John Elliott

John Elliott

Visiting Fellow

My research addresses where and how the Earth’s crust accommodates and releases tectonic stress. I achieve this through measuring the deformation of the crust using satellite geodesy, and integrating these measurements with seismology, remote sensing and field studies of active faulting.

I want to understand the relationship between earthquakes, crustal deformation and landscape evolution. In particular, I am interested in addressing the problems of faults and earthquakes:
a) as a natural hazard and;
b) as a key mechanism for the growth of mountains and the role they play in shaping the deformation of the continents over geological time.

I use the latest Earth Observation technologies that provide big, high resolution datasets over a large spatial extent to make precise measurements of wide-scale active tectonic processes. I want to change the way seismic hazard and risk associated with distributed deformation is assessed as a critical step towards the goal of improving earthquake forecasting for societies living in tectonically active regions. I also want to relate current observations of active tectonics to what is recorded in the longer term geological record to constrain the evolution of the Earth’s crust.


[30] Elliott, J. R., R. Jolivet, P. Gonzalez, J.-P. Avouac, J. Hollingsworth, M. Searle & V. Stevens (2016), Himalayan Megathrust Geometry and Relation to Topography Revealed by the Gorkha Earthquake, Nature Geoscience, 9, 174-180, doi:10.1038/NGEO2623.


[29] Nissen, E. K., Elliott, J. R., R. A. Sloan, T. J. Craig, G. J. Funning, A. Hutko, B. E. Parsons & T. J. Wright (2016), Dynamic triggering of an earthquake doublet exposes limitations to rupture forecasting, Nature Geoscience, doi:10.1038/NGEO2653


[28] Zhou, Y., B. Parsons, J. R. Elliott, I. Barisin & R. T. Walker (2015), Assessing the ability of Pleiades stereo imagery to determine height changes in earthquakes: a case study for the El Mayor-Cucapah epicentral area, Journal of Geophysical Research, 120, 8793-8808, doi:10.1002/2015JB012358


[27] Elliott, J. R., E. Bergman, A. C. Copley, A. R. Ghods, E. K. Nissen, B. Oveisi, M. Tatar, R. J. Walters & F. Yamini-Fard (2015), The 2013 Mw 6.2 Khaki-Shonbe (Iran) Earthquake: insights into seismic and aseismic shortening of the Zagros sedimentary cover, Earth & Space Sciences, 2, 435-471, doi:10.1002/2015EA000098.


[26] Walker, R. T. & K.Wegmann, A. Bayasgalan, R. Carson, J. R. Elliott, M. Fox, E. K. Nissen & R. A. Sloan (2015), The Egiin Davaa prehistoric rupture, central Mongolia: a large magnitude normal faulting earthquake on a reactivated fault with little cumulative slip located in a slowly deforming intraplate setting, Seismicity, Fault Rupture and Earthquake Hazards in Slowly Deforming Regions, Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 432, doi:10.1144/SP432.4.


[25] Copley, A., E. Karasozen, B. Oveisi, J. R. Elliott, S. Samsonov & E. K. Nissen (2015), Seismogenic faulting of the sedimentary sequence and laterally-variable material properties in the Zagros Mountains (Iran) revealed by the August 2014 Murmuri (Dehloran) earthquake sequence, Geophysical Journal International, 203, 1436-1459, doi:10.1093/gji/ggv365.


[24] Campbell, G. E., R. T. Walker, K. Abdrakhmatov, J. Jackson, J. R. Elliott, D. Mackenzie, T. Middleton & J. -L. Schwenninger (2015), Great earthquakes in low-strain-rate continental interiors: an example from SE Kazakhstan, Journal of Geophysical Research, 120, 5507-5534, doi:10.1002/2015JB011925.


[23] Zhou, Y., J. R. Elliott, R. T. Walker & B. Parsons (2015), The 2013 Balochistan earthquake: an extraordinary or completely ordinary event?, Geophysical Research Letters, 42, 6236-6243, doi:10.1002/2015GL065096.


[22] Elliott, J. R., A. Elliott, A. Hooper, Y. Larsen, P. Marinkovic & T. J. Wright (2015), Earthquake monitoring gets boost from new satellite, Eos, 96, 14-18, doi:10.1029/2015EO023967.



[21] Nissen, E. K., T. Maruyama & J. R. Arrowsmith, J. R. Elliott, A. Krishnan, M. Oskin & S. Saripalli (2014), Coseismic fault zone deformation revealed with di erential LiDAR: Examples from Japanese Mw 7 intraplate earthquakes, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 405, 244-256, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2014.08.031.


[20] Wang, H., J. R. Elliott, T. J. Craig, T. J. Wright, J. Liu-Zeng & A. Hooper (2014), Normal faulting sequence in the Pumqu-Xainza Rift constrained by InSAR and teleseismic body-wave seismology, Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 15, 2947-2963, doi:10.1002/2014GC005369.


[19] Wright, T. J., J. R. Elliott, H. Wang & I. Ryder (2013), Earthquake cycle deformation and the Moho: Implications for the rheology of continental lithosphere, Tectonophysics, 609, 504-523, doi:10.1016/j.tecto.2013.07.029.


[18] Feng, W., Z. Li, J. R. Elliott, Y. Fukushima, T. Hoey, A. Singleton, R. Cook & Z. Xu (2013), The 2011 Mw 6.8 Burma earthquake: Fault constraints provided by multiple SAR techniques, Geophysical Journal
International, 195, 650-660, doi:10.1093/gji/ggt254.


