# Frederik J SimonsPrinceton University | PU · Department of Geosciences

Frederik J Simons

Ph. D.

## About

97

Publications

23,474

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5,151

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Introduction

I am a geologically inspired, geophysically educated, computationally motivated and mathematically minded geoscientist interested in the seismic, mechanical, thermal and magnetic properties of the Earth's lithosphere --- and of the terrestrial planets and moons.

Additional affiliations

July 2017 - present

**Princeton University**

Position

- Professor

July 2013 - June 2017

September 2006 - June 2013

Education

August 1996 - August 2002

September 1994 - June 1996

September 1992 - June 1994

## Publications

Publications (97)

We pose and solve the analogue of Slepian's time-frequency concentration problem on the surface of the unit sphere to determine an orthogonal family of strictly bandlimited functions that are optimally concentrated within a closed region of the sphere, or, alternatively, of strictly spacelimited functions that are optimally concentrated within the...

While multiple data sources have confirmed that Antarctica is losing ice at an accelerating rate, different measurement techniques estimate the details of its geographically highly variable mass balance with different levels of accuracy, spatio-temporal resolution, and coverage. Some scope remains for methodological improvements using a single data...

Significance
Secondary microseisms are the strongest background seismic vibrations of the Earth and represent the major part of global seismographic data. Secondary microseisms are generated by wind-driven ocean storms, whose energy couples with the solid Earth at the seafloor. State-of-the-art generation theories are unable to justify the presence...

We address the problem of estimating the spherical-harmonic power spectrum of a statistically isotropic scalar signal from noise-contaminated data on a region of the unit sphere. Three different methods of spectral estimation are considered: (i) the spherical analogue of the one-dimensional (1-D) periodogram, (ii) the maximum likelihood method, and...

Earth models in which seismic wave speeds vary only with depth are sufficiently well constrained to accurately locate earthquakes and calculate the paths followed by seismic rays [ Engdahl et al ., 1998]. The differences between observations and theoretical predictions of seismograms in such onedimensional Earth models can be used to reconstruct th...

The highly used Global Seismographic Network (GSN) is a pillar of the seismological research community and contributes to numerous groundbreaking publications. Despite its wide recognition, this survey found that the GSN is not consistently acknowledged in scientific literature and is underrepresented by roughly a factor of 3 in citation searches....

The eastern continental margin of North America, despite being a passive margin at present, records a comprehensive tectonic history of both mountain building and rifting events. This record is punctuated by several igneous events, including those associated with the Great Meteor and Bermuda hotspots. To gain a better understanding of the state of...

Seismic discontinuities in the mantle are indicators of its thermo-chemical state and offer clues to its dynamics. Ray-based seismic methods, though limited by the approximations made, have mapped mantle transition zone discontinuities in detail, but have yet to offer definitive conclusions on the presence and nature of mid-mantle discontinuities....

Passive seismic inversion at the reservoir scale offers the advantages of low cost, negligible environmental impact, and the ability to probe a target area with low-frequency energy not afforded by even the most modern active-source seismic technology. In order to build starting models suitable for full-waveform wavespeed tomography, characterizati...

We present the first 16 months of data returned from a mobile array of 16 freely-floating diving instruments, named MERMAID for Mobile Earthquake Recording in Marine Areas by Independent Divers, launched in French Polynesia in late 2018. Our 16 are a subset of the 50 MERMAIDs deployed over a number of cruises in this vast and understudied oceanic p...

A fleet of autonomously drifting profiling floats equipped with hydrophones, known by their acronym mermaid, monitors worldwide seismic activity from inside the oceans. The instruments are programmed to detect and transmit acoustic pressure conversions from teleseismic P wave arrivals for use in mantle tomography. Reporting seismograms in near-real...

To better understand earthquakes as a hazard and to better understand the interior structure of the Earth, we often want to measure the physical displacement, velocity, or acceleration at locations on the Earth’s surface. To this end, a routine step in an observational seismology workflow is the removal of the instrument response, required to conve...

Mobile Earthquake Recorder in Marine Areas by Independent Divers (MERMAID) is a passively drifting oceanic diving float that transmits acoustic pressure records from global earthquakes within hours or days of their rupture. The onboard algorithm used for the detection and identification of signals from the hydrophone prioritizes the recovery of ∼1...

