Catholic University faculty and students are immersed in a culture of research. In this series we offer a sampling of the many big questions they are working on.
Chanseok Jeong

Why Should We 'Listen' to Earthquake Waves?

Oil companies, in search of offshore oil deposits, conduct seismic surveys by sending loud sound waves to the seabed and analyzing reflected waves. Loud, man-made underwater sounds can be fatal to marine wildlife, such as dolphins and whales, which rely on sound to navigate, find food, and communicate. Chanseok Jeong’s work shows how we can mitigate underwater noise pollution.

“I focused on the knowledge that earthquake waves implicitly carry information about geological formations. By deciphering earthquake signals, we can potentially reduce sound pollution caused by seismic surveys, in oceans and still identify the location and property of an offshore oil reservoir. We already have an abundant amount of natural seismic data, and whales and dolphins already adapted to earthquake waves.

“Because it is challenging to decipher earthquake signals accurately, my research group has been developing a mathematical and computational method to analyze them.”

Are there other possible applications of the idea?

“On Mars, there are marsquakes. We can measure quake motions on Mars and infer what’s under the planet’s surface.

“During an earthquake in a metropolitan area, sensors can listen to earthquakes. By processing measured seismic data, we can reconstruct wave responses in an area of interest and find locations of strong wave motions that could damage infrastructures in the area.”


Chanseok Jeong is a clinical assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering. He was recently awarded a National Science Foundation two-year grant under the project title, ‘Full-Waveform Inversion of Seismic Input Motions in a Truncated Domain.’