Dr Simon McClusky

Senior Fellow

Dr Simon McClusky is a geodesist, with research interests in the development and use of satellite based techniques for precise measurement and monitoring of the Earth and its gravity field in space and time (4D). The precise real-time satellite measurement techniques developed over the last 2 decades for Earth science research purposes today underpin the observation systems vital for modern navigation, positioning and geospatial services. Broadly, Dr McClusky's research involves developing and improving measurement techniques that constrain models describing the kinematics and dynamics of plate tectonics, the rheology of the Earth’s crust, lithosphere and mantle and the properties of tectonically active faults. Advances in our understanding of these fundamental Earth models enable better prediction and mitigation of the effects of natural hazards like earthquakes, tsunami and volcanic eruptions. Simon has a PhD in Geodesy from the University of NSW, and worked for almost 18 years as a Principal Research Scientist in the Department of Earth Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at MIT before returning to ANU RSES where he is currently a Senior Fellow.

Research interests

My research interests centre on, using geodetic techniques to investigate and understand the geophysical properties of the Earth, and processes that are constantly reshaping our planet. Some interesting current research includes:

Figure 1. GPS in SE Asia showing a vortex of flow around the eastern end of the Himalaya, and activity on strands of the Sagaing Fault. The 2004 co-seismic displacements (blue) in the Andaman Sea are orthogonal to the margin, and not parallel as expected.

The dynamics of active tectonic processes in South East Asia

Our knowledge as to the nature of tectonic processes that “shape and shake” our planet has taken a significant leap forward since the advent of satellite geodesy. Global Positioning System (GPS) measurements have revealed patterns of motion in actively deforming regions which when compared with short-term seismic observations of earthquakes and long-term structural deformation fabrics motivate a re-evaluation of how the different tectonic processes involved interact. Of particular interest are the links between longer-term (orogenic time-scale) motion and the results of short-term (earthquake time-scale) deformation as manifested in co- seismic displacements (during earthquakes) and the patterns of deformation that occur before, during and after seismic events? In this research we are using a multidisciplinary approach aimed at developing better geodynamic understanding of active tectonic processes in South East Asia using data from satellites, seismometers and mass spectrometers.

Landscape archaeology at Lake Mungo

The southern tip of the Lake Mungo Joulni lunette is an icon of Australia’s Indigenous past. Despite its international significance, the archaeological traces have disintegrated as the lunette has eroded over the past 30 years. This interdisciplinary project undertaken in collaboration with Elders from the Willandra Lakes Region World Heritage Area is reconstructing the history of environmental changes and the life-ways of the first humans to settle this region.

The ANU RSES geodesy and geodynamics group is developing precise geodetic techniques for measuring and monitoring processes of modern sediment erosion and deposition and their rates of change. Using surveying and mapping techniques such as terrestrial laser scanning, and photogrammetry from airborne unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s) and ground based photography, this research is providing the framework for stitching together the patchwork of archaeological traces scattered through space and time enabling development of management strategies for the future protection of this unique archive of Australia’s past.

Figure 1. A one millimeter resolution, 10 million-point digital elevation model of a “residual” landscape feature at Lake Mungo, created using the Structure from Motion (SfM) photogrammetric technique from 93 photos.


