large earthquakes on faults? To what extent can faults be characterized as consisting of locked patches that rupture unstably in large earthquakes and creeping patches that slide stably? Can we identify these patches and predict the location of future large earthquakes?
  • (3) How can observations from geology, geomorphology, seismology, and geodesy be combined to constrain a single mechanical model of crustal deformation over multiple time scales?
  • (4) How does short time-scale, recoverable elastic deformation transform into permanent, inelastic deformation in the lithosphere, and to what extent can this permanent deformation be recognized in the contemporary deformation field?

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