Louise H. Kellogg

Picture of Louise

Professor of Geophysics
Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences
University of California
Davis, CA 95616

e-mail: kellogg (at) ucdavis.edu


Louise Kellogg is Professor of Geophysics at the University of California, Davis. Her research focuses on understanding the dynamics of the solid Earth and similar planets, focusing on understanind mantle convection and crustal deformation using computational models that are rooted in observation. Her research explores the physical processes driving mantle convection, the origins and scales of heterogeneity in the mantle, and the geochemical evolution of the planet through deep time. To address the large, complex datasets emerging in the geosciences, she established the W. M. Keck Center for Active Visualization in Earth Sciences (KeckCAVES). Through the KeckCAVES, her research expanded to include interactive visualization of data from natural disaster sites, reconstructing paleoocean flow, using virtual reality and augmented reality for research and outreach, and related topics. In 2010, she became the director of the Computational Infrastructure for Geodynamics (CIG), funded by the National Science Foundation to advance geophysics research through development and dissemination of high quality, open-source, scientific software. CIG's mission also includes preparing a cyberenbabled workforce by preparing geoscientists to use advanced computational methods, establishing partnerships between geoscientists, computational scientists, and mathematicians, and facilitating access to high performance computing for geophysics research. She was Department Chair for more than a decade, during which time the department grew into one of the top departments of geological sciences in the US for excellence and diversity in research and teaching.

Curriculum Vitae

Partial list of publications

Google Scholar

ORCID ID: 0000-0001-5874-0472

Research ID: J-2171-2012


Computational Infrastructure for Geodynamics

W. M. Keck Center for Active Visualization in Earth Sciences (KeckCAVES)

Deep Carbon Observatory Modeling and Visualization

Augmented Reality Sandbox (AR Sandbox)

Teaching: Fall 2016: GEL 17: Earthquakes and other Earth Hazards


Cat in the Hat

The primary focus of my research is on understanding the flow in the Earth's mantle that drives plate tectonics, and observing and interpreting deformation in the Earth's crust. Within these broad catagories are a variety of projects:


Mantle convection: At the elevated pressures and temperatures in the Earth's deep interior, rock responds to stress by slow, creeping flow. This flow drives plate tectonics, mountain building, earthquakes, and volcanic activity. Because the mantle is inaccessible to direct observation, we must use a variety of remote techniques and modeling to study mantle convection. At U.C.Davis, we use numerical methods to model aspects of mantle convection.

Image of stress tensor in damaged plate

Earthquake Physics and Crustal deformation :
Understanding the behavior of the crust is essential to assessing seismic hazard of faults. It is important to know, for instance, what deformation takes place during the years between earthquakes on seismogenic faults. Yet, because large earthquakes occur relatively infrequently and because the rate of motion is small, the earthquake cycle remains poorly understood. Using space-based methods such as Global Positioning System (GPS), it has recently become possible to measure small motions in the Earth's crust inexpensively and quickly. Combining geodetic measurements with numerical modeling of deformation in the crust is enabling us to understand the way faults behave and how they interact. keckcaves

Visualization of geoscience data in an immersive environment: We are developing methods of interactive visualization, with a special focus on using immersive virtual reality (VR) environments to interact with models of Earth’s surface and interior. Virtual mapping tools allow virtual “field studies” in regions that are inaccessible to human geologists. Interactive tools allow us to manipulate shapes, while feature extraction tools support quantitative measurement of structures that emerge from numerical simulation. Visualizing stress and strain in high-resolution computer simulations of elastic-plastic deformation improves our interpretation of the dynamical processes that drive earthquakes. Reaping the full intellectual benefits of immersive VR requires us to tailor our approach to scientific problems that build on the visualization method's strengths, including both 3D perception and interaction with data and models, to take advantage of the skills and training of the geological scientists exploring their data in the VR environment. In doing so, we are developing a suite of tools that areadaptable to a range of problems.
UCD1 CORS permanent GPS site

A few other activities

Arts events in and around Davis

Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts
Pamela Trokanski Dance Theatre

Favorite Modern Dance Companies:

Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company
Mark Morris Dance Group
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Resources for Diversity and Excellence in Geosciences

American Geosciences Institute 500 Women Scientists
Association for Women Geoscientists
Earth Science Women's Network

Arts collaboration

COLLAPSE: Suddenly Falling Down, a performance at the Mondavi Center by Della Davidson's SideShow Physical Theater featuring a unique Art-Science-Technology collaboration, October-November 2007. This performance was part of the Mondavi Center's 2007 Creativity Project.

June 8, 2007, report in Dateline
October 12, 2007, report Dateline
Podcast by Della Davidson
Blending Art and Science: Collapse (suddenly falling down), published in Leonardo

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