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Zhao Liang
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  No.19 Beitucheng West Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing, 100029, China

Education and Appointments:

Liang Zhao
Ph.D, Professor in Geophysics
State Key Laboratory of Lithospheric Evolution, Institute of Geology and Geophysics,
Chinese Academy of Sciences,
Beitucheng West Road 19#, P.O. Box 9825#, Beijing, 100029
Date of Birth: May 30, 1975
Phone: +86-10-82998430

The primary goal of my research is directed toward understanding the structure, dynamics, and evolution of the Earth's interior. During my career in the earth sciences, I use seismic waves to probe the internal structure and property of the upper mantle. Using waveform modeling, receiver function, shear wave splitting and tomography, I placed high-resolution seismological constraints on basin-range coupling, crust-mantle interaction, lithospheric structure, upper mantle deformation, and evolution of continent. In the recent years, I focus on the seismic observations in eastern China, a continental margin that underwent complex tectonic events from the Precambrian to Cenozoic and western Alps, a typical Tethys collisional boundary.

I also have a strong interest in developing new methodologies for simulating seismic wave propagation through the heterogeneous and anisotropic media. The calculation techniques I employed include finite difference, finite element and spectral element methods. In addition, I also delicate to understand geodynamic process of continents by combining seismic observations and geodynamic numerical modeling.

In 2016, I got “China National Funds for Distinguished Young Scientists” that is a top honor recognizing important contributions to the sciences by young scientists with age younger than 45 in China. I am also a recipient of the “Fu Chengyi Award” from the Chinese Geophysical Society, and the “Lu Jiaxi Award for Young Scientists” from the Chinese Academy of Sciences.


  • 2002. Ph.D. China University of Petroleum- Beijing
  • 1999. M.S. Jianghan Petroleum University
  • 1996. B.S. Jianghan Petroleum University

Professional experience

  • 2010-present, Professor, Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • 2006-2010, Associated Prof., Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences 
  • 2002-2005, Assistant Prof., Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • Dec, 2008 and March, 2012, Visiting Professor of University of Orleans, France
  • Jan, 2009 to Aug, 2009, Visiting scholar of Seismological Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, USA

Research Interests:
 Seismology and geodynamic modeling
Public Services:

  • 2007, Fu Chengyi Award, Chinese Geophysical Union
  • 2008, Award by K.C. Wang Education Foundation, Hong Kong
  • 2009, Lu Jiaxi Award for Young Scientists, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • 2016, China National Funds for Distinguished Young Scientists

Supported Projects:
  1. 2015-present, an international project "China-Western Australia Seismic Survey" in collaboration with Macquarie University and The Geological Survey of Western Australia, Department of Mines and Petroleum, Australia, PI.
  2. 2012-present, an international project "China-Italy-France Alps seismic survey" in collaboration with ISTerre, France and INGV, Italy that deployed 55 stations in the western Alps, PI.
  3. 2002-present, "North China Interior Structure Project" which runs about 500 portable seismic stations in North China, Co-PI. As the PI, I organized and managed two sub-experiments of the project, totally 110 portable stations.
  4. 2008-2012, A grand research project "Seismic array investigations of the deep structure beneath the North China craton", Proposal funded by the National Science Foundation of China, Co-PI.
  5. 2006-2008, "Using the shear wave splitting to investigate the upper mantle deformation beneath the North China Craton", Proposal funded by the National Science Foundation of China, PI. In this project, I and my colleagues used shear wave splitting measurement to investigate the upper mantle deformation beneath the North China Craton. We discovered the distinct variation of the upper mantle anisotropy from east to west and on to off the craton which was proposed to be associated with the lithospheric thinning of the North China Craton during the Late Mesozoic to Cenozoic. To improve the resolution of shear wave splitting analysis, we also developed a hybrid method for calculating synthetic seismograms for seismic waves propagating in two-dimensional localized heterogeneous anisotropic media.
  6. 2005-2008, "Deep evidence on the crust-mantle interaction in the Bohai Bay Basin and the adjacent region", Proposal funded by the National Science Foundation of China, Co-PI. In this project, I and my colleagues developed a new waveform modeling and inversion method based upon wave-field extrapolation. Employing the new method, I studied the basin-range structure of the Bohai Bay Basin, North China.

