Edward W. Woolery

woolery's picture
  • Professor and Chair
  • Earth & Environmental Sciences
247E Mining and Minerals Research Building (Office), 309 Slone Research Building (Lab)
859.218.3536 (Office), 859.257.3016 (Lab)
  • Other Affiliations:
Research Interests:

Ph.D., Geological Sciences, Kentucky, 1998
M.S., Geological Sciences, Kentucky, 1993
B.S.C.E, Civil Engineering, Kentucky, 1996
B.S., Geology, Eastern Kentucky University, 1985


My research bridges the interface between geophysics and the engineering disciplines, primarily as a field-oriented experimentalist focused on earthquake hazards in general, and near-surface geophysics, neotectonics (active-fault assessment), and ground-motion site response in particular.  Most research has been concentrated in the central United States (i.e., New Madrid seismic zone and Wabash Valley seismic zone), but more recently along the northern edge of the Tibetan Plateau in western China.

A significant part of the work has been devoted to the spatial and temporal evaluation of “blind” faults and other near-surface neotectonic manifestations using high-resolution geophysical imaging techniques.  Research projects have integrated high-resolution seismic (often using the horizontally polarized shear-wave mode), electrical resistivity, and ground-penetrating-radar with selective drilling to constrain subsurface complexities. The earliest work was the first in the central United States to show the SH-wave can often be more amenable for imaging geologic features in the near surface (< 100 m) sediment than the conventional P-wave methods.  These near-surface techniques have recently become of interest to the Chinese Earthquake Administration (CEA).  The CEA and their provincial institutes are performing a national seismic hazard evaluation, and locating “capable” faults are similarly proving problematic for them, particularly in urban areas. We have participated in collaborative field tests supported by the Gansu provincial government and the CEA during the past six summers that have been successful in identifying active faults in various locations in the Gansu and Qinghai provinces.

My other research interests include the influence that thick soil/sediment deposits in the Mississippi and Wabash river valleys have on earthquake ground-motion characteristics. Specifically, how they can alter (±) the amplitude, duration, and frequency content of an earthquake time series. Due to the complex geometry and lateral variation within these regional deposits, estimating the ground motions of earthquake engineering interest is problematic, however.  To address these issues, we collect in situ field measurements of the dynamic soil properties responsible for the effects, and use the results to model ground motions for scenario events. In order to help evaluate the validity of the calculated transfer functions, the University of Kentucky operates and maintains the Kentucky Seismic and Strong Motion Network (KSSMN), operated jointly by the Kentucky Geological Survey and my lab in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. The growing network consists of 18 weak-motion stations and 11 strong-motion stations, with a concentrated focus on the New Madrid seismic zone (http://www.uky.edu/KGS/geologichazards/equake3.htm).


Selected Publications: 

Woolery, E., Whitt, J., Van Arsdale, R., Almayahi, A., 2018 in press, Geophysical and geological evidence for Quaternary displacement on the Caborn fault, Wabash Valley fault system, southwestern Indiana: Seismological Research Letters, doi:10.1785/0220180220.

Woolery, E., 2018 in press, SH-mode seismic-reflection imaging of earthfill dams: Engineering, doi: 10.016/j.eng.2018.08.009.

Almayhi, A., and Woolery, E., 2018, Fault-controlled contaminant plume migration: Inferences from SH-wave reflection and electrical resistivity experiments: Journal of Applied Geophysics, v. 158, p. 57-64, doi: 10.1016/j.jappgeo.2018.07.007.

Crawford, M., Bryson, L., Woolery, E., Wang, Z., 2018, Using 2-D electrical resistivity imaging for joint geophysical and geotechnical characterization of landslides: Journal of Applied Geophysics, v. 157, p. 37-46, doi: 10.1016/j.jappgeo.2018.06.009.

Carpenter, N.S., Wang, Z., Woolery, E., Rong, M., 2018, Estimating site response in the northern Mississippi embayment with S-wave HVSR and recordings from deep vertical strong-motion arrays: Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, v. 108, p. 1199-1209, doi: 10.1785/0120170156.

Rong, M., Fu, L., Wang, Z., Li, X., Carpenter, N.S., Woolery, E., Lyu, Y., 2017, On the amplitude discrepancy of HVSR and site amplification from strong-motion observations: Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, v. 107, p. 2873-2884, doi: 10.1785/0120170118.

Wang, Z., Carpenter, N.S., Zhang, L., Woolery, E., 2017, Assessing potential ground-motion hazards from induced earthquakes: Natural Hazards Review, v. 18(4), doi: 10.1061/(ASCE)N.1527-6996.

Greenwood, M., Woolery, E., Van Arsdale, R., Stephenson, W., Patterson, G., 2016, Continuity of the Reelfoot fault across the Cottonwood Grove and Ridgely Ridge faults in the New Madrid seismic zone: Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, v. 106, p. 2674-2685, doi: 10.1785/0120150290.

Rong, M., Wang, Z., Woolery, E., Lu, Y., Li, X., Li, S., 2016, Non-linear response from the ground-motion recordings in sestern China: Journal of Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering, v. 82, p. 99-110, doi: 10.1016/2015.12.001.

Woolery, E., Wang, Z., Carpenter, N.S., Street, R., Brengman, C., 2016, The central United States seismic observatory - Site characterization, instrumentation, and recordings: Seismological Research Letters, v. 887, p. 215-228, doi:10.1785/0220150169.

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