Indiana State University Newsroom

Geology grad to research seafloor changes from Chilean earthquake

March 15, 2010

A Wabash Valley native and Indiana State University alumnus will travel to waters off the coast of Chile this week to learn more about changes in the seafloor following the Feb. 27 earthquake and tsunami.

Jared Kluesner, will be part of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography's SEARCH (Survey of EArthquake and Rupture in Chile) cruise, funded by a National Science Foundation rapid response research grant.

Kluesner and the scientific team will conduct multi-beam mapping of the seafloor, a process that uses sound pulses generated by a ship to measure the distance to the ocean floor.

"The goal of the research is to detect any large movements of the seafloor that have occurred since the previous survey which mapped the area," Kluesner said. "By comparing previous data collected by German researchers with the new data, we should easily detect any major changes."

The study should help clarify the relative importance of seafloor uplift, failure and movement of fault lines in generating tsunamis, he said.

Kluesner, who is pursuing a Ph. D. in oceanography at Scripps, is one of the graduate students among the scientific team that will be taking part in the cruise aboard the Scripps Research Vessel Melville. Scripps scientists Dave Chadwell and Peter Lonsdale will lead the research expedition.

The team is scheduled to leave San Diego today (Monday) and arrive in Chile Wednesday to work with scientists from Chile and Germany. In addition to processing multi-beam data, Kluesner will be in charge of the Web site, which will document the trip. The public will be able to follow along via the ship tracker.

"This international, rapid response expedition will be the first to examine the seafloor geology after the recent earthquake, and people around the world will be interested in the results," said Tony Rathburn, associate professor of geology at Indiana State. "Through international cooperation this expedition will provide important information about the causes and geological consequences of the recent Chilean earthquake."

While at Indiana State, Kluesner participated in several oceanographic research expeditions with Rathburn. In addition to his position as a faculty member in ISU's department of earth and environmental sciences, Rathburn is a research associate with Scripps.

"Jared's extensive experience at sea, his abilities to use computer technology to evaluate seafloor geology, and his skills in interpreting seismic profile data make him well-qualified for the expedition. Being part of an international, rapid response research team working on a topic of this magnitude is quite an honor, and opportunities like this do not happen often," Rathburn said.

Kluesner will return to the ISU campus in April to discuss findings from the Chilean research as well as recent research efforts off Mexico that have been highly regarded in the scientific world.

A graduate of Linton-Stockton High School, Kluesner completed a bachelor's degree in geology from Indiana State in 2006 after previously completing an associate degree in computer science from Vincennes University. He was accepted into the doctoral program at Scripps immediately upon completion of his baccalaureate degree and is scheduled to complete his Ph.D. in 2011.

Photo: - Jared Kluesner (courtesy Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California at San Diego)

Contact: Jared Kluesner, Ph. D. candidate, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California at San Diego,

Writer: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3743 or