Selected Publication:

Peer reviewed papers

  1. Stefano, S., M.G. Malusà, E. Eva, S. Guillot, A. Paul, S. Schwartz, L. Zhao, C. Aubert, T. Dumont, S. Pondrelli, S. Salimbeni, Q. Wang, X. Xu, T. Zheng, R. Zhu (2018). Mantle wedge exhumation beneath the Dora-Maira (U)HP dome unravelled by local earthquake tomography (Western Alps), Lithos, 296–299: 623-636.
  2. Zhao, L., X. Xu, M. G. Malusà (2017). Seismic probing of continental subduction zones. Journal of Asian Earth Sciences. 145: 37-45.
  3. Yang, J., L. Zhao*, B.J.P., Kaus*, G. Lu, K. Wang, R. Zhu (2017). Slab-triggered wet upwellings produce large volumes of melt: Insights into the destruction of the North China Craton, Tectonophysics, in press, doi: 10.1016/j.tecto.2017.04.009.
  4. Beller, S., V. Monteiller, S. Operto, G. Nolet, A. Paul, L. Zhao (2017). Lithospheric architecture of the South-Western Alps revealed by multi-parameter teleseismic full-waveform inversion, Geophy. J. Int., in press, doi: 10.1093/gji/ggx216.
  5. Lyu, C., H.A. Pedersen, A. Paul, L. Zhao*, S. Solarino (2017). Shear wave velocities in the upper mantle of the Western Alps: new constraints using array analysis of seismic surface waves, Geophy. J. Int., 210, 321-331.
  6. Malusà, Marco G., L. Zhao, E. Eva, S. Solarino, A. Paul, S. Guillot, S. Schwartz, T. Dumont, C. Aubert, S. Salimbeni, S. Pondrelli, Q. Wang, R. Zhu (2017). Earthquakes in the western alpine mantle wedge, Gondwana Research, 44: 89-95.
  7. Zhao, L., A. Paul, M. G. Malusà, X. Xu, T. Zheng, S. Solarino, S. Guillot, S. Schwartz, T. Dumont, S. Salimbeni, C. Aubert, S. Pondrelli, Q.Wang, R. Zhu (2016). Continuity of the Alpine slab unraveled by high-resolution P-wave tomography, J. Geophys. Res., 121, 8720-8737, doi: 10.1002/2016JB013310.
  8. Lu G, L. Zhao, T.Y. Zheng, K. Wang, J. F. Yang (2016). Determining the key conditions for the formation of metamorphic core complexes by geodynamic modeling and insights into the destruction of North China Craton. Science China Earth Sciences, 59: 1873–1884, doi: 10.1007/s11430-015-5407-5
  9. Luo, Y. L., Y. M. He, L. Zhao (2016). Seismic anisotropy in the D" layer near the core-mantle boundary beneath Southeast Asia. Chinese J. Geophys. (in Chinese), 59(10): 3674-3683, doi: 10.6038/cjg20161014. 
  10. Zhang, Y.F., Y.B. Wang, L. Zhao, Z.M. Jin (2016), On velocity anomalies beneath southeastern China: An investigation combining mineral physics studies and seismic tomography observations, 31, 200-217, Gondwana Research, Doi:10.1016/
  11. Wang K*, E. Burov, C. Gumiaux, Y. Chen, G. Lu, L. Mezri, L. Zhao* (2015). Formation of metamorphic core complexes in non-over-thickened continental crust: A case study of Liaodong Peninsula (East Asia), Lithos, 238, 86-100, doi:10.1016/j.lithos.2015.09.023.
  12. Zheng, T.Y., J.H. Yang, Y.M. He, L. Zhao (2015). Seismological constraints on the crustal structures generated by continental rejuvenation in the northeastern China. Scientific reports, doi:10.1038/srep14995, in press.
  13. Zhao, L., A. Paul, S. Guillot, S. Solarino, M.G. Malusà, T. Zheng, C. Aubert, S. Salimbeni, T. Dumont, S. Schwartz, R. Zhu, Q. Wang (2015). First Seismic Evidence for Continental Subduction beneath the Western Alps, Geology, 43, 815-818. doi: 10.1130/G36833.1.
