Alan Linde is trying to understand the tectonic activity that is associated with earthquakes and volcanos, with the hope of helping predictions methods. He uses highly sensitive data that measures how the Earth is changing below the surface with devises called borehole strainmeters that measure tiny strains the Earth undergoes.
Strainmeter data has led to the discovery of events referred to as slow earthquakes that are similar to regular earthquakes except that the fault motions take place over much longer time scales. These were first detected in south-east Japan and have since been seen in a number of different environments including the San Andreas Fault in California and in the subduction zone—where one tectonic plate has slid under another--off Hokkaido. They are also triggered by typhoons in Taiwan.
Strain changes, generated by magma movement at a number of volcanoes, have enabled characterizing previously unknown aspects of eruptive activity as well. Strainmeters installed close to Hekla (Iceland), Soufriere Hills (Montserrat), Stromboli and Etna (Italy) have all provided data leading to new insights into volcanoes. This research allowed a short term prediction of the eruption of Hekla in 2000 and resulted in diverting aircraft around the hazardous ash plume.
Data from strainmeters in the vicinity of Miharayama (Izu-Oshima) show rapid recharging of a shallow magma reservoir during the course of an eruption. The strain data has led to the discovery that great earthquakes can trigger volcanic activity at great distances from the earthquake. In addition the results suggest that large subduction earthquakes may be preceded by slow slip on the subduction interface deeper than the seismogenic zone.
Linde received his B.S. and his Ph.D in geophysics from the University of Queensland. For more see http://www.dtm.ciw.edu/people/alan-t-linde