Dr. Susan Bilek

Susan Bilek, PhD


Earth & Environmental Science

Research Areas

My primary research interests focus on signals generated by earthquakes (large and small) as
well as seismic signals generated by shallow environmental forces. My current and recent research projects related to earthquakes include using small magnitude earthquakes to probe fault conditions in many of the global subduction zones, including along the Pacific Northwest of North America and Costa Rica, as well as using local earthquakes in central New Mexico to study the mid-crustal Socorro magma body. For some of the local studies of the Socorro magma body, my students and I have used the large-N seismic instrument capabilities of the EarthScope instrumentation facility (EPIC), also housed at NMT, to deploy hundreds of seismic instruments.

I am also highly engaged in the growing field of environmental seismology, using seismic energy produced from shallow/surficial processes to help characterize these environmental forces.  My current projects in this area include characterizing flow in a shallow karst aquifer in northern Florida as well as tracking bedload movement during monsoon flash floods in New Mexico and Israel.  These projects are heavily interdisciplinary, with colleagues in hydrology, geodesy, and geomorphology all involved in field data collection and analysis.


Earth Processes, Catastrophic Earth, Earthquake and Volcano Hazards, General Geophysics, Theoretical Seismology, Observational Seismology, Earthquake and Fault Mechanics, Environmental Seismology


If you would like a reprint of any of my publications, please send me an email.

Bilek, S.L., Luhmann, A.J., Grapenthin, R., Woo, H.B., and Gochenour, J.A., Capturing seismic signals from karst aquifer injection experiments and a natural recharge event, J. Geophys. Res., 128, e2022JB025635. http://doi.org/10.1029/2022JB025635, 2023.

Morton, E.A., Bilek, S.L., and Rowe, C.A., Cascadia Subduction Zone Fault Heterogeneities from Newly Detected Small Magnitude Earthquakes, J. Geophys. Res., 128, e2023JB026607, http:/doi.org/10.0129/2023JB026607, 2023.

*Niklasson, S.M., Veneziani, M., Rowe, C.A., Worcester, P.F., Dzieciuch, M.A., Bilek, S.L., Price, S.F., and Roberts, A.F., Estimating Arctic ocean acoustic travel times using an Earth system model, Geophys. Res. Lett., 50, e2022GL102216. http://doi.org/10.1029/2022GL102216, 2023.

Woo, H.B., Bilek, S.L., Gochenour, J.A., Grapenthin, R., Luhmann, A.J., Martin, J.B., Processing ambient noise data using phase cross-correlation and application towards understanding spatiotemporal environmental effects, J. Geophys. Res. Earth Surface, http://doi.org/10.1029/2023JF007091, 2023.

Glasgow, M., Schmandt, B., and Bilek, S.L., Cascading Multi-Segment Rupture in an Injection-Induced Earthquake Sequence with a Mw 5.3 Mainshock, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 620, 118335,  http://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2023.118335, 2023.

Rowe, C.A.,  Nuñez-Cornu, F.J., Núñez, D., Bilek, S., Lindsey, N., Advances in Ocean Bottom Seismology, Frontiers in Earth Science (Solid Earth Geophysics section), doi: 10.3389/feart.2022.852059, 2022.

Glasgow, M., Schmandt, B., Wang, R., Zhange, M., Bilek, S.L., Kiser, E., Raton Basin induced seismicity is hosted by networks of short basement faults and mimics tectonic earthquake statistics, J. Geophys. Res., doi: 10.1029/2021JB022839, 2021.

*Finlay, T.S., Worthingthon, L.L., Schmandt, B., Ranasinghe, N.R., Bilek, S.L., and Aster, R.C., Teleseismic scattered-wave imaging using a large-N array in the Albuquerque Basin, New Mexico, Seismo. Res. Lett., 91, 287-303, doi:10.1785/0220190146, 2020.

Sweet, J.R., Huerta, A., Winberry, P., Anderson, K., Beaudoin, B., Bilek, S.L., Carpenter, P., and Woodward, R., Building a geophysical Earth observatory for ice-covered environments (GEOICE), submitted, EOS., 2020.