Secondary microseisms are ubiquitous ambient noise vibrations due to ocean activity, dominating worldwide seismographic records at seismic periods between 3 and 10 s. Their origin is a heterogeneous distribution of pressure fluctuations along the ocean surface. In spherically symmetric Earth models, no Love surface waves are generated by such a dis...

The origin of the Bermuda rise remains ambiguous, despite, or perhaps because of, the existence of sometimes incongruous seismic wave‐speed and discontinuity models in the sub‐Bermudian mantle. Hence, whether Bermuda is the surface manifestation of a mantle plume remains in question. Using the largest data set of seismic records from Bermuda to dat...

Much like medical doctors who use X-rays or acoustic waves to make three-dimensional images of our insides, geophysicists use the elastic wavefield generated by earthquakes worldwide to scan the deep interior of our planet for subtle contrasts in the propagation speeds of seismic waves. To image the deep Earth using seismic tomography, over the yea...

We discuss the resolving power of three geophysical imaging and inversion techniques, and their combination, for the reconstruction of material parameters in the Earth’s subsurface. The governing equations are those of Newton and Poisson for gravitational problems, the acoustic wave equation under Hookean elasticity for seismology, and the geodynam...

Seismic tomography has arrived at the threshold of the era of big data. However, how to extract information optimally from every available time-series remains a challenge; one that is directly related to the objective function chosen as a distance metric between observed and synthetic data. Time-domain cross-correlation and frequency-dependent mult...

We describe an algorithm to pick event onsets in noisy records, characterize their error distributions, and derive confidence intervals on their timing. Our method is based on an Akaike information criterion that identifies the partition of a time series into a noise and a signal segment that maximizes the signal-to-noise ratio. The distinctive fea...

Mapping the Earth's uncharted interior through global seismic tomography is dependent on increasing the number of seismic stations in the oceans. We have developed a low-cost, autonomously floating hydrophone to capture earthquake signals suitable for the study of the interior of the Earth and the tectonically and magmatically active underwater rea...

One of Jupiter's most prominent atmospheric features, the Great Red Spot (GRS), has been observed for more than two centuries, yet little is known about its structure and dynamics below its observed cloud level. While its anticyclonic vortex appearance suggests it might be a shallow weather-layer feature, the very long time span for which it was ob...

We launched an array of nine freely floating submarine seismometers near the Galápagos islands, which remained operational for about two years. P and PKP waves from regional and teleseismic earthquakes were observed for a range of magnitudes. The signal-to-noise ratio is strongly influenced by the weather conditions and this determines the lowest m...

Significance
The recent deglaciation of Greenland is a response to both oceanic and atmospheric forcings. From 2000 to 2010, ice loss was concentrated in the southeast and northwest margins of the ice sheet, in large part due to the increasing discharge of marine-terminating outlet glaciers, emphasizing the importance of oceanic forcing. However, t...

The Tibetan Plateau is the largest region of high elevation in the world. The source of water for a number of important rivers, the Himalayan region is vital to the billions of inhabitants of the Asian continent. Over the last fifty years, the climate in the region has warmed more rapidly than anywhere else at the same latitude. Causes and effects,...

Special function systems are reviewed that reflect particular properties of the Legendre polynomials, such as spherical harmonics, zonal kernels, and Slepian functions. The uncertainty principle is the key to their classification with respect to their localization in space and frequency/momentum. Methods of constructive approximation are outlined s...

Slepian functions are orthogonal function systems that live on subdomains (for example, geographical regions on the Earth's surface, or bandlimited portions of the entire spectrum). They have been firmly established as a useful tool for the synthesis and analysis of localized (concentrated or confined) signals, and for the modeling and inversion of...

When modeling global satellite data to recover a planetary magnetic or gravitational potential field and evaluate it elsewhere, the method of choice remains their analysis in terms of spherical harmonics. When only regional data are available, or when data quality varies strongly with geographic location, the inversion problem becomes severely ill-...

Full-waveform inversion (FWI) is a data fitting technique used to estimate properties of the Earth from seismic data by minimizing the misfit between observed and simulated seismograms. Because of very high computational cost, this technique has so far been used either in a 2D fully elastic formulation or in a 3D acoustic formulation, when applied...

We introduce a `double-difference' method for the inversion for seismic wavespeed structure based on adjoint tomography. Differences between seismic observations and model predictions at individual stations may arise from factors other than structural heterogeneity, such as errors in the assumed source-time function, inaccurate timings, and systema...

