Oregon State University

Jason Patton

Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences: Marine Geology & Geophysics
Degree Sought: 
Ph.D. in Marine Geology & Geophysics
Research Adviser: 
Dr. Chris Goldfinger, Marine Geology & Geophysics
Research Topic: 
Paleoseismology of the Sunda subduction zones offshore Sumatra


Jason R. Patton is working with Chris Goldfinger in the Active Tectonics and Seafloor Mapping Lab. Patton is investigating the paleoseismology of the Sunda subduction zone offshore Sumatra by looking at sediment cores. A subduction zone is a plate tectonic boundary in which one plate is “subducting” beneath another plate, generating earthquakes and tsunamis as the plates stick and slip aside each other. Within these cores are turbidites (submarine landslide deposits) that are thought to be related to strong ground shaking during earthquakes on the subduction zone faults. Patton selected coring sites from a 1,600 km coring transect offshore Sumatra in 2007 on a research cruise aboard the Research Vessel, R/V Roger Revelle. Patton is using radiocarbon based age control to develop space-time relations for earthquakes in this region.

On his spare time, Patton works on terrestrial based paleoseismology at the southern part of the Cascadia subduction zone in northern California. He is often found in the coastal marshes, where he worked on his master’s thesis at Humboldt State University , looking for evidence of past earthquakes and tsunamis. Patton is also a co-founder of the non-profit organization, Cascadia GeoSciences , created to promote multi-disciplinary earth science based research, restoration, education, and outreach. The organization’s first educational project consists of a suite of scholarship programs for undergraduate and graduate students. Its first research project will take place in northern California and will evaluate the interseismic (“in-between”) ground deformation of the Cascadia subduction zone earthquakes in order to evaluate the region of “locking” of the subduction zone fault. Results will also help determine how global sea-level rise is modified by this ground deformation, permitting coastal land managers to decide how to develop their plans for future sea-level rise.

Patton also works actively with the Redwood Coast Tsunami Workgroup  in an effort to raise awareness and help emergency responders to prepare for the future earthquake and tsunami originating from the Cascadia subduction zone. As a member of Cascadia GeoSciences, he prepared the first tsunami hazard maps for northern California that were distributed en masse in local newspapers. As the state of California prepared their tsunami inundation maps, Patton was solicited as a local expert and is recognized on these maps.

View the cruise report from Jason Patton's research cruise aboard the R/V Roger Revelle Research Vessel.


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