Pankow, K.L., Stickney, M., Ben-Horin, J.Y., Litherland, M., Payne, S., Koper, K.D., Bilek, S.L., and Bogolub, K., Regional seismic network monitoring in the eastern Intermountain West, submitted to Seismo. Res. Lett., 91, 631-646, doi: 10.1785/0220190209, 2020.

*Morton, E.A., Bilek, S.L., and Rowe, C., Newly detected earthquakes in Cascadia subduction zone linked to seamount subduction and deformed upper plate,Geology, 46, 943-946, doi:10.1130/G45354.1, 2018.

Bilek, S.L. and Lay, T., Subduction zone megathrust earthquakes, (invited review paper) Geospheres, 14, doi:10.1130/GES01608.1, 2018.

Bilek, S.L., Schmandt, B., Worthington, L.L., Aster, R.C., Finlay, T.S., and Schmidt, J., The 2015 Sevilleta Socorro Magma Body mixed-mode seismic experiment,Seismo. Res. Lett., doi: 10.1785/0220180070, 2018.

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., A community experiment to record the full seismic wavefield in Oklahoma, Seismo. Res. Lett., doi:10.1785/0220180079, 2018.

Ranasinghe, N.R., Worthington, L.L., Schmandt, B., Jiang, C.X., Finlay, T. , S.L. Bilek, and Aster, R.C., Upper crustal shear wave velocity structure of the south-central Rio Grande Rift above the Socorro magma body imaged with ambient noise by the large-N Sevilleta seismic array, Seismo. Res. Lett., 89, 1708-1719, doi:10.1785/0220180074, 2018.

*Ortiz, J.P., Person, M.A., Mozley, P.S., Evans, J.P., and Bilek, S.L., Hydrologic connection between basal reservoir injection, crystalline basement fault zones, and induced seismicity, Groundwater, doi:10.1111/gwat.12818, 2018.

*Nakai, J.S., Weingarten, M., Sheehan, A.F., Bilek, S.L., and Ge, S., A possible causative mechanism of Raton Basin, New Mexico and Colorado earthquakes using recent seismicity patterns and pore pressure modeling, J. Geophys. Res, doi:10.1002/2017JB014415, 2017.

*Nakai, J.S., Sheehan, A.F. and Bilek, S.L., Seismicity of the rocky mountains and Rio Grande Rift from the EarthScope Transportable Array and CREST temporary seismic networks, 2008-2010, J. Geophys. Res., 122, 1–20, doi:10.1002/2016JB013389, 2017.

Bilek, S.L. H.M. Rotman, and W.S. Phillips (2016), Low Stress Drop Earthquakes in the Rupture Zone of the 1992 Nicaragua Tsunami Earthquake, Geophysical Research Letters, 43, doi:10.1002/2016GL070409.

*Zhang, Y., Edel, S.S., Pepin, J., Person, M., Broadhead, R., Stone, W., Bilek, S.L., Mozley, P., and Evans, J.P., (2016) Exploring the Potential Linkages Between Oil-Field Brine Reinjection, Crystalline Basement Permeability, and Triggered Seismicity for the Dagger Draw Oil Field, Southeastern New Mexico, USA Using Hydrologic Modeling, Geofluids, doi: 10.1111/gfl.12199.

*Morton, E.A. and Bilek, S.L., (2015) Preliminary event detection of earthquakes using Cascadia Initiative data, Seismological Research Letters, v. 86, 1270-1277, 2015.

*Morton, E., and Bilek, S.L., Limited dynamic triggering in the Socorro Magma Body region, Rio Grande Rift, New Mexico, Bull. Seismo. Soc. Am., 104:2182-2193, 2014.

Wang, K. and Bilek, S.L., Invited review paper: Fault creep caused by subduction of rough seafloor relief, Tectonophysics, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tecto2013.11.024, 2013.

*El Hariri, M., Bilek, S.L., DeShon, H.R., Engdahl, E.R., and Bisrat, S., Along-strike variability of rupture duration in subduction zone earthquakes, J. Geophys. Res., doi:10.1029/2012JB009548, 2013.

Pursley, J., Bilek, S.L. and Ruhl, C., Earthquake catalogs for New Mexico and bordering areas: 2005-2009, New Mexico Geology, v. 35, no. 1, 3-12, 2013.

