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Xiaowei Chen

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Xiaowei Chen

Lissa and Cy Wagner Professor
Associate Professor


Ph.D., Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California
B.S., University of Science and Technology of China

Office: SEC 854
Fax: 405-325-3140

Faculty Webpage

Area of Interest

Earthquake Seismology
Earthquake Triggering
Induced Seismicity


My research has been focused on earthquake seismology, and study regions range from distant glacier termini to densely populated urban areas. I used a variety of seismological tools to try to understand what causes earthquakes to start, what influences the source process and seismicity pattern, how earthquakes interact with each other, and whether small earthquakes are related to larger events. I am especially interested in the influences of fluid and anthropogenic activities. Over the next few years, my goals are to work on a series of projects on earthquake behaviors related to industry operations, tectonic and volcanic processes. 

Courses Taught

GPHY 1103 Adventures in Geophysics
GPHY 4413/5413 Global Geophysics
GPHY 4970 Intro to Seismology
GPHY 4970 Induced/Triggered Seismicity
GPHY 6970 Observational Seismology

Selected References


Ortega, A.*, Walter, J. I., Chen, X. & Carpenter, B. (2021) Spatially Distinct Tectonic Zones Across Oklahoma Inferred from Shear Wave Splitting, SRL, link.

Ortega, A*., & Chen, X. (2021) Spatiotemporal Clustering of Seismicity during the 2018 Kilauea Volcanic Eruption, GRL, link.

Patel, S., Marfurt, K., Kolawole, F., Walter, J. and Chen, X., (2021) Seismic illumination of small-offset seismogenic faults, Anadarko Basin, Oklahoma, Interpretation, link.

Pennington, C.*, Chen, X., Abercrombie, R.E, and Wu, Q. (2021) Cross Validation of Stress Drop Estimates and Interpretations for the 2011 Prague, OK, Earthquake Sequence Using Multiple Methods, JGR, link.


Abercrombie, R E., Chen, X. and Zhang, J*. (2020) Repeating Earthquakes with Remarkably Repeatable Ruptures on the San Andreas Fault at Parkfield, GRL, doi: 10.1029/2020GL089820, Link.

Deng, K., Liu, Y. and Chen, X. (2020) Correlation Between Poroelastic Stress Perturbation and Multi-disposal Wells Induced Earthquake Sequence in Cushing, Oklahoma, GRL, doi: 10.1029/2020GL089366, Link.

Chen, X., and Abercrombie, R. E. (2020). Improved approach for stress drop estimation and its application to an induced earthquake sequence in Oklahoma, Geophysical Journal International, Link.


Qin, Y.*, Chen, X., Walter, J., Haffener, J., Trugman, D., Carpenter, B. M., Weingarten, M., Kolawole, F. (2019). Deciphering the stress state of seismogenic faults in Oklahoma and southern Kansas based on an improved stress map. Journal of Geophysical Research – Solid Earth. 10.1029/2019JB018377, Link.

Rosson, Z.*, Walter, J. I., Goebel, T., & Chen, X. (2019). Narrow spatial aftershock zones for induced earthquake sequences in Oklahoma. Geophysical Research Letters, 46, 10,358–10,366., Link.

Zhai, G., Shirzaei, M., Manga, M., & Chen, X. (2019) Pore pressure diffusion, enhanced by poroelastic stresses, controls induced seismicity in Oklahoma, PNAS, Link.

Wu, Q*., Chen, X., & Abercrombie, R. E. (2019). Source complexity of the 2015 Mw 4.0 Guthrie, Oklahoma earthquake. Geophysical Research Letters, 46. 2019GL082690, Link


Qin, Y.*, Chen, X., Carpenter, B. M., & Kolawole, F. (2018). Coulomb stress transfer influences fault reactivation in areas of wastewater injection. Geophysical Research Letters, 45. Link

Justin R. Sweet, Kent R. Anderson, Susan Bilek, Michael Brudzinski, Xiaowei Chen, Heather DeShon, Chris Hayward, Marianne Karplus, Katie Keranen, Charles Langston, Fan‐Chi Lin, M. Beatrice Magnani, and Robert L. Woodward (2018), A community experiment to record the full seismic wavefield in Oklahoma, Seismological Research Letters, Link

Haffener, J.*, Chen, X., & Murray, K. (2018). Multiscale analysis of spatiotemporal relationship between injection and seismicity in Oklahoma. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 123, 8711–8731. Link

Cheng, Y.*, and Chen, X. (2018), Characteristics of seismicity inside and outside the Salton Sea Geothermal Field, BSSA, Link

Chen, X., Haffener, J.*, Goebel, T. H. W., Meng, X., Peng, Z., & Chang, J. C. (2018). Temporal correlation between seismic moment and injection volume for an induced earthquake sequence in central Oklahoma. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 123. Link.

