Xiaowei Chen

Xiaowei Chen

Associate Professor

Earthquake Rupture, Induced Seismicity, Subsurface Structure, DAS


  Halbouty 351


Earthquakes remain as one of the most significant earthquake hazards in the society. Most earthquakes occur along plate boundaries, such as west coast of the US and Japan, where large earthquakes have caused major damage. In the last decade, earthquake number has significantly increased in the mid-continent of the US and other regions. Most of these earthquakes are “induced earthquakes” from industry activities, some of the M>5 events caused significant structural damage and interruptions to operations. As an observational seismologist, I am interested in several interlinked problems: how do faults respond to anthropogenic activities; how do earthquakes interact with each other; how do aseismic processes (such as fluid or slow slip) interact with seismic slip; what factors influence earthquake rupture characteristics. Addressing these problems is important for hazard assessment, mitigations, and understanding the evolution of crustal processes. I study earthquakes from a variety of tectonic environments, such as tectonically active regions in western US, Japan, and intraplate regions, such as Oklahoma. In the last few years, I am expanding my research into structural and environmental seismology using dense nodal arrays and DAS (distributed acoustic sensing).

Selected Publications

  1. Qin, Y., Chen, T., Ma, X., & Chen, X., (2022). Forecasting Induced Seismicity in Oklahoma using Machine Learning Methods. Scientific Reports. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-022-13435-3
  2. Zhang, J., Chen, X., & Abercrombie, R. E., (2022). Spatiotemporal variability of earthquake source parameters at Parkfield, California, and their relationship with the 2004 M6 earthquake, Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, https://doi.org/10.1029/2021JB022851
  3. Pennington, C. N., Uchide, T., & Chen, X. (2022). Slip characteristics of induced earthquakes: Insights from the 2015 Mw 4.0 Guthrie, Oklahoma earthquake. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 127, e2021JB023564. https://doi.org/10.1029/2021JB023564
  4. He, L, Wu, Q.*, Chen, X., Sun, X., Guo, Z. & Chen, Y.J. (2021). Detailed 3D seismic velocity structure of the Prague, Oklahoma fault zone and the implications for induced seismicity. Geophysical Research Letters, 48, e2021GL096137. https://doi.org/10.1029/2021GL096137
  5. Abercrombie, R. E., Trugman, D. T., Shearer, P. M, Chen, X., Zhang, J., Pennington, C., Hardebeck, J. L., Goebel, T., Ruhl, C. J. (2021) Does Earthquake Stress Drop Increase with Depth in the Crust?, JGR, 126, e2021JB022314. https://doi.org/10.1029/2021JB022314
  6. Ortega, A., Walter, J. I., Chen, X. & Carpenter, B. (2021) Spatially Distinct Tectonic Zones Across Oklahoma Inferred from Shear Wave Splitting, Seismological Research Letters, 92 (4): 2551–2561, https://doi.org/10.1785/0220200237 .
  7. Ortega, A., & Chen, X. (2021) Spatiotemporal Clustering of Seismicity during the 2018 Kilauea Volcanic Eruption, Res. Letters, https://doi.org/10.1029/2020GL090859
  8. Pennington, C., Chen, X., Abercrombie, R., Wu, Q.* (2021) "Cross Validation of Stress Drop Estimates and Interpretations for the 2011 Prague, OK, Earthquake Sequence Using Multiple Methods." Geophy. Res., DOI: https://doi.org/10.1029/2020JB020888
  9. Patel, S., Kolawole, F., Walter, J., Chen, X, and Marfurt, K. J. (2021), "Seismic illumination of small-offset seismogenic faults, Anadarko Basin, Oklahoma." Interpretation, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1190/int-2020-0135.1
  10. Abecrombie, R., Chen, X., Zhang, J. (2020). "Repeating Earthquakes with Remarkably Repeatable Ruptures on the San Andreas Fault at Parkfield." Geophysical Research Letters, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1029/2020GL089820