  14. Zhao, L., M. Xue (2015), An observation related to directional attenuation of SKS waves propagating in anisotropic media, Geophys. J. Int., 201, 276-290, doi:10.1093/gji/ggv019.
  15. He, Y.M., L.X. Wen, Y. Capdeville, L. Zhao (2015), Seismic evidence for an Iceland thermo-chemical plume in the Earth’s lowermost mantle, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 417, 19-27, doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2015.02.028.
  16. Lu, G., B. Kaus, L. Zhao, T.Y. Zheng (2015), Self-consistent subduction initiation induced by mantle flow, Terra Nova, 27:130-138, doi:10.1111/ter.12140.
  17. Zhao, L., M. Zhao, G. Lu (2014), Upper mantle seismic anisotropy beneath a convergent boundary: SKS waveform modeling in central Tibet, Science China: Earth Science, 57, 759-776, doi: 10.1007/s11430-014-4826-3.
  18. Lu, G., L. Zhao, T. Zheng, B.P. Kaus (2014). Strong intracontinental lithospheric deformation in South China: Implications from seismic observations and geodynamic modeling, J. Asia. Earth. Sci., 87, 141-156, doi: 10.1016/j.jseaes.2013.08.020.
  19. Zheng, T.Y., L. Zhao, Y.M. He, R.X. Zhu (2014). Seismic imaging of crustal reworking and lithospheric modification in eastern China, Geophys. J. Int., 196, 656-670. doi:10.1093/gji/ggt420.
  20. Zhao, L., T.Y. Zheng, G. Lu (2013). Distinct upper mantle deformation of cratons in response to subduction: constraints from SKS wave splitting measurements in eastern China, Gondwana Research, 23, 39-53, doi: 10.1016/
  21. Zhao, M., L. Zhao, Y. Capdeville (2013). A coupled method of spectral element and normal mode: an powerful tool of modeling the seismic waves propagation in anisotropic D’’ region. Chinese J. Geophys. (in Chinese), 56, 1216-1225, doi: 10.6038/cjg20130416.
    赵明,赵亮,Y. Capdeville (2013).基于谱元-简正振型耦合方法的核幔边界D''区地震波波形模拟方法研究,地球物理学报,56,1216-1225.
  22. Zhao, L., R. M. Allen, T. Zheng, and R. Zhu (2012). High-resolution body-wave tomography models of the upper mantle beneath eastern China and the adjacent areas, Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 13, Q06007, doi: 10.1029/2012GC004119.
  23. Zheng, T., R. Zhu, L. Zhao, and Y. Ai (2012), Intralithospheric mantle structures recorded continental subduction, J. Geophys. Res., 117, B03308, doi: 10.1029/2011JB008873.
  24. Zhao, L., T.Y. Zheng, G. Lu, Y.S. Ai (2011). No direct correlation of mantle flow beneath the North China Craton to the India-Eurasia collision: constraints from new SKS wave splitting measurements, Geophys. J. Int., 187, 1027-1037, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-246X.2011.05201.x.
  25. Lu, G., B. J.P. Kaus, L. Zhao (2011). Thermal localization as a potential mechanism to rift cratons, Phys. Earth Planet. Inter., 186, 125-137, doi:10.1016/j.pepi.2011.04.006.
  26. Zhao, L., and M. Xue (2010). Mantle flow pattern and geodynamic cause of the North China Craton reactivation: Evidence from seismic anisotropy, Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 11, Q07010, doi:10.1029/2010GC003068.
  27. Zhao, L., R.M. Allen, T.Y. Zheng, S. Hung (2009). Reactivation of an Archean craton: Constraints from P- and S-wave tomography in North China, Geophy. Res. Lett., 36, L17306, doi:10.1029/2009GL039781.
