University of California, Riverside

Faculty Profile System

James H. Dieterich

James H. Dieterich

Distinguished Professor of Geology and Geophysics

Department of Earth Sciences
Geology 414
(951) 827-2976

Research Areas

  • Earthquake Processes

My interests are broadly concerned with deformation processes in the Earth's crust, particularly as they relate to earthquake physics, earthquake hazard estimation, and volcanic phenomena . Although this research often has a theoretical or modeling component, I prefer a multi-disciplinary approach that relies heavily on laboratory experiments, field observations, and monitoring data to define research problems, to guide model development, and to test model predictions.

Current Projects and Research Opportunities
Previous work on the rate- and state-dependent representation of fault constitutive properties is now being applied in modeling of seismicity, including aftershocks and triggering of earthquakes; and in inverse models that use earthquake rates to map stress changes in space and time. A new effort has been launched to investigate fault slip and earthquake processes in geometrically complex fault systems. This includes development of large-scale quasi-dynamic simulations of seismicity in fault systems, and investigation of the physical interactions and stressing conditions that control system-level phenomena. Volcano research currently focuses on the coupled interactions among magmatic, faulting and earthquake processes at Kilauaea volcano in Hawaii .


  • Ph.D., Geology/Geophysics, Yale University, New Haven, CT
  • M.Phil. Geology, Yale University
  • B.S. University of Washington, Seattle, WA


  • Dieterich, J.H. , 1992, Earthquake nucleation on faults with rate- and state-dependent friction, Tectonophysics, 211 , 115-134.
  • Linker, M.F., and Dieterich, J.H. , 1992, Effects of variable normal stress on rock friction: Observations and constitutive relations, J. Geophys. Res. , 4923-4940.
  • Dieterich, J.H. , and Linker, M.F., 1992, Stability of fault slip under condition of variable normal stress, Geophys. Res. Lett., 19 , 1691--1694.
  • Cornell , C.A. , Wu, S.-C., Winterstein, S.R., Dieterich, J.H. , and Simpson, R.W., 1993, Seismic hazard induced by mechanically interactive fault segments, Bull. Seismol. Soci. Am., 83 , 436-449.
  • Dieterich, J.H. , 1994, A constitutive law for rate of earthquake production and its application to earthquake clustering, J. Geophys. Res. , 99 , 2601-2618.
  • Dieterich, J.H. , and Kilgore, B.D., 1994, Direct observation of frictional contacts: New insights for sliding memory effects, Pure Appl. Geophys. , 143 , 283-302.
  • Chadwick, W.W., and Dieterich, J.H. , 1995, Mechanical modeling of circumferential and radial dike intrusion on Galapagos volcanoes, J. Volc. Geoth. Res . 66, 37-52.
  • Dieterich, J.H. , 1995, Earthquake Simulations with Time-Dependent Nucleation and Long-Range Interactions, Journal of Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics , 2, 109-120.
  • Dieterich J. H. and Kilgore B.D., 1996, Imaging surface contacts: Power law contact distributions and contact stresses in quartz, calcite, glass and acrylic plastic, Tectonophysics , 256, 219-239.
  • Dieterich, J. H ., and Kilgore,B.D., 1996, Implications of fault constitutive properties for earthquake prediction, Symposium Volume: Earthquake Prediction: The Scientific Challenge, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., 93 , 3787-3794.
  • Stein, R. S., Barka, A. A., and Dieterich, J. H ., 1997, Progressive failure on the North Anatolian fault since 1939 by earthquake stress triggering, Geophysical Journal International, 128 , 594-604.
  • Toda, S., R.S. Stein, P.A. Reasenberg, J.H. Dieterich , and A. Yoshida, 1998, Stress transferred by the 1995 Mw=6.9 Kobe, Japan, shock, J. Geophys. Res., 103 , 24,543-24,565.
  • Parsons, T., Toda, S., Stein, R.S., Barka, A., Dieterich, J.H ., 2000, Heightened odds of large earthquakes near Istanbul : An interaction based probability calculation , Science, 28, 661-665.
  • Cayol, V., Dieterich, J.H., Okamura, A.T., Miklius, A ., 2000, High magma storage rates before the 1983 eruption of Kilauea, Hawaii, Science , 288 , 2343-2346.
  • Dieterich, J.H. , Cayol, V., Okubo, P., 2000, The use of earthquake rate changes as a stress meter at Kilauea volcano, Nature , 408 , 457-460.
  • Abe, S., J.H. Dieterich , P. Mora, D. Place, 2002, Simulation of the Influence of Rate- and State-dependent Friction on the Macroscopic Behavior of Complex Fault Zones with the Lattice Solid Model, Pure and Appl. Geophys ., 159 , 1967-1983.
  • Committee on the Science of Earthquakes, 2003, Living on an Active Earth: Perspectives on Earthquake Science, National Research Council , 432p. [Member of committee and contributor to this book.]
  • Dieterich, J. H. , V. Cayol, and P. Okubo, 2003, Stress Changes Before and During the Puu Oo-Kupianaha Eruption. in: The Puu Oo-Kupaianaha Eruption of Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii : The First 20 Years , U. S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1676 , 187-202.

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General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Department Information

Department of Earth Sciences
Geology Building

Tel: (951) 827-3434
Fax: (951) 827-4324