Academic Profile

Academic Profile

Asst Prof Sylvain Barbot

Nanyang Assistant Professor (NRF)

Asian School of the Environment
College of Science

Phone: (+65)6592 3195
Office: N2-01c-50

  • PhD (Earth Sciences) University of California, San Diego 2009
  • MS (Earth Sciences) University of California, San Diego 2007
  • MS (Geophysics) Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris 2005
Asst. Prof. Sylvain Barbot is studying the mechanical properties of the lithosphere and faults through a combination of geodetic observations and modeling. For his PhD work, at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego, he developed a theory to represent the short-term tectonic deformation processes accompanying earthquakes, glacier retreat, lake drainage and monsoon. His approach is implemented in “relax”, a software used, maintained and developed by the scientific community.
As a post-doctoral scholar at the California Institute of Technology, he tested the possibility of developing physical models of earthquakes that have predictive power. To that end, he developed a model of the Parkfield segment of the San Andreas Fault that incorporate the full history of faulting, including the dynamic rupture of magnitude 6 events and the slow deformation that takes place between earthquakes.
His long-term goal is to create physical models of tectonic margins evolution that can inform quantitatively of natural hazards, such as earthquakes, tsunamis and sea level rise.
Research Interests
The goal of my research is to develop a physics-based model of the earthquake cycle to assess the full range of seismic behavior that can be expected across a plate boundary.
I use remote sensing (synthetic aperture radar, GPS, optical photographs, gravity) and seismological data to investigate the mechanics the lithosphere and fault slip. These measurements can be used to constrain models of rupture and lithosphere dynamics, which include faulting, but also more distributed deformation, such as poroelastic and viscoelastic flow. An important goal of my research is to reconcile long-term (regional tectonics) and short-term (earthquake dynamics) observations and improve our capacity to predict some aspect of the earthquake cycle.
Research Grant
  • Academic Research Fund Tier 1 (2017-) [by MOE]
  • Academic Research Fund Tier 1 (2017-) [by Ministry of Education (MOE)]
  • MOE Grant (2017-) [by Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS)]
  • NRF Research Fellowship (2013-)
Current Projects
  • Earthquake physics: Dynamics of the lithosphere-asthenosphere system
  • LIthospheric strength
  • Mapping a continuum of slow-slip regimes by rock frictional sliding
  • Period-multiplying slow slip as a precursor to induced earthquakes
  • Physics-Based and Data-Driven Predictive Modelling of the Earthquake Cycle in Sumatra
Selected Publications
  • Moore, J. D. P., H. Yu, C.-H. Tang, T. Wang, S. Barbot, D. Peng, S. Masuti, J. Dauwels, Y. Hsu, V. Lambert, P. Nanjundiah, S. Wei, E. O. Lindsey, L. Feng, B. Shibazaki. (2017). Imaging the distribution of transient viscosity after the 2016 Mw 7.1 Kumamoto earthquake. Science, 356(6334), 163-167.
  • Barbot S, Moore JDP, Lambert V. (2017). Displacement and Stress Associated with Distributed Anelastic Deformation in a Half‐Space. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 107(2), 821-855.
  • Singh SC, Hananto N, Qin Y, Leclerc F, Avianto P, Tapponnier PE, Carton H, Wei S, Nugroho AB, Gemilang WA, Sieh K, Barbot S. (2017). The discovery of a conjugate system of faults in the Wharton Basin intraplate deformation zone. Science Advances, 3(1).
  • Lambert V, Barbot S. (2017). Contribution of viscoelastic flow in earthquake cycles within the lithosphere‐asthenosphere system. Geophysical Research Letters, 43(19).
  • Louisa L. H. Tsang, Emma M. Hill, Sylvain Barbot, Qiang Qiu, Lujia Feng, Iwan Hermawan, Paramesh Banerjee, and Danny H. Natawidjaja. (2016). Afterslip following the 2007 Mw 8.4 Bengkulu earthquake in Sumatra loaded the 2010 Mw 7.8 Mentawai tsunami earthquake rupture zone. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth, 121(12), 9034-9049.

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