*Schramm, K., Patton, H., Abbott, R., Bilek, S., Pancha, A., and Asten, M., Broadband Rayleigh-wave dispersion curve and shear wave velocity structure for Yucca Flat, Nevada, Bull. Seismo. Soc. Am., 102, doi:10.1785/0120110296, 2012.

Bilek, S.L., DeShon, H.R., and Engdahl, E.R., Spatial variations in earthquake source characteristics within the 2011 Mw=9.0 Tohoku, Japan rupture zone, Geophys. Res. Lett.39, L09304, doi:10.1029/2012GL051399, 2012.

Bilek, S.L., Engdahl, E.R., DeShon, H.R., and El Hariri, M., The 25 October 2010 Sumatra tsunami earthquake: Slip in a slow patch, Geophys. Res. Lett.38, L14306,doi:10.1029/2011GL047864, 2011.

Stankova-Pursley, J., Bilek, S.L., Phillips, W.S. and Newman, A.V., Along-strike variations of earthquake apparent stress at the Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica subduction zone, Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 12, Q08002, doi:10.1029/2011GC003558, 2011.

Wang, K. and Bilek, S.L., Do subducting seamounts generate or stop earthquakes?, Geology, 39, 819-822, 2011.

*El Hariri, M., and S.L. Bilek, Stress changes and aftershock distribution of the 1994 and 2006 Java subduction zone earthquake sequences, J. Geophys. Res.,116, B06306, doi:10.1029/2010JB008124, 2011.

*Moyer, P., Bilek, S.L., and Phillips, W.S., Apparent stress variations near the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica, influenced by subducted bathymetric features, Geophys. Res. Lett., 38, L02304, doi:10.1029/2010GL045955, 2011.

*Ruhl, C., S.L. Bilek, and J. Stankova-Pursley, Relocation and characterization of the August 2009 microearthquake swarm above the Socorro Magma Body in the central Rio Grande Rift, Geophys. Res. Lett.,37, L23304, doi:10.1029/2010GL045162, 2010.

S.L. Bilek, The role of subduction erosion on seismicity, Geology, v. 38, 479-480, doi:10.1130/focus052010.1, 2010.

S.L. Bilek, C.E. Elliott, and C. Lithgow-Bertelloni, Triggered seismicity associated with the 1990 Nicoya Gulf, Costa Rica (Mw=7.0) earthquake, Geochem. Geop. Geosystems, 10, Q04S13, doi:10.1029/2008GC002317, 2009.

S.L. Bilek, Seismicity along the South American subduction zone: Large earthquakes, tsunamis, and subduction zone complexity, Tectonophysics, doi:10.1016/jtecto.2009.02.037, 2009.

Stankova-Pursley, J.*, S.L. Bilek, C.A. Rowe, and R.C. Aster, Characteristics of the October 2005 microearthquake swarm and reactivation of seismic swarms over decade-scale time periods near Socorro, New Mexico, Bulletin of Seismological Society of America, 98, 93-105, 2008.

Bilek, S.L., Using earthquake rupture variations along the Sumatra-Andaman subduction system to examine fault zone variations, Bulletin of Seismological Society of America, 97, S62-S70, 2007. Abstract

Geist, E.L., V.V. Titov, D. Arcas, F. Pollitz, and S.L. Bilek, Implications of the December 26, 2004 Sumatra-Andaman earthquake on tsunami forecast and assessment models for great subduction zone earthquakes, Bulletin of Seismological Society of America, 97, S249-S270, 2007. Abstract

Bilek, S.L., K. Satake, and K. Sieh, Introduction to the Special Issue on the 2004 Sumatra-Andaman earthquake, Bulletin of Seismological Society of America, 97, S1-S5, 2007. Extract

Bilek, S.L., Influence of subducting topography on earthquake rupture, in The Seismogenic Zone of Subduction Thrust Faults, ed. T. Dixon and C. Moore, Columbia University Press, pg. 123-146, 2007.

Lay, T., and S.L. Bilek, Anomalous earthquake ruptures at shallow depths on subduction zone megathrusts, in, The Seismogenic Zone of Subduction Thrust Faults, ed. T. Dixon and C. Moore, Columbia University Press, pg. 476-511, 2007.