Over the past several decades mountain glaciers and ice caps have been significant contributors to sea level rise. Here we estimate the ice mass changes in the Canadian Archipelago, the Gulf of Alaska, and Greenland since 2003 by analyzing time-varying gravimetry data from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment. Prior to 2013, interannual ice...

We have developed a wavelet-multiscale adjoint scheme for the elastic full-waveform inversion of seismic data, including body waves (BWs) and surface waves (SWs). We start the inversion on the SW portion of the seismograms. To avoid cycle skipping and reduce the dependence on the initial model of these dispersive waves, we commence by minimizing an...

We present two high-resolution local models for the crustal magnetic field of the Martian south polar region. Models SP130 and SP130M were derived from three-component measurements made by Mars Global Surveyor at nighttime and at low altitude (<200 km). The availability area for these data covers the annulus between latitudes -76° and -87° and cont...

In the last few decades, a series of increasingly sophisticated satellite missions has brought us gravity and magnetometry data of ever improving quality. To make optimal use of this rich source of information on the structure of the Earth and other celestial bodies, our computational algorithms should be well matched to the specific properties of...

It is a well-known fact that mathematical functions that are timelimited (or
spacelimited) cannot be simultaneously bandlimited (in frequency). Yet the
finite precision of measurement and computation unavoidably bandlimits our
observation and modeling scientific data, and we often only have access to, or
are only interested in, a study area that is...

Our understanding of the internal dynamics of the Earth is largely based on images of seismic velocity variations in the mantle obtained with global tomography. However, our ability to image the mantle is severely hampered by a lack of seismic data collected in marine areas. Here we report observations made under different noise conditions (in the...

Lithospheric strength variations both influence and are influenced by many tectonic processes, including orogenesis and rifting cycles. The long, complex, and highly anisotropic histories of the continental lithosphere might lead to a natural expectation of widespread mechanical anisotropy. Anisotropy in the coherence between topography and gravity...

The software improves data analysis over small portions of a spherical planetary surface. Among other applications, it has helped track Greenland's ice loss over time.

It is a well-known fact that mathematical functions that are timelimited (or spacelimited) cannot be simultaneously bandlimited (in frequency). Yet the finite precision of measurement and computation unavoidably bandlimits our observation and modeling scientific data, and we often only have access to, or are only interested in, a study area that is...

In the last few decades, a series of increasingly sophisticated satellite missions has brought us gravity and magnetometry data of ever improving quality. To make optimal use of this rich source of information on the structure of the Earth and other celestial bodies, our computational algorithms should be well matched to the specific properties of...

Full-waveform seismic inversions based on minimizing the distance between observed and predicted seismograms are, in principle, able to yield better-resolved earth models than those minimizing misfits derived from traveltimes alone. Adjoint-based methods provide an efficient way of calculating the gradient of the misfit function via a sequence of f...

We present a realistic application of an inversion scheme for global seismic tomography that uses as prior information the sparsity of a solution, defined as having few nonzero coefficients under the action of a linear transformation. In this paper, the sparsifying transform is a wavelet transform. We use an accelerated iterative soft-thresholding...

We review the construction of three different Slepian bases on the
sphere, and illustrate their theoretical behavior and practical use for
solving ill-posed satellite inverse problems. The first basis is scalar,
the second vectorial, and the third suitable for the vector
representation of the harmonic potential fields on which we focus our
analysis...

Satellites mapping the spatial variations of the gravitational or magnetic
fields of the Earth or other planets ideally fly on polar orbits, uniformly
covering the entire globe. Thus, potential fields on the sphere are usually
expressed in spherical harmonics, basis functions with global support. For
various reasons, however, inclined orbits are fa...

The last interglacial stage (LIG; ca. 130-115 ka) provides a relatively
recent example of a world with both poles characterized by
greater-than-Holocene temperatures similar to those expected later in
this century under a range of greenhouse gas emission scenarios.
Previous analyses inferred that LIG mean global sea level (GSL) peaked
6-9 m higher...

Global magnetic field models are typically expressed as
spherical-harmonic expansion coefficients. Slepian functions are linear
combinations of spherical harmonics that produce new basis functions,
which vanish approximately outside chosen geographical boundaries but
also remain orthogonal within the spatial region of interest. Hence,
they are suit...

