My research combines geophysics and geodesy. I work both on understanding active earth processes, and on understnading and improving the tools we use to measure them. I find these two lines of my work to be significantly intertwined.
I study active crustal deformation processes. Think of it as geology in action. I am interested in the kinematics and dynamics of the active processes that shape the Earth. My active research projects include studies of tectonic deformation in plate boundary zones, earthquakes, postseismic deformation and the earthquake cycle, inflation and eruption of active volcanoes, glacial-isostatic adjustment and its effects on relative sea level, and variations in water, snow and ice via the deformation these load variations cause. The main tool for my research is the Global Positioning System (GPS), although I have also made use of Synthetic Aperture Radar interferometry (InSAR) and other geodetic tools. Using GPS it is possible to measure relative positions between GPS sites with a precision as good as a few millimeters. By repeating these surveys over a period of time, we can watch as plates move and the earth deforms.
In many parts of the world, and this is especially true in Alaska, measured motion and deformation of the Earth results from a combination of several different processes. That means that it is hard to avoid studying a broad range of geological or geophysical phenomena, which may be linked only through the fact that all affect our measurements. In any case, I have always had a hard time resisting the opportunity to think about and work on something new that catches my interest, and no matter what field I had chosen I probably would have developed a wide-ranging rather than intensely focused research program.
I have been at the Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska Fairbanks since May 1995. I received a Bachelor of Science degree from the California Institute of Technology in 1985, and MS and PhD degrees from the University of South Carolina in 1988 and 1991 respectively. Following my PhD, I worked as a Postdoctoral Researcher at Stanford University for three and a half years. Working in Alaska has been a tremendous opportunity, because so much happens right here; it is a signal-rich environment. But I have also maintained some work in other areas, including China, California, and South America.
Among other service jobs, I serve as a member of the US National Committee for the IUGG. The USNC/IUGG promotes the advancement of geodetic and geophysical sciences in the United States and throughout the world by participating in the activities of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG). The committee also promotes international science and the application of science to policy by organizing topical sessions at national and international meetings, among other activities. We are beginning the process of developing a bid proposal to hold a future IUGG meeting in the United States. From my work on this committee, I am the US National Representative to the International Association of Geodesy (IAG).
I am a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Geodesy, and I am the immediate past President of the Geodesy Section of the AGU. I am also co-chair of the Convergent Margins Thematic Working Group (TWG) for EarthScope.
I can't help myself -- I keep busy!
Contact InfoEmail: jfreymueller -at- alaska.edu
Office 413B Elvey