  28. Zheng, T.Y., L. Zhao, R.X. Zhu (2009). New evidence from seismic imaging for subduction during assembly of the North China Craton, Geology, 37, 395-398.
  29. Zhao, L., T.Y. Zheng (2009). Upper mantle deformation beneath the North China Craton and its implications for craton evolution, Chinese Journal of Geology, 44, 865-876 (In Chinese).
  30. Zheng, T.Y., L. Zhao, W.W. Xu, R.X. Zhu (2008). Insight into modification of North China Craton from seismological study in the Shandong Province, Geophy. Res. Lett., 35, L22305, doi:10.1029/2008GL035661
  31. Zhao, L., L.X. Wen, L. Chen, T.Y. Zheng (2008). A two-dimensional hybrid method for modeling seismic wave propagation in anisotropic media, J. Geophys. Res., 113, B12307, doi:10.1029/2008JB005733.
  32. Zhao, L., T.Y. Zheng, G. Lü (2008). Insight into craton evolution: constraints from shear wave splitting in the North China Craton, Phys. Earth Planet. Inter., 168, 153-162.
  33. Zheng, T.Y., L. Zhao, R.X. Zhu (2008). Insight into the geodynamics of cratonic reactivation from seismic analysis of the crust-mantle boundary, Geophy. Res. Lett., 35, L08303, doi:10.1029/2008GL033439.
  34. Chen, L., T. Wang, L. Zhao, T.Y. Zheng (2008), Distinct lateral variation of lithospheric thickness in the Northeastern North China Craton, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 267, 56-68.
  35. Zhao, L., T.Y. Zheng, L. Chen, Q.S. Tang (2007). Shear wave splitting in eastern China, implications for upper mantle deformation beneath continental margin, Phys. Earth Planet. Inter., 162,73-84.
  36. Zhao, L., T.Y. Zheng (2007). Complex upper mantle deformation beneath the North China Craton: implications for lithospheric thinning, Geophy. J. Int., 170, 1095-1099.
  37. Zheng, T.Y., L. Chen, L. Zhao, R.X. Zhu(2007). Crustal structure across the Yanshan belt at the northern margin of the North China Craton, Phys. Earth Planet. Inter., 161, 36-49.  
  38. Zheng, T.Y., L. Chen, L. Zhao, W.W. Xu, R.X. Zhu (2006). Crust-mantle structure difference across the gravity gradient zone in North China Craton: Seismic image of the thinned continental crust, Phys. Earth Planet. Inter. , 159, 43-58.   
  39. Zhao, L., T.Y. Zheng (2005). Using shear wave splitting measurements to investigate the upper mantle anisotropy beneath the North Craton, Geophys. Res. Lett., 32, L10309, doi:10.1029/2005GL022585. 
  40. Zhao, L., T.Y. Zheng (2005). Seismic structure of the Bohai Bay Basin, northern China, Implications for basin evolution, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 231, 9-22. 
  41. Zheng, T.Y., L. Zhao, L. Chen (2005). A detailed Receiver Function Image of the Sedimentary Structure in the Bohai Bay Basin, Phys. Earth Planet. Inter., 152, 129-143.
  42. Zhao, L., T.Y. Zheng, W. Xu (2004). Modeling the Jiyang depression, Northern China, using a wave-field extrapolation FD method and waveform inversion, Bull. Seism. Soc. Am., 94, 988-1001.   
  43. Zhao, L., X.L. Wu (2003). Calculation and analysis of sensitivity field for multiphase flow electromagnetic tomography (EMT) in well logging, Chinese Journal of Geophysics, 46, 1251-1258.
    赵亮, 吴锡令(2003). 多相流动电磁波成像测井测量敏感场计算, 地球物理学报, 46,870-874.
No. 19, Beitucheng Xilu, Chaoyang District, 100029, Beijing, PR China
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