Benchun Duan

Benchun Duan


Francesco Paolo di Gangi/Heep Endowed Professorship in Theoretical Geophysics

Earthquake source physics, computational seismology, geomechanics

  (979) 845-3297

  Halbouty 153


Dr. Duan’s expertise spans topics in seismology, geomechanics, tectonophysics, and geophysics. His current research aims to better understand dynamic earthquake ruptures on geometrically complex faults, various slip behaviors on subduction interfaces and their relations to megathrust and tsunami earthquakes over earthquake cycles, and mechanical response of subsurface processes related to anthropogenic activities. His research heavily relies on numerical modeling methods such as finite element methods and high-performance computing, and strives to integrate seismic, geodetic, and geologic observations with physics-based models. Active research projects are being conducted on the San Andreas fault system in Southern California, the Japan Trench and Mexico subduction zones, the Altyn Tagh Fault in northwest China, scenario earthquake and ground motion simulations, and fluid-injection induced seismicity.

Selected Publications


  • Duan, B., Z. Liu, and A. J. Elliott (2019), Multicycle dynamics of the Aksay Bend along the Altyn Tagh Fault in Northwest China, Part 2: The realistically complex fault geometry, Tectonics, 38, https:/
  • He*, Z., and B. Duan (2019), Dynamic modeling of bedding-plane slip during hydraulic fracturing, Geophysics, 84 (3), doi:10.1190/GEO2018-0170.1.
  • Luo*, B., and B. Duan (2018), Dynamics of non-planar thrust faults governed by various friction laws, J. Geophys. Res. Solid Earth, 123,
  • Liu*, D., and B. Duan (2018), Scenario earthquake and ground motion simulations in North China: Effects of heterogeneous fault stress and 3-D basin structure, Bull. Seismol. Soc. Am., 108(4), 2148-2169, doi:10.1785/0120170374.
  • Payne*, R., and B. Duan (2017), Insights into pulverized rock formation from dynamic rupture models of earthquakes, Geophys. J. Int., 208, 715-723, doi:10.1093/gji/ggw436.
  • Duan, B. (2016), Spontaneous rupture on natural fractures and seismic radiation during hydraulic fracturing treatments, Geophys. Res. Lett., 43, 7451-7458, doi:10.1002/2016GL069083.
  • Liu*, Z., and B. Duan (2014), Dynamics of parallel strike-slip faults with pore fluid pressure change and off-fault damage, Bull. Seismol. Soc. Am., 104 (2), 780-792, doi:10.1785/0120130112.
  • Kang*, J., and B. Duan (2014), Inelastic response of compliant fault zones to nearby earthquakes in three dimensions, Tectonophysics, 612-613: 56-62, doi:10.1016/j.tecton.2013.11.033.
  • Duan, B. (2012), Dynamic rupture of the 2011 Mw 9.0 Tohoku-Oki earthquake: Roles of a possible subducting seamount, J. Geophys. Res., 117, B05311, doi:10.1029/2011JB009124.
  • Duan, B., and S. M. Day (2008), Inelastic strain distribution and seismic radiation from rupture of a fault kink, J. Geophys. Res., 113, B12311, doi:10.1029/2008JB005847.
  • Duan, B., and D. D. Oglebsy (2007), Nonuniform prestress from prior earthquakes and the effect on dynamics of branched fault systems, J. Geophys. Res., 112, B05308, doi:10.1029/2006JB004443.
  • Duan, B., and D. D. Oglesby (2006), Heterogeneous fault stresses from previous earthquakes and the effect on dynamics of parallel strike-slip faults, J. Geophys. Res., 111, B05309, doi:10.1029/2005JB004138.
  • Duan, B., and D. D. Oglesby (2005), Multicycle dynamics of nonplanar strike-slip faults, J. Geophys. Res., 110, B03304, doi:10.1029/2004JB003298.


Ph.D. Geological Sciences, University of California, Riverside, 2006.

M.S. Applied Geophysics, Ocean University of China, 1994.

B.S. Applied Geophysics, Ocean University of China, 1991.


NSF Career Award, 2013 (National awards given to early and mid-career researchers)

Distinguished Achievement Award for Faculty Research, 2010 (College of Geosciences, Texas A&M University)

Additional Information


GEOP 611: Geomechanics

GEOP 421: Seismology

GEOP 341: Fundamentals of Geophysics

GEOP 619: Finite Element Methods in Geophysics

GEOP 652: Earthquake Seismology

GEOL 104: Physical Geology

GEOL 101: Principles of Geology


Professional Associations:

American Geophysical Union (AGU)

Seismological Society of America (SSA)

Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC)

Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG)

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