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SAGE investigations of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions

Submitted by Debra Damron
Phone: (907) 450-8662


Computational physicist Galen Gisler will present the last in the series of weekly science seminars hosted by the Arctic Region Supercomputing Center Tuesday, Aug. 7 at 1 p.m.

The seminars are designed to demonstrate how computer- and information-based technologies are applied to solving real world problems.

Gisler is a senior researcher at the University of Oslo in Norway, where his work centers on the physics of violent geological processes, including hydromagmatic volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, slope failures, tsunamis and faults. Before that, he was with the Los Alamos National Laboratory, where he was involved in the development of codes and numerical methods for large-scale calculations of both natural and artificial systems. He and his colleagues at Los Alamos developed a computational model of the meteor impact at Chicxulub, Yucatan, Mexico, which is associated with the end of the Cretaceous Period about 65 million years ago.

Earlier in his career, Gisler worked in the field of astrophysics studying violent activity at the centers of galaxies, such as flares on the sun and other stars, gamma ray bursts and supernovae. He has also contributed to the development and deployment of novel experimental techniques in remote sensing and astronomy.

During his free, public presentation in room 010 of the West Ridge Research Building, Gisler will discuss the modeling power of the Science Applications International (SAIC) Adaptive Grid Eulerian system: SAGE. According to Gisler, the SAGE modeling system's power lies in its flexibility. Because the computational grid and level of detail can be changed continuously, better computational efficiency is achieved along with higher resolution where needed.

SAGE has been used to model the atmosphere, tsunami, ocean processes and other physical phenomena. Gisler will provide an overview of SAGE and its features, then provide insight into some past and future SAGE uses for scientific discovery.

Gisler has been at ARSC, located on the Fairbanks campus of the University of Alaska, since a July 26 meeting with scientists and researchers who are using the center's resources to model extreme geophysical phenomena. ARSC computational specialists are providing programming assistance to Gisler so he can run SAGE on the center's newest supercomputer, a 1,904-processor Sun Opteron Cluster named Midnight. Once the code is up and running, Gisler will investigate the potential for future collaborative research activities between the University of Oslo and UAF using the resources at ARSC.

Since June 12, ARSC has hosted a weekly summer science seminar for the university community and the public. UAF's supercomputing center has aided in the development of 3-D computer models of tsunamis, space weather and ash plume dispersion from volcanic eruptions, which have helped provide accurate and timely emergency response information to the public. Other projects focus on computer modeling to detect shrinking polar ice caps, as well as studies on the effects of fresh water influx into the Gulf of Alaska, so scientists can better understand the impact of changing ocean environmental conditions on the marine ecosystem.

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