Ossian O'Reilly, Visiting PhD student

I am PhD student in Geophysics, Stanford University and in Computational Mathemathics, Linköping University, Sweden. My advisors are Eric M. Dunham (Stanford) and Jan Nordström (Linkoping University). I am expected to graduate in the end of 2016. In my research I focus on the development of high-order numerical methods for wave propagation in solids containing faults and fluid-filled fractures.

Researchgate Google Scholar Github

The following paragraphs explains more about my research that I conducted during my PhD. It is the abstract of my PhD thesis (work in progress).

This thesis develops numerical methods for the simulation of wave propagation in solids containing faults and fluid-filled fractures. These techniques have applications in earthquake hazard analysis, seismic imaging of reservoirs, and volcano seismology. A central component of this work is the coupling of mechanical systems. This aspect involves the coupling of both ordinary differential equations (ODE)s and partial differential equations (PDE)s along curved interfaces. All of these problems satisfy a mechanical energy balance. This mechanical energy balance is mimicked by the numerical scheme using high-order accurate difference approximations that satisfy the principle of summation by parts, and by weakly enforcing the coupling conditions.

The first part of the thesis considers the simulation of dynamic earthquake ruptures along non-planar fault geometries and the simulation of seismic wave radiation from earthquakes, when the earthquakes are idealized as point moment tensor sources. The dynamic earthquake rupture process is simulated by coupling the elastic wave equation at a fault interface to nonlinear ODEs that describe the fault mechanics. The fault geometry is complex and treated by combining structured and unstructured grid techniques. In other applications, when the earthquake source dimension is smaller than wavelengths of interest, the earthquake can be accurately described by a point moment tensor source localized at a single point. The numerical challenge is to discretize the point source with high-order accuracy and without producing spurious oscillations.

The second part of the thesis presents a numerical method for wave propagation in and around fluid-filled fractures. This problem requires the coupling of the elastic wave equation to a fluid inside curved and branching fractures in the solid. The fluid model is a lubrication approximation that incorporates fluid inertia, compressibility, and viscosity. The fracture geometry can have local irregularities such as constrictions and tapered tips. The numerical method discretizes the fracture geometry by using curvilinear multiblock grids and applies implicit-explicit time stepping to isolate and overcome stiffness arising in the semi-discrete equations from viscous diffusion terms, fluid compressibility, and the particular enforcement of the fluid-solid coupling conditions. This numerical method is applied to study the interaction of waves in a fracture-conduit system. A methodology to constrain fracture geometry for oil and gas (hydraulic fracturing) and volcano seismology applications is proposed.

The third part of the thesis extends the summation-by-parts methodology to staggered grids. This extension reduces numerical dispersion and enables the formulation of stable and high-order accurate multiblock discretizations for wave equations in first order form on staggered grids. Finally, the summation-by-parts methodology on staggered grids is further extended to second derivatives and used for the treatment of coordinate singularities in axisymmetric wave propagation.