California Institute of Technology
Seismological Laboratory Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences

Seismo Life

Seismo Life

The Science

Building on a rich history of geophysical study, the Seismological Laboratory—informally known as the Seismo Lab—is a modern geophysical observatory that emphasizes the acquisition, analysis, and modeling of data pertaining to the structure and dynamics of the earth as well as other planetary bodies. This data originates from many sources including regional and global seismic networks, inhouse analytic facilities (e.g., high pressure mineral physics), oceanic research cruises, remote sensing (e.g., GPS, interferometric radar, Landsat etc.), and geologic field mapping. Affiliated with the Seismo Lab are faculty, students, and postdocs from the Division of Geological & Planetary Sciences. Current Seismo Lab research incorporates all aspects of geophysics and earthquake geology including, but not limited to, regional crustal structure, the physics of earthquakes, the structure, chemistry, and convective flow of the earth's interior, oceanic and continental tectonics, and lithospheric deformation.

The Culture

Aerial picture of the Caltech CampusAerial picture of the Caltech Campus

Seismo Lab faculty, postdocs, students, and staff are involved in a variety of lab endeavors. These activities include regular division courses, Seismo Lab seminars, field trips/research cruises, Student-Faculty retreat, Brown Bag seminars, Seismo Lab Social, and the well-known Seismo Lab Coffee Hour is held in the Benioff room from about 9:30 am to 11:00 am. Coffee Hour discussions are open and span topics ranging from recent seismic activity to new research results. Other important activities that must not be overlooked include the notorious Strike Slips softball team and the Division Social Hour held in the courtyard between North and South Mudd at 5 pm on Fridays.

The Surroundings

Off campus, we are fortunate to be located in a geologically, culturally, and geographically fascinating region. From Pasadena, there is easy access to the San Gabriel Mountains to the north (hiking/climbing/biking) as well as the beaches to the west (swimming/surfing/diving/sailing). The high backcountry of the Sierra Nevada, including Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Park on the west side and Inyo National Forest on the east side, is located less than a four-hour drive away, as arethe central coast of California and Baja California in Mexico. Within walking distance of the Lab are the stores and night life of Old Town Pasadena, as well as the world-renowned Norton Simon Museum and Huntington Library. A short drive brings one to other well-known Los Angeles area attractions.