Dr. Paolo Zimmaro, Project Scientist in the UCLA Civil and Environmental Engineering department, was awarded the NSF Professional Development Award for the Academic Year 2017-2018. The award will provide funding for Dr. Zimmaro’s project, Infrequent Large Earthquakes Assessment Using Historical Data, which aims to improve the knowledge of fault recurrence periods and kinematics by analyzing new data from two major libraries in Italy never explored before. Both libraries are located in Southern Italy and contain volumes from the 16th to the 20th century. Information about historical earthquakes, combined with paleoseismological data, and geodetic observations can inform earthquake hazard forecast models and ultimately improve resilience of communities to earthquakes. The overwhelming majority of information on earthquakes caused by normal faults, in global databases, is from Italy. As a result, data analysis of Italian historical earthquakes have global relevance and impact.

This project will allow students in the UCLA Civil and Environmental Engineering department to perform preliminary analysis before Dr. Zimmaro’s visit to the libraries. Students will then perform hands-on activities of real data from the two libraries analyzed in the project. They will work on earthquake recurrence models and epicenter localization based on data retrieved from the historical archives. These activities will be integrated with several undergraduate and graduate courses offered at UCLA.

Dr. Zimmaro is currently performing research with the Geotechnical Engineering group under the advisement of Dr. Jonathan Stewart. He joined UCLA as a Postdoctoral Scholar after earning his Ph.D. (2015) from the University “Mediterranea” Reggio Calabria (Italy) in Geotechnical Engineering. In 2017 he continued at UCLA as a Project Scientist.

Dr. Zimmaro’s research interests are in geotechnical earthquake engineering and engineering seismology, with emphases on site-specific probabilistic seismic hazard and risk analysis, system reliability analysis of distributed infrastructure and lifelines, soil liquefaction and its effects on civil infrastructure, soil-structure interaction, post-disaster reconnaissance and geotechnical system monitoring and characterization with multidisciplinary approaches and innovative field testing.