  11. Deng, K., Liu, Y., Chen, X. (2020). "Correlation Between Poroelastic Stress Perturbation and Multi-disposal Wells Induced Earthquake Sequence in Cushing, Oklahoma." Geophysical Research Letters, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1029/2020GL089366
  12. Chen, X., Abercrombie, R. E. (2020). "Improved approach for stress drop estimation and its application to an induced earthquake sequence in Oklahoma." Geophysical Journal International, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/gji/ggaa316
  13. Qin, Y., Chen, X., Walter, J., Haffener, J., Trugman, D., Carpenter, B. M., Weingarten, M., Kolawole, F. (2019). "Deciphering the stress state of seismogenic faults in Oklahoma and southern Kansas based on an improved stress map." Journal of Geophysical Research – Solid Earth, DOI: 10.1029/2019JB018377
  14. Rosson, Z., Walter, J. I., Goebel, T., Chen, X. (2019). "Narrow Spatial Aftershock Zones for Induced Earthquake Sequences in Oklahoma." Geophysical Research Letters, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1029/2019GL083562
  15. Zhai, G., Shirzaei, M., Manga, M., Chen, X. (2019). "Pore-pressure diffusion, enhanced by poroelastic stresses, controls induced seismicity in Oklahoma." PNAS, Vol. 116, No. 33, 16228-16233, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1819225116
  16. Wu, Q.*, Chen, X., Abercrombie, R. E. (2019). "Source Complexity of the 2015 Mw 4.0 Guthrie, Oklahoma Earthquake." Res. Letters, Vol. 46, DOI: 2019GL082690. https://doi.org/10.1029/2019GL082690
  17. Sweet, J. R., Anderson, K. R., Bilek, S., Brudzinski, M., Chen, X., Deshon, H., Hayward, C., Karplus, M., Keranen, K., Langston, C., Lin, F.-C., Magnani, B., Woodward, R. L. (2018). "A community experiment to record the full seismic wavefield in Oklahoma." Seismological Research Letters, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1785/0220180079
  18. Cheng, Y., Chen, X. (2018). "Characteristics of seismicity inside and outside the Salton Sea Geothermal Field." Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1785/0120170311
  19. Haffener, J., Chen, X., Murray, K. E. (2018). "Multi-scale analysis of spatiotemporal relationship between injection and seismicity in Oklahoma." Journal of Geophysical Research - Solid Earth, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1029/2018JB015512
  20. Pei, S., Peng, Z., Chen, X. (2018). "Locations of injection-induced earthquakes in Oklahoma controlled by crustal structures." Journal of Geophysical Research - Solid Earth, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/2017JB014983
  21. Wu, Q.*, Chapman, M., Chen, X. (2018). "Stress Drop Variations of Induced Earthquakes in Oklahoma." Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1785/0120170335
  22. Chen, X., Haffener, J., Goebel, T. W., Meng, X., Peng, Z., Chang, J. (2018). "Temporal correlation between seismic moment and injection volume for an induced earthquake sequence in central Oklahoma." Journal of Geophysical Research - Solid Earth, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/2017JB014694
  23. Qin, Y., Chen, X., Carpenter, B. M., Kolawole, F. (2018). "Coulomb Stress Transfer Influences Fault Reactivation in Areas of Wastewater Injection." Geophysical Research Letters, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1029/2018GL079713
  24. Savage, H. M., Kirkpatrick, J. D., Mori, J. J., Brodsky, E. E., Ellsworth, W. L., Carpenter, B. M., Chen, X., Cappa, F., Kano, Y. (2017). "Scientific Exploration of Induced SeisMicity and Stress (SEISMS)." Scientific Drilling, Vol. 23, DOI: https://doi.org/10.5194/sd-23-57-2017
  25. Goebel, T., Weingarten, M., Chen, X., Haffener, J., Brodsky, E. (2017). "The 2016 Mw5.1 Fairview, Oklahoma earthquakes: evidence for long-range poroelastic triggering at >40 km from fluid disposal wells." Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Vol. 472, 50-61, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2017.05.011
