The research group is always changing as students and post-docs start and eventually finish research projects. Below you will find:

Current Members

With my return from sabbatical, as of January 2019, we are in a group building phase. In February post-doc Menno Fraters (PhD, Utrecht University 2019) joined the group as a post-doctoral scholar. Menno is working on the development of Lattice-preferred orientation in simulations of subduction using the software code Aspect. Haoyuan Li  and Becky Fildes joined in September as a new PhD students. Haoyuan completed his MS at Peking University with a project on the role of ilmenite in mantle convection on the moon. Becky Fildes has completed projects on caldera collapse seismicity at Kilauea (with Louise Kellogg as her advisor).  I am continuing to recruit new graduate and undergraduate students to work on problems related to  many different parts of the subduction dynamics problem.

  • Menno Fraters (Post-doctoral Scholar; PhD Utrecht University)
  • Haoyuan Li (PhD Student; MS, Peking University)
  • Becky Fildes (PhD Student)

Magali’s Bio 

Here is a recent resume with everything I’ve been up to billen_resume_prof (last updated June, 2021).

I can’t say that I always knew I’d be a geophysicist, but growing up in San Diego, I got the chance to feel a few earthquakes and wonder. I did my bachelor’s degree in physics at the University of Puget Sound and then decided geophysics would give me a chance to pursue the mechanics-type physics I really enjoyed. I did my PhD (1995-2001) at Caltech with Michael Gurnis, but I also worked with Joann Stock and Mark Simons. Following my PhD did two post-docs, first at the University of Leeds in England working with Dr. Greg Houseman (2001-2002), and then  at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI) in Massachusetts working with Dr. Greg Hirth and Dr. Peter Kelemen (2002-2003).

I started my time at UC Davis as an assistant professor in 2003. I was promoted to associate professor in 2008 (tenure – yeah!!), and then to a full professor in 2015. I was also a visiting scholar at Northwestern University in 2009 and at LMU in Munich, Germany in 2016-2017.

While at UC Davis I’ve worked on a variety of research projects, mainly funded by the National Science Foundation.

I have also started three special projects outside of work:

The Lucas project started in 2011, followed by a twin project, Eliane and Sophie, starting in 2013. These on-going projects make me happy no matter which code is not working, whether I got funding for my last proposal or whether my last talk or lecture went as well as I’d hope. There’s a picture of the three little monsters below…

Previous Members

Graduate Students

  • Lucas, Eliane and Sophie climbing to the top of Wallberg in southern Germany. August, 2017.

    Katrina Arredondo (PhD, 2016; NSF-EAR, Geophysics):  Effects of Phase Transitions on Slab Dynamics.

  • John Bikoba (MS, 2015, NSF-EAR,Geophysics):  Shear Instability as a Viable Mechanism for Deep Seismicity and Evidence for Slab Detachment caused by a Secondary Plume in the Tonga Subduction Zone.
  • Joy Hines (MS, 2011, NSF-EAR, CAREER): Determining Sensitivity of Geoid to Viscosity Structure in Subduction Zones.
  • Erin Burkett (PhD, 2010, NSF-EAR, Geophysics):  Dynamics of Slab Detachment.
  • Margarete Jadamec (PhD, 2008, NSF-EAR, Tectonics): Geodynamic Framework for the Tectonic Trigger of Late Neogene Deformation in Southern Alaska.

Post-Doctoral Scholars

  • Pierre-Andre Arrial (2009-2012,NSF-EAR, CAREER): Numerical simulations of oceanic plateau subduction.
  • John Naliboff (2010-2012,NSF-EAR, CAREER): Numerical Simulations of outer-rise faulting.

Undergraduate Researchers

  • Hanna Tears (2016-2017): Using Interactive and Immersive 3D visualization to identify anomalous structures in the seismicity of subducting lithosphere.
  • Sarah Moon (2015-2016): Statistical analysis of outer-rise fault characteristics.
  • Timothy Nelson (2015-2016): Convection models (2D) in Aspect exploring how bottom boundary conditions affect the geometry of convecting cells.
  • Christina Zabalza (2013): comparing trench and plate motions in different reference frames.
  • Jessie Saunders (2010-2012):  Creating 3D visualization to aid in learning to visualizer subsurface geologic structures.
  • Magali with students/postdocs at camp near Castle Crags (Fall Field Trip, 2006)

    Katrina Arredondo (2007-2009): Visualizing 3D strain patterns in subducting slabs from earthquake moment tensor solutions; estimates of plate strength in subduction zones from trench-parallel gravity-bathymetry admittance. 

  • Matt O’Banion (2008; post-graduation, junior specialist): Testing and writing documentation for the new software (written by Marek Vanco) to create slab surfaces from noisy point set data (earthquakes). 
  • Alex Snyder (2007-2008): Locating appropriate marine geophysical data for flexural analysis study of plate bending in subduction zones.
  • Eric Buer (2005): Stress orientations on faults in subduction zones.