[17] Campbell, G. E., R. T. Walker, K. Abdrakhmatov, J. L. Schwenninger, J. A. Jackson, J. R. Elliott & A. C. Copley (2013), The Dzungar fault: late Quaternary slip-rate, seismogenic potential and the role
of strike-slip faulting in the northern Tien Shan region, Journal of Geophysical Research, 118, 5681-5698, doi:10.1002/jgrb.50367.


[16] Crowley, K. & J. R. Elliott (2013), A reply to Gomez and Hart’s ‘goldrush’, The Geographical Journal, 179, 278, doi:10.1111/geoj.12044.


[15] Walters, R. J., J. R. Elliott, Z. Li & B. Parsons (2013), Rapid strain accumulation on the Ashkabad fault (Turkmenistan): a robust slip rate estimate from MERIS-corrected InSAR data, Journal of Geophysical
Research, 118, 3674-3690, doi:10.1002/jgrb.50236.


[14] Elliott, J. R., A. C. Copley, R. Holley, K. Scharer & B. Parsons (2013), The 2011 Mw 7.1 Van (Eastern Turkey) Earthquake, Journal of Geophysical Research, 118, 1619-1637, doi:10.1002/jgrb.50117.


[13] Walker, R. T., E. A. Bergman, J. R. Elliott, E. J. Fielding, A.-R. Ghods, M. Ghoraishi, J. Jackson, M. Nemati, B. Oviesi, M. Talebian & R. Walters (2013), The 2010-2011 South Rigan (Baluchestan)
earthquake sequence and its implications for distributed deformation and earthquake hazard in southeast Iran, Geophysical Journal International, 193, 349-374, doi:10.1093/gji/ggs109.


[12] Crowley, K. & J. R. Elliott (2012), Earthquake disasters and resilience in the Global North: lessons from New Zealand and Japan, The Geographical Journal, 178, 208-215, doi:10.1111/j.1475-4959.2011.00453.x.


[11] Ebmeier, S. K., J. Biggs, T. A. Mather, J. R. Elliott, G. Wadge & F. Amelung (2012), Measuring large topographic change with InSAR: Lava thicknesses, extrusion rate and subsidence rate at Santiaguito volcano, Guatemala, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 335, 216-225, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2012.04.027.


[10] Elliott, J. R., E. K. Nissen, P. C. England, J. A. Jackson, S. Lamb, Z. Li, M. Oehlers & B. Parsons (2012), Slip in the 2010{2011 Canterbury earthquakes, New Zealand, Journal of Geophysical Research,
117, B03401, doi:10.1029/2011JB008868.


[9] Bell, M. A., J. R. Elliott & B. E. Barsons (2011), Interseismic strain accumulation across the Manyi fault (Tibet) prior to the 1997 Mw 7.6 earthquake, Geophysical Research Letters, 38, L24302, doi:10.1029/2011GL049762.


[8] Li, Z., J. R. Elliott, W. Feng, J. A. Jackson, B. Parsons & R. J. Walters (2011), The 2010 Mw 6.8 Yushu (Qinghai, China) earthquake: Constraints provided by InSAR and body wave seismology, Journal of Geophysical Research, 116, B10302, doi:10.1029/2011JB008358.


[7] Elliott, J. R., B. Parsons, J. A. Jackson, X. Shan, R. A. Sloan & R. T.Walker (2011), Depth segmentation of the seismogenic continental crust: The 2008 and 2009 Qaidam earthquakes, Geophysical Research Letters, 38, L06305, doi:10.1029/2011GL046897.


[6] Searle, M. P., J. R. Elliott, R. J. Phillips & S.-L. Chung (2011), Crustal-lithospheric and continental extrusion of Tibet, Journal of the Geological Society of London, 168, 633-672, doi:10.1144/0016-76492010-139.


[5] Elliott, J. R., R. J.Walters, P. C. England, J. A. Jackson, Z. Li & B. Parsons (2010), Extension on the Tibetan plateau: recent normal faulting measured by InSAR and body wave seismology, Geophysical Journal International, 183, 503-535, doi:10.1111/j.1365-246X.2010.04754.x.


[4] Nissen, E., F. Yamini-Fard, M. Tatar, A. Gholamzadeh, E. Bergman, J. R. Elliott, J. A. Jackson & B. Parsons (2010), The vertical separation of mainshock rupture and microseismicity at Qeshm island in the Zagros fold-and-thrust belt, Iran, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 296, 181-194, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2010.04.049.


[3] Walters, R. J., J. R. Elliott, N. D’Agostino, P. C. England, I. Hunstad, J. A. Jackson, B. Parsons, R. J. Phillips & G. Roberts (2009), The 2009 L’Aquila Earthquake (Central Italy): a source mechanism and
implications for seismic hazard, Geophysical Research Letters, 36, L17312, doi:10.1029/2009GL039337.


[2] Elliott, J. R., J. Biggs, B. Parsons & T. J. Wright (2008), InSAR slip rate determination on the Altyn Tagh Fault, northern Tibet, in the presence of topographically correlated atmospheric delays,
Geophysical Research Letters, 35, L12309, doi:10.1029/2008GL033659.


[1] Pyle, D. M. & J. R. Elliott (2006), Quantitative morphology, recent evolution, and future activity of the Kameni Islands volcano, Santorini, Greece, Geosphere, 2, 253-268, doi:10.1130/GES00028.1.