Wu, Q.*, M. Chapman and X. Chen (2018), Stress Drop Variations of Induced Earthquakes in Oklahoma, BSSA, Link.

Pei, S., Z. Peng and X. Chen (2018), Locations of injection-induced earthquakes in Oklahoma controlled by crustal structures, J. Geophys. Res., Link.


Heather M Savage, James D Kirkpatrick, James J Mori, Emily E Brodsky, William L Ellsworth, Brett M Carpenter, Xiaowei Chen, Frédéric Cappa, Yasuyuki Kano (2017), Scientific Exploration of Induced Seismicity and Stress (SEISMS), Link.

Chen, X., Nakata, N., Pennington, C*., Haffener, J.*, Chang, J. C., He, X., Zhan, Z., Ni, S., & Walter, J. I. (2017), The Pawnee earthquake as a result of the interplay among injection, faults, and foreshocks, Scientific Reports, Link.

Goebel, T. W., M. Weingarten, X. Chen, J. Haffener* and E. Brodsky (2017), The 2016 Mw5.1 Fairview, Oklahoma earthquakes: evidence for long-range poroelastic triggering at >40 km from fluid disposal wells, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Link.

Chen, X. and N. Nakata (2017), Preface to the Focus section on the 3 September 2016 Pawnee, Oklahoma Earthquake, Seismological Research Letters, doi: 10.1785/0220170078. Link

Pennington, C.* and X. Chen (2017), Coulomb stress interactions during the Mw5.8 Pawnee sequence, Seismological Research Letters, 88(4), doi:10.1785/0220170011. Link

Zhang, Q., G. Lin, Z. Zhan, X. Chen, Y. Qin*, and S. Wdowinski (2017), Absence of remote earthquake triggering within the Coso and Salton Sea geothermal production fields, Geophys. Res. Lett., 44, 726–733, doi:10.1002/2016GL071964. Link


Chen, X., and J. J. McGuire (2016), Measuring earthquake source parameters in the Mendocino triple junction region using a dense OBS array: Implications for fault strength variations, Earth and Planetary Science Letters. Link


Chen, X., and P. M. Shearer (2015), Analysis of foreshock sequences in California and implications for earthquake triggering, Pure and Applied Geophysics. Link


Toomey, D.R., R.M. Allen, A.H. Barclay, S.W. Bell, P.D. Bromirski, R.L. Carlson, X. Chen, J.A. Collins, R.P. Dziak, B. Evers, D.W. Forsyth, P. Gerstoft, E.E.E. Hooft, D. Livelybrooks, J.A. Lodewyk, D.S. Luther, J.J. McGuire, S.Y. Schwartz, M. Tolstoy, A.M. Tréhu, M. Weirathmueller, and W.S.D. Wilcock. (2014). The Cascadia Initiative: A sea change in seismological studies of subduction zones. Oceanography 27(2):138–150, Link.


Chen, X., and P. M. Shearer (2013), California foreshock sequences suggest aseismic triggering process, Geophysical Research Letters. Link.

Haukkson, E., J. Stock, R. Bilham, M. Boese, X. Chen, M. Boese, E. J. Fielding, J. Galetzka, K. W. Hudnut, K. Hutton, L. M. Jones, H. Kanamori, P. M. Shearer, J. Steidl, J. Treiman, S. Wei, W. Yang (2013), Report on the August 2012 Brawley earthquake swarm in Imperial Valley, Southern California, Seismological Research Letters. Link


Chen, X., P. M. Shearer, and R. E. Abercrombie (2012), Spatial migration of earthquakes within seismic clusters in Southern California: Evidence for fluid diffusion, J. Geophys. Res., 117, B04301, doi:10.1029/2011JB008973. Link


Chen, X., and P. M. Shearer (2011), Comprehensive analysis of earthquake source spectra and swarms in the Salton Trough, California, J. Geophys. Res., 116, doi:10.1029/2011JB008263. Link

Chen, X., P. M. Shearer, F. Walter, and H. A. Fricker (2011), Seventeen Antarctic seismic events detected by global surface waves and a possible link to calving events from satellite images, J. Geophys. Res., 116, doi: 10.1029/2011JB008262. Link