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Niloufar Abolfathian

Photo of Niloufar Abolfathian


4800 Oak Grove Drive

Pasadena, CA 91109

Curriculum Vitae:

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Member of:

Earth Surface and Interior

Employed By

A NASA Postdoctoral Program (NPP) Fellow is not an employee of any office or agency. The fellow has a guest appointment at JPL. ORAU currently administers the appointment.


Niloufar Abolfathian is interested in combining theoretical, observational, and computational methods to come up with a better understanding of earthquake physics, fault mechanics, and further earthquake likelihood and seismic hazard analysis. She studies the state of the stress and strain in fault zone area, and the associated earthquake fault processes and crustal deformations.


  • B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering, Sharif University of Technology, 2011
  • M.Sc. in Geophysics, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, ETH Zurich, 2014
  • Ph.D. in Geophysics, University of Southern California, 2020

Professional Experience

  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (2020-present)
  • Graduate Research Assistant, University of Southern California (2014-2020)
  • Graduate Teaching Assistant, University of Southern California (2014-2020)

Research Interests

  • Earthquake physics and fault mechanics
  • Earthquake fault processes and associated crustal deformations
  • Stress and strain variations near fault zone area
  • Long-term earthquake forecasting and earthquake risk assessment

Selected Awards

  • NASA Postdoc Program (NPP) Fellowship Award, 2020
  • USC Dornsife Merit Fellowship, 2018
  • Seismological Society of America Student Presentation Award, 2017
  • Outstanding Teacher Assistant, University of Southern California, 2015

Selected Publications

  1. Abolfathian, N., Martínez‐Garzón, P., & Ben‐Zion, Y. (2020). Variations of stress parameters in the Southern California plate boundary around the South Central Transverse Ranges. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, e2020JB019482. doi: 10.1029/2020JB019482
  2. Abolfathian, N., Martínez-Garzón, P., & Ben-Zion, Y. (2019). Spatiotemporal variations of stress and strain parameters in the San Jacinto fault zone. Pure and Applied Geophysics, 176(3), 1145-1168. doi: 10.1007/s00024-018-2055-y
  3. Martínez‐Garzón, P., Ben‐Zion, Y., Abolfathian, N., Kwiatek, G., & Bohnhoff, M. (2016). A refined methodology for stress inversions of earthquake focal mechanisms. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 121(12), 8666-8687. doi:10.1002/2016jb013493