2012-2013 Distinguished Lecturer – Nathan Bangs

Nathan Bangs

University of Texas at Austin

2012-2013 Distinguished Lecturer 



Seeing What’s at Fault in Subduction Zones: Examining Great Earthquake Megathrusts




International efforts are currently underway to investigate the mechanics of plate-boundary megathrusts in subduction zones and unravel the secrets of megathrust earthquakes.  Ninety percent of Earth’s seismic energy is released at subduction zones, which host the world’s largest and most destructive earthquakes and tsunamis. Two major drilling efforts, the NanTroSEIZE project offshore southwestern Japan, and the CRISP project offshore Costa Rica, are underway to drill the subduction thrust to investigate two fundamentally different subduction zone settings; one dominated by accretion and the other dominated by erosion. Drilling these fault zones will provide a detailed look at the structures, rock properties, rock diagenesis and fluid flow processes associated with the subduction thrust. By combining these results with 3D seismic reflection imaging we can begin to characterize broad areas of earthquake rupture zones. I will present a 3D dimensional look at the internal structure of these subduction zones and summarize some of the key results of these programs so far in our efforts to understand great earthquakes and tsunamis


I have sailed on four ODP drilling legs, Leg 141 (offshore S. Chile), Leg 171A, Leg 196, and Leg 204. I have served on USSAC, Site Survey Panel, and SSEPs.






  • September 27-29, 2012 – Stony Brook University; Stony Brook, NY
  • October 3-4, 2012 – University of Washington; Seattle, WA
  • November 12-13, 2012 – Dickinson College; Carlisle, PA
  • November 15-16, 2012 – Indiana University of Pennsylvania; Indiana, PA
  • February 28, 2013 – University of New Hampshire; Durham, NH
  • March 8, 2013 – University of Alaska; Fairbanks, AK
  • April 4, 2013 – University of Texas at El Paso; El Paso, TX