  26. Chen, X., Nakata, N., Pennington, C. N., Haffener, J., Chang, J. C., He, X., Zhan, Z., Ni, S., Walter, J. I. (2017). "The Pawnee earthquake as a result of the interplay among injection, faults, and foreshocks." scientific report, Vol. 7, No. 4945, DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-04992-z. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-04992-z
  27. Chen, X., Nakata, N. (2017). "Preface to the Focus Section on the 3 September 2016 Pawnee, Oklahoma, Earthquake." Seismological Research Letters, Vol. 88, No. 4, 953-955, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1785/0220170078
  28. Pennington, C., Chen, X. (2017). "Coulomb Stress Interactions during the Mw 5.8 Pawnee Sequence." Seismological Research Letters, Vol. 88, No. 4, 1024-1031, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1785/0220170011
  29. Zhang, Q., Lin, G., Zhan, Z., Chen, X., Qin, Y., Wdowinski, S. (2017). "Absence of remote earthquake triggering within the Coso and Salton Sea geothermal production fields." Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 44, No. 2, 726–733, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/2016GL071964
  30. Chen, X., McGuire, J. J. (2016). "Measuring earthquake source parameters in the Mendocino triple junction region using a dense OBS array: Implications for fault strength variations." Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Vol. 453, 276-287, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2016.08.022
  31. Chen, X., Shearer, P. M. (2016). "Analysis of Foreshock Sequences in California and Implications for Earthquake Triggering." Pure and Applied Geophysics, 173 (2016), 133–152, DOI 10.1007/s00024-015-1103-0.
  32. Toomey, D.R., R.M. Allen, A.H. Barclay, S.W. Bell, P.D. Bromirski, R.L. Carlson, Chen, J.A. Collins, R.P. Dziak, B. Evers, D.W. Forsyth, P. Gerstoft, E.E.E. Hooft, D. Livelybrooks, J.A. Lodewyk, D.S. Luther, J.J. McGuire, S.Y. Schwartz, M. Tolstoy, A.M. Tréhu, M. Weirathmueller, and W.S.D. Wilcock. (2014). The Cascadia Initiative: A sea change in seismological studies of subduction zones. Oceanography 27(2):138–150
  33. Chen, X., Shearer, P. M. (2013). "California foreshock sequences suggest aseismic triggering process." Geophysical Research Letters, VOL. 40, 2602–2607, doi:10.1002/grl.50444.
  34. Hauksson, E., Stock, J., Bilham, R., Boese, M., Chen, X., Fielding, E. J., Galetzka, J., Hudnut, K. W., Hutton, K., Jones, L. M., Kanamori, H., Shearer, P. M., Steidl, J., Treiman, J., Wei, S., Yang, W. (2013). "Report on the August 2012 Brawley Earthquake Swarm in Imperial Valley, Southern California." Seismological Research Letters, Vol. 84, No. 2, 177–189.
  35. Chen, X., Shearer, P., Abercrombie, R. (2012). "Spatial migration of earthquakes within seismic clusters in Southern California: Evidence for fluid diffusion." Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth (1978–2012), Vol. 117, No. B4.
  36. Chen, X., Shearer, P. (2011). "Comprehensive analysis of earthquake source spectra and swarms in the Salton Trough, California." Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 116, No. B9, B09309.
  37. Chen, X., Shearer, P., Walter, F., Fricker, H. (2011). "Seventeen Antarctic seismic events detected by global surface waves and a possible link to calving events from satellite images." Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth (1978–2012), Vol. 116, No. B6.


PhD, University of California, San Diego, 2013.

Major: Geophysics

Dissertation Title: Aspects of earthquake triggering and seismicity clustering

MS, University of California, San Diego, 2010.

Major: Geophysics

BS, University of Science and Technology of China, 2007.

Major: Geophysics


Stubbeman-Drace Presidential Professor, University of Oklahoma (May 2020).

Editor's citation for excellence in refereeing for JGR-Solid Earth, AGU. (March 29, 2018).

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