PhD candidate in Geophysics

University of Southern California

Advisor: Professor Yehuda Ben-Zion


I am working with Dr Yehuda Ben-Zion (since 2011) on extracting more information (e.g. amplitude) from ambient noise cross-correlations. Currently we demonstrate the prospect of getting attenuation from linear array of at least three stations at regional (~ 30 km) or fault zone core (~20 m) scales. We are also interested in analyzing/simulating noise based on wavefield scattering theory.
Liu, X. and Y. Ben-Zion, Estimating correlations of neighboring frequencies in ambient seismic noise, Geophys. J. Int., in review, 2015.

Liu, X., Ben-Zion, Y., & Zigone, D. (2015). Extracting seismic attenuation coefficients from cross-correlations of ambient noise at linear triplets of stations, Geophys. J. Int., 203, 1149–1163, doi: 10.1093/gji/ggv357

Liu, X., & Ben-Zion, Y. (2013). Theoretical and Numerical Results on Effects of Attenuation on Correlation Functions of Ambient Seismic Noise.Geophysical Journal International, 194, 1966-1983, doi: 10.1093/gji/ggt215

M.S. thesis: Appraising the Reliability of Scattered Seismic Wavefield Imaging. Keywords: 3D imaging, error appraisal, Born Approximation, point scatterers.
Liu, X., & Pavlis, G. L. (2013). Appraising the reliability of converted wavefield imaging: application to USArray imaging of the 410-km discontinuity.Geophysical Journal International192(3), 1240-1254. doi 10.1093/gji/ggs088
• This is a project to appraise the reliability of scattered P-to-S wavefield imaging and study the nature of 410 km mantle discontinuity and subducted slab.
• We have implemented a program which calculates synthetic seismic data for point scatterers in radially symmetric models. Then the synthetic data are loaded into the imaging program to generate a 3D imaging volume which contains the model reconstruction. (written in C++ using SEISPP library)
(Click here to get some new figures which come after the M.Sc. thesis)

Undergraduate Thesis: Surface Wave Tomography in Italy (click here to view this thesis in Chinese)
• I applied ambient noise cross-correlation to extract empirical Green's function from 3000+ paths and stored them in a database;
• Tomography maps were produced using GMT;
Li, H., Liu, X., Li, X., Sheng, J., Cai, X., & Wang, T. (2011). Rayleigh wave group velocity distribution in Ningxia. Journal of Earth Science, 22(1), 117-123. doi:10.1007/s12583-011-0162-0


Ph.D candidate, University of Southern California, 2011~now. Advisor: Dr Yehuda Ben-Zion

M.S. Degree in Geophysics, Indiana University, 2011. Advisor: Dr. Gary L. Pavlis

B.S. Degree in Geophysics, China University of Geosciences Beijing, 2009. Advisor: Dr Hongyi Li

Related course work: advanced seismology, random processes in electrical engineering, machine learning, CSCI 570 Analysis of Algorithm, CSCI 571 web technologies, plate tectonics, geophysical inverse methods, mechanics in earth sciences, parallel/scientific computing, geophysical signal analysis, exploration geophysics, C++/C programming, Matlab, continuum mechanics, partial differential equations, geology

Personal life & hobby

• All that related to computer; • e.g. making Flash animations;
• Music, popular or classic; play Erhu (Chinese two-stringed fiddle), violin, a little clarinet and piano (I'll upload some songs I played soon!); singing in a choir (Bass)
• Astronomy (amateur) and observation of constellations, stars, and deep sky objects
• Science fiction; big Harry Potter fan
• Skiing • traveling • debating


• USC Dornsife College Merit fellowship (2 yrs); 2011
• AAPG Imperial Barrel Award program 2011 Eastern Section winner (IU team);
• Tudor Fellowship & Graduate School Fellowship, 2009, IU
• Contemporary Undergraduate Mathematical Contest in Modeling (CUMCM) 2008: Beijing District, First Class Prize.
• Project leader of "Modeling and Detection of WiFi Signal Coverage in a 2D Complex and RF Antenna Design" funded by CUGB National University Student Innovation Program, 2007-2008.
• China Math Modeling Contest in Electrical Engineering 2007: First Class Prize.
• China National College Physics Contest 2006: Third Class Prize.
• Scholarship of Geophysics Major: First Class, 2006, CUGB


  • liu409 AT usc DOT edu

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