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Rebekah Lee

About meprofile

I am in my second year of study for a Master of Science degree in geophysics. I have a B.A. in English and International Studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. I taught English as a Second Language for five years after my bachelor’s degree. From 2013 – 2015 I took undergraduate level courses in math, physics and geology at North Carolina State University. I started my current studies at Boise State University in August of 2015. I am also currently serving as the president of the Boise State SEG student chapter.

About my Research

My thesis project is to image the surface area of vertical displacement from high magnitude (above magnitude 7) earthquakes on the surface. I am using an electromagnetic wave that is created when a pressure wave propagates through the atmosphere and couples with the ionosphere.

Upcoming Presentations and Abstract

I will present a poster at AGU 2016 fall meeting entitled “Imaging earthquake rupture on the surface from backprojection Ionospheric Signals”.


Earthquakes greater than magnitude 6 and tsunamis create vertical displacements at the Earth’s surface which radiate energy into the atmosphere as a pressure wave. The pressure wave couples with the ionosphere to create an electromagnetic wave that disturbs the electron density in the ionosphere. Extensive research from the past 20 years has shown that we can detect these disturbances in the electron density through a variety of methods, including global navigation space systems (GNSS).  This method measures an integrated value of the total electron content (TEC) between a satellite-receiver pair.

While much work has been done to detect and model these ionospheric disturbances, little has been done to image the source. Backprojection is a method in seismology used to image energy released from large earthquakes. Backprojecting directly from the TEC is complicated by polarity changes during the coupling with the ionosphere as well as by the moving satellite. We resolve these obstacles by inverting the TEC to obtain the atmospheric pressure wave. We show results of inversion for synthetic and real data. We then use the ionospheric TEC response associated with the 2011 Van dip-slip event (Mw 7.1) and backproject the pressure wave. We compare these acoustic back projection results to the backprojection of the raw TEC. Finally, we address the effect of the wind on travel times.

Honors and Awards

  • Participant in the SEG/Chevron Student Leadership Symposium, Dallas, Tx, October 2016
  • Allan V. Cox Student Research Award (GSA Geophysics special award), 2016
  • GSA Graduate Student Research Grant Recipient, 2016
  • Invited talk at Rio Grande Valley Geophysical Society, Albuquerque, NM,  August 2016
  • Intern at Sandia National Labs, Albuquerque, NM, summer 2016
  • Participant in SEG/ExxonMobil Student Education Program, New Orleans, 2015
  • Participant: Summer of Applied Geophysical Experience (SAGE), Santa Fe, New Mexico, summer 2015
  • 2nd place award at NC State McCormick Symposium, Raleigh, NC, April 2015
  • American Association for University Women (AAUW) Career Development Grant (2014 – 2015)
  • Intern for Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS), summer 2014
    • Placed at Sandia National Labs, Albuquerque, NM

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