We utilize a new, maximum likelihood-based technique to estimate elastic
thickness and loading characteristics of the venusian lithosphere.

We construct spherical vector bases that are bandlimited and spatially
concentrated, or, alternatively, spacelimited and spectrally concentrated,
suitable for the analysis and representation of real-valued vector fields on
the surface of the unit sphere, as arises in the natural and biomedical
sciences, and engineering. Building on the original app...

The melting of polar ice sheets is a major contributor to global sea-level rise. Early estimates of the mass lost from the Greenland ice cap, based on satellite gravity data collected by the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment, have widely varied. Although the continentally and decadally averaged estimated trends have now more or less converged...

The crustal remanent magnetic field of Mars remains enigmatic in many
respects. Its heterogeneous surface distribution points to a complex
history of formation and modification, and has been resistant to
attempts at identifying magnetic paleopoles and constraining the
geologic origin of crustal sources. We use a multitaper technique to
quantify the...

The mean dynamic topography (MDT) can be computed as the difference between the mean sea level (MSL) and a gravimetric geoid. This requires that both data sets are spectrally consistent. In practice, it is quite common that the resolution of the geoid data is less than the resolution of the MSL data, hence, the latter need to be low-pass filtered b...

We pose and solve the analogue of Slepian's time-frequency concentration problem for vector fields on the surface of the unit sphere, to determine an orthogonal family of strictly bandlimited vector fields that are optimally concentrated within a closed region of the sphere or, alternatively, of strictly spacelimited functions that are optimally co...

The 27 February 2010 Mw 8.8 Maule, Chile, earthquake ruptured over 500 km along a mature seismic gap between 34° S and 38° S—the Concepción–Constitución gap, where no large megathrust earthquakes had occurred since the 1835 Mw ∼8.5 event. Notable discrepancies exist in slip distribution and moment magnitude estimated by various models inverted usin...

Topography and gravity are geophysical fields whose joint statistical
structure derives from interface-loading processes modulated by the underlying
mechanics of isostatic and flexural compensation in the shallow lithosphere.
Under this dual statistical-mechanistic viewpoint an estimation problem can be
formulated where the knowns are topography an...

Spaceborne gravimetry data from the Gravity Recovery And Climate
Experiment (GRACE) are processed using spatio-spectral Slepian
localization analysis enabling the high-resolution detection of
permanent gravity change associated with both coseismic and postseismic
deformation resulting from the great 11 March 2011 Mw 9.0 Tohoku-Oki
earthquake. The G...

We propose a new probabilistic scheme for the automatic recognition of underwater acoustic signals generated by teleseismic P-waves recorded by hydrophones in the ocean. The recognition of a given signal is based on the relative distribution of its power among different frequency bands. The signal's power distribution is compared with a statistical...

Many flexible parameterizations exist to represent data on the sphere. In
addition to the venerable spherical harmonics, we have the Slepian basis,
harmonic splines, wavelets and wavelet-like Slepian frames. In this paper we
focus on the latter two: spherical wavelets developed for geophysical
applications on the cubed sphere, and the Slepian "tree...

We pose and solve the analogue of Slepian's time-frequency concentration
problem in the two-dimensional plane, for applications in the natural sciences.
We determine an orthogonal family of strictly bandlimited functions that are
optimally concentrated within a closed region of the plane, or, alternatively,
of strictly spacelimited functions that a...

We propose a class of spherical wavelet bases for the analysis of geophysical
models and forthe tomographic inversion of global seismic data. Its
multiresolution character allows for modeling with an effective spatial
resolution that varies with position within the Earth. Our procedure is
numerically efficient and can be implemented with parallel c...

The crust of Mars retains heterogenous remanent magnetism. Magnetic power spectra can provide constraints on the depths and strengths of magnetic sources. We use a spatiospectral windowing approach to map local variability across the planet.

The Neoproterozoic era was punctuated by the Sturtian (about 710 million years ago) and Marinoan (about 635million years ago) intervals of glaciation. In South Australia, the rocks left behind by the glaciations are separated by a succession of limestones and shales, which were deposited at tropical latitudes. Here we describe millimetre- to centim...

The thickness of continental lithosphere varies considerably from tectonically active to cratonic regions, where it can be as thick as 250–300 km. Embedded in the upper mantle like a ship, when driven to move by a velocity imposed at the surface, a continental keel is expected to induce a pressure gradient in the mantle. We hypothesize that the vis...