Nori Nakata

Principal Research Scientist

Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

77 Massachusetts Ave., 54-212, Cambridge, MA 02139



+1-617-253-6385 (fax)

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Research Interests

Through research I aim to gain better understanding of natural and manmade structures by analyzing seismic waves. Although the laterally averaged (i.e., 1D) Earth's seismic-velocity structure has been known accurately since the 1940s, subsurface is heterogeneity in 3D, even 4D, and understanding these heterogeneities is key to understanding Earth dynamics. Among the topics I am interested in predicting ground motion caused by large earthquakes, understanding earthquake source physics, discerning the history of the Earth, anticipating volcanic eruptions, and imaging the distribution of natural resources (e.g., petroleum, mines, geothermal). Seismic waves sample Earth's interior, and hence we can obtain information of the Earth in 3D. Temporally repeating these measurements opens a window into the dynamics of the Earth. To extract such information, I use manmade seismic sources, earthquakes, microseismic, and natural and anthropogenic background noise (aka ambient seismic noise).

Keywords: Seismology, 3D/4D Seismic Imaging, Seismic Interferometry, Microseismic, Signal Processing, Wave Phenomena, Civil Structure Monitoring, Computational Seismology

Work Experience

Lissa and Cy Wagner Assistant Professor, University of Oklahoma
Aug 2016 - Present
George Thompson Postdoctral Fellow, Stanford University
Sep 2013 - Aug 2016


PhD: Center for Wave Phenomena, Colorado School of Mines
Jan 2012 - Aug 2013
MSc: Civil and Earth Resource Engineering, Kyoto University
Apr 2008 - Mar 2010

I did my PhD program in Kyoto University before I entered CSM (04/2010 - 12/2011).

BSc: Global Engineering, Kyoto University
Apr 2004 - Mar 2008


Nori Nakata is a principal research scientist at the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He received his Bachelor of Engineering (2008) and Master of Engineering (2010) degrees from Kyoto University, and his PhD degree at Colorado School of Mines in 2013. He received the Mendenhall prize from the Colorado School of Mines for his PhD. Nori's research interests are extensive and include crustal/global seismology, exploration geophysics, volcanism, civil engineering, wave phenomena and earthquakes. Before he joined MIT in 2019, he was a postdoc fellow at Stanford University in 2013-2016 and an assistant professor at the University of Oklahoma in 2016-2018.