Semechah Lui

Semechah Lui

Ph.D. | Assistant Professor | Earth Science | Applied Geophysics

Research Areas:

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Seismology and Earthquake physics


Research Profile:

The primary focus of our group is to understand earthquake physics and fault processes. We apply both data- and model-driven approaches to explore the complex physical mechanisms that drive such devastating phenomenon. Some specific topics of interest include characterizing earthquake source processes, earthquake triggering and interactions, and fault rupture dynamics. Recently we have extended our work from tectonic earthquakes to induced seismicity, i.e. earthquakes not caused by any natural processes but by human activities. Many key questions about induced seismicity remain unanswered, for example: Are there identifiable differences between induced and tectonic earthquakes? What is the major factor controlling the triggering mechanism between fluid and surrounding rocks? Does aseismic slip assume an important role in the triggering of induced earthquakes? Can induced earthquakes, typically small to moderate in size, trigger much larger events? We seek answers to these questions through seismic data analysis, numerical simulations of seismogenic fault behavior, and laboratory-scale rock experiments. The long-term goal is to develop physics-based earthquake models and methodologies that can contribute to natural/induced seismic hazard mitigation and earthquake prediction.

There are currently open positions in the group for graduate and undergraduate students. Interested candidates should send inquiries by email to

Courses Taught:

ERS101H5, ERS303H5, and ERS403H5 (undergraduate); CIV1499H1 (graduate)


R. Mandal and S. K. Y. Lui, Interdependent effects of fluid injection parameters on triggered aseismic slip and seismicity, Scientific Reports12(1), 20922 (2022).

S. K. Y. Lui, Y. Huang, and R.P. Young, The role of fluid pressure-induced aseismic slip in earthquake cycle modulation, Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 126, e2020JB021196 (2021).

S. K. Y. Lui and Y. Huang, Do injection-induced earthquakes rupture away from injection wells due to fluid pressure change?, Bull. Seismol. Soc. Am., 109 (1), 358-371 (2019).

S. K. Y. Lui and N. Lapusta, Modeling high stress drops, scaling, interaction, and irregularity of repeating microearthquake sequences near Parkfield, J. Geophys. Res., 123(12), 10-854, doi: 10.1029/2018JB016472 (2018).

S. K. Y. Lui, D. V. Helmberger, J. Yu and S. Wei. Rapid assessment of earthquake source characteristics, Bull. Seismol. Soc. Am., 106 (6), 2490-2499 (2016).

S. K. Y. Lui and N. Lapusta, Repeating microearthquake sequences interact predominantly through postseismic slip, Nature Communications, 7(1), 13020 (2016).

S. K. Y. Lui, D. V. Helmberger, S. Wei, Y. Huang and R. W. Graves. Interrogation of the megathrust zone in the Tohoku-Oki seismic region by waveform complexity: Intraslab earthquake rupture and reactivation of subducted normal faults, Pure Appl. Geophys., 172 (12), 3425-3437 (2015).