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Joanna Faure Walker

Professor, Risk & Disaster Reduction, UCL

The UCL-IRDR promotes doing scientific research that can influence disaster risk reduction practice within academia, industry, NGOs and government.

Faure Walker's main research interests include earthquake geology and seismic hazard. Her principal publications focus on the importance of fault geometry and rates of motion in understanding fault interactions, fault growth and the dynamic forces controlling these.

Joanna's research has provided new insights into regional mechanisms of continental extension, fault growth, the seismic cycle and seismic hazard. She has shown the long-term spatial distribution of deformation along faults within the Italian Apennines by calculating strain-rates using field measurements of slip-vectors from striated faults and offsets of 15kyr Late Pleistocene -Holocene landforms and sediments. By comparing her results with strain-rates calculated using geodesy and historical seismicity over shorter timescales, she has shown that the spatial pattern of earthquake recurrence is controlled by fault evolution, interaction and sub-crustal processes (Faure Walker et al., 2010, 2012, Cowie et al., 2017, Wedmore et al., 2017). Comparing the fault-derived strain-rates with uplift rates and topography, she has shown how brittle deformation at the surface is related to viscous deformation at depth via a power law as predicted by laboratory equations (Cowie et al., 2013, Faure Walker et al., 2010, 2012). Her work developing the “geometry-dependent throw-rate model” has demonstrated the role of local 3D geometry (strike and dip) of faults for local throw-rates (vertical component of slip-rate) and hence strain-rates and moment release across faults (Faure Walker et al., 2009, 2015, Wilkinson et al., 2015, Mildon et al., 2016, Iezzi et al., 2020). This has provided a breakthrough regarding breach fault evolution (Faure Walker et al., 2009). Her work has also shown the importance of including detailed fault geometries for Coulomb Stress Transfer calculations (Mildon et al., 2016, 2017) and slip in individual earthquakes (Iezzi et al., 2018). She has shown that detailed fault throw or slip measurements AND detailed fault geometries are needed for calculating earthquake recurrence intervals and ground shaking intensities, i.e. for seismic hazard calculations (Faure Walker et al., 2019, Sgambato et al., 2020).
Joanna's research into the pre-disaster, emergency and post disaster phases has focussed on micro insurance (Yore and Faure Walker, 2018), early warning systems (Faure Walker et al., 2014, Naylor et al., 2018, Yore and Faure Walker, 2020) and post disaster housing (Faure Walker and Crawford, 2017, Naylor et al., 2018). Her work highlights the need to place early warning systems and post-disaster shelter in the context of pre-existing vulnerabilities and housing conditions including the financial and construction systems (Faure Walker, 2013, Faure Walker and Crawford, 2017, Naylor et al., 2018).


  • –present
    Senior Lecturer, Risk & Disaster Reduction, UCL