Geology & Geophysics AGU News

Jolivet Receives 2017 Jason Morgan Early Career Award

Romain Jolivet will receive the 2017 Jason Morgan Early Career Award at the 2017 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, held 11–15 December in New Orleans, La. The award is for “outstanding and significant early career contributions to tectonophysics through a combination of research, education, and outreach activities.”



Romain Jolivet, recipient of the 2017 Jason Morgan Early Career Award.
Romain Jolivet

It is my great pleasure to write this citation on behalf of Romain Jolivet, who is honored by AGU with the 2017 Jason Morgan Early Career Award. This well-deserved award recognizes that Romain has already significantly contributed to advancing observation of seismic and aseismic fault slip with interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR). He has in particular designed and implemented a method using predictions from a reanalysis weather model to model tropospheric effects. The method proved very efficient to correcting the effects that have long been a major impediment to the use of InSAR. His methodological contributions, the availability of SAR time series (in particular from Sentinel-1, which provides global coverage with a 12-day revisit time), and the possibility of combining with Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) data, make it possible to measure the time evolution of fault slip with unprecedented temporal and spatial resolution. He demonstrated this possibility by revealing a surprisingly rich dynamic in his studies of various faults in Tibet, California, and Anatolia. Romain also contributed to studies of a number of recent earthquakes in which he used a rigorous inverse theory approach to assess the distribution and slip and subsurface fault geometries. Such observations are key to investigating the factors that favor seismic or aseismic fault creep, which remains a very central and poorly understood issue.

Romain is a rigorous, creative, and productive young scientist at the cutting edge of the use of space observation for seismotectonic studies. I look forward to seeing the fruits of his continued effort at extracting new learning from InSAR and GNSS data, which will accumulate in the decades to come. I am confident more stunning results will come out of this promising venture.

—Jean-Philippe Avouac, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena


I would like to thank Jean-Philippe for nominating me as well as those who wrote letters to support this nomination. I feel quite honored by the recognition and the trust he has put in me to pursue my career. I thank the committee and AGU for this award.

I came to study active faults quite by chance, thanks to a number of wonderful researchers I now consider mentors and friends. While studying as an undergrad at École Normale Supérieure (ENS) in Paris, France, I discovered the study of active faults and earthquakes with Prof. Rodolphe Cattin (now in Montpellier), who, a year later, pushed me to contact Prof. Roland Bürgmann at UC Berkeley for a research internship. Roland accepted and gave me the fantastic opportunity to lead my first research project, involving the measurement of elastic strain increase along the San Andreas Fault with GPS. In his group, I came to think InSAR was a very powerful tool, and Dr. Cécile Lasserre offered me to join her for a Ph.D. in Grenoble. The scientific environment at Université Joseph Fourier (now named Université Grenoble Alpes), the mountains, and Cécile’s advice guided me for years there. In particular, I got to meet and work with Prof. Gilles Peltzer, UCLA, now a very good friend. Moving to Caltech was then an opportunity to learn more and develop my own projects. I worked closely with Prof. Mark Simons on numerous topics, got to supervise my first students, and learned every day from morning coffee discussions. In Cambridge in the United Kingdom, I had the chance to work with Dr. Alex Copley and joined the COMET community. There, I finally came to work with Jean-Philippe to carry on from our daily discussions we had started at Caltech.

Now that I have been hired as a faculty member at ENS, Paris, I wish to reiterate my thanks to all the people aforementioned for providing guidance and allowing me to become a research scientist and an academic supervisor. I sincerely hope to be able to do the same for the students I will supervise, keeping their advice in my mind. I am looking forward to more scientific discussions and also, simply, to spend some nice enjoyable time with all of them, mentors and friends.

Finally, this journey through academia would not have been possible without the incommensurable support from my parents; my sister and brother; and my partner, Elsa.

—Romain Jolivet, École Normale Supérieure, Paris, France

Citation: AGU (2017), Jolivet receives 2017 Jason Morgan Early Career Award, Eos, 98, Published on 09 November 2017.
© 2017. The authors. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0