Bilek, S.L., and E.R. Engdahl, Rupture characterization and relocation of aftershocks for the 1994 and 2006 tsunami earthquakes in the Java subduction zone, Geophys. Res. Lett., 34, L20311, doi:10.1029/GL031357, 2007. Abstract

Geist, E.L., S.L. Bilek, D. Arcas, C.E. Synolakis, V.V. Titov, D.H. Oppenheimer, Differences in tsunami generation between the December 26, 2004 and March 28, 2005 Sumatra earthquakes, Earth, Planets, Space, 58, 185-193, 2006. Abstract.

Lay, T., Kanamori, H., Ammon, C.J., Nettles. M., Ward, S.N., Aster, R.C., Beck, S.L., Bilek, S.L., Brudzinski, M.R., Butler, R., DeShon, H.R., Ekström, G., Satake, K., Sipkin, S. 2005, The Great Sumatra-Andaman Earthquake of 26 December 2004,Science, 308, Issue 5725, 1127-1133, 20 May 2005. Abstract.

Bilek, S.L. and C. Lithgow-Bertelloni, Stress changes in the Costa Rica subduction zone due to the 1999 Mw=6.9 Quepos earthquake, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 230, 97-112, 2005. Summary.

Bilek, S.L., C.P. Conrad, and C. Lithgow-Bertelloni, Slab pull, slab weakening, and their relationship to deep intra-slab seismicity, Geophys. Res. Lett, 32, L14305, doi:10.1029/2005GL022922, 2005.Abstract

Bilek, S.L., T. Lay, and L.J. Ruff, Radiated seismic energy and earthquake source duration variations from teleseismic source time functions for shallow subduction zone thrust earthquakes, J. Geophysical Research, 109, B09308, doi:10.1029/2004JB00309, 2004. Abstract.

Conrad, C.P., Bilek, S., Lithgow-Bertelloni, C., 2004. Great earthquakes and slab pull: interaction between seismic coupling and plate-slab coupling. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 218, 109-122. Abstract.

Bilek, S.L., S.Y. Schwartz, and H.R. DeShon. Control of seafloor roughness on earthquake rupture behavior, Geology, 31, 455-458, 2003. Abstract

DeShon, H.R., S.Y. Schwartz, S.L. Bilek, L.M. Dorman, J.M. Protti, V. Gonzalez, E.R. Flueh, and T.H. Dixon. Seismogenic zone structure of the southern Middle America Trench, Costa Rica, J. Geophys. Res., 108, 2491, doi:10.1029/2002JB002294, 2003.Abstract

Bilek, S.L. and L.J. Ruff, Analysis of the June 23, 2001 Mw=8.4 Peru underthrusting earthquake and its aftershocks, Geophys. Res. Lett, 29 (20), 1960, doi:10.1029/2002GL015543, 2002. Abstract

Bilek, S.L. and T. Lay, Tsunami earthquakes possibly widespread manifestations of frictional conditional stability, Geophys. Res. Lett., 29 (14), 1673, doi:10.1029/2002GL015215, 2002. Abstract

Geist, E.L. and S.L. Bilek, Effect of depth-dependent shear modulus on tsunami generation along subduction zones, Geophys. Res. Lett., 28, 1315-1318, 2001. Abstract

Bilek, S.L. and T. Lay, Depth dependent rupture properties in Circum-Pacific subduction zones, in GeoComplexity and the Physics of Earthquakes, AGU Geophysical Monograph 120, 165-186, 2000.

Bilek, S.L. and T. Lay, Comparison of depth dependent fault zone properties in the Japan trench and Middle America trench, Pure and Applied Geophysics, 154, 433-456, 1999. Abstract

Bilek, S.L. and T. Lay, Rigidity variations with depth along interplate megathrust faults in subduction zones, Nature, 400, 443-446, 1999. Abstract

Bilek, S.L. and T. Lay, Variation in interplate fault zone properties with depth in the Japan subduction zone, Science, 281, 1175-1178, 1998. Abstract

Bilek, S.L. and T. Lay, Lower mantle heterogeneity beneath Eurasia imaged by parametric migration of shear waves, Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors, 108, 201-218, 1998. Summary

Brocher, T.M., S.L. Bilek, R.W. Clayton, G.S. Fuis, and D.A. Okaya, Stacked wide-angle recordings of air-gun signals from the 1994 Los Angeles Region Seismic Experiment (LARSE), California, USGS Open File Report 97-132, 1997.