Journal Articles

  1. Ergintav, S., Reilinger, R.E., Çakmak, R., Floyd, M., Çakir, Z., Doǧan, U., King, R.W., McClusky, S. & Özener, H. 2014, "Istanbul's earthquake hot spots: Geodetic constraints on strain accumulation along faults in the Marmara seismic gap", Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 41.
  2. Moore, M., Watson, C., King, M., McClusky, S. & Tregoning, P. 2014, "Empirical modelling of site-specific errors in continuous GPS data", Journal of Geodesy, Article in Press.
  3. Lister, G.S., Tkalcic, H., McClusky, S. & Forster, M.A. 2014, “Skewed orientation groups in scatter plots of earthquake fault plane solutions: Implications for extensional geometry at oceanic spreading centers”, Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, vol. 118, no. 3, pp. 2055-2067.
  4. Vernant, P., Reilinger, R. & McClusky, S. 2014, "Geodetic evidence for low coupling on the Hellenic subduction plate interface", Earth and Planetary Science Letters, vol. 385, pp. 122-129.
  5. Tiryakioǧlu, I., Floyd, M., Erdoǧan, S., Gülal, E., Ergintav, S., McClusky, S. & Reilinger, R. 2013, "GPS constraints on active deformation in the Isparta Angle region of SW Turkey", Geophysical Journal International, vol. 195, no. 3, pp. 1455-1463.
  6. Montillet, J-P., McClusky, S. & Yu, K.G. 2013, “Extracting Colored Noise Statistics in Time Series via Negentropy”,  IEEE Signal Processing Letters, vol. 20, iss. 9, pp. 857-860, doi: 10.1109/LSP.2013.2271241
  7. Tregoning, P., Burgette, R., McClusky, S.C., Lejeune, S., Watson, C.S. & McQueen, H. 2013, "A decade of horizontal deformation from great earthquakes", Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, vol. 118, no. 5, pp. 2371-2381.
  8. Darbeheshti, N., Zhou, L., Tregoning, P., McClusky, S. & Purcell, A. 2013, "The ANU GRACE visualisation web portal", Computers and Geosciences, vol. 52, pp. 227-233.
  9. Montillet, J-P., Tregoning, P., McClusky, S. & Yu, K. 2013, "Extracting white noise statistics in GPS coordinate time series", IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Letters, vol. 10, no. 3, pp. 563-567.
  10. Van Dijk, A.I.J.M., Crosbie, R.S., Peña-Arancibia, J.L., Tregoning, P. & McClusky, S. 2012, "Analysis of uncertainties in the inference of groundwater dynamics from gravity recovery and climate experiment observations over Australia", International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS), pp. 1318.
  11. Kogan, L., Fisseha, S., Bendick, R., Reilinger, R., McClusky, S., King, R. & Solomon, T. 2012, "Lithospheric strength and strain localization in continental extension from observations of the East African Rift", Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, vol. 117, no. 3.
  12. Purcell, A., Dehecq, A., Tregoning, P., Potter, E.-., McClusky, S.C. & Lambeck, K. 2011, "Relationship between glacial isostatic adjustment and gravity perturbations observed by GRACE", Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 38, no. 18.
  13. Reilinger, R. & McClusky, S. 2011, "Nubia-Arabia-Eurasia plate motions and the dynamics of Mediterranean and Middle East tectonics", Geophysical Journal International, vol. 186, no. 3, pp. 971-979.
  14. Koulali, A., Ouazar, D., Tahayt, A., King, R.W., Vernant, P., Reilinger, R.E., McClusky, S., Mourabit, T., Davila, J.M. & Amraoui, N. 2011, "New GPS constraints on active deformation along the Africa-Iberia plate boundary", Earth and Planetary Science Letters, vol. 308, no. 1-2, pp. 211-217.
  15. Floyd, M.A., Billiris, H., Paradissis, D., Veis, G., Avallone, A., Briole, P., McClusky, S., Nocquet, J.-., Palamartchouk, K., Parsons, B. & England, P.C. 2010, "A new velocity field for Greece: Implications for the kinematics and dynamics of the Aegean", Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, vol. 115, no. 10.
  16. Pérouse, E., Vernant, P., Chéry, J., Reilinger, R. & McClusky, S. 2010, "Active surface deformation and sub-lithospheric processes in the western Mediterranean constrained by numerical models", Geology, vol. 38, no. 9, pp. 823-826.
  17. Reilinger, R., McClusky, S., Paradissis, D., Ergintav, S. & Vernant, P. 2010, "Geodetic constraints on the tectonic evolution of the Aegean region and strain accumulation along the Hellenic subduction zone", Tectonophysics, vol. 488, no. 1-4, pp. 22-30.
  18. ArRajehi, A., McClusky, S., Reilinger, R., Daoud, M., Alchalbi, A., Ergintav, S., Gomez, F., Sholan, J., Bou-Rabee, F., Ogubazghi, G., Haileab, B., Fisseha, S., Asfaw, L., Mahmoud, S., Rayan, A., Bendik, R. & Kogan, L. 2010, "Geodetic constraints on present-day motion of the Arabian Plate: Implications for Red Sea and Gulf of Aden rifting", Tectonics, vol. 29, no. 3.
  19. Vernant, P., Fadil, A., Mourabit, T., Ouazar, D., Koulali, A., Davila, J.M., Garate, J., McClusky, S. & Reilinger, R. 2010, "Geodetic constraints on active tectonics of the Western Mediterranean: Implications for the kinematics and dynamics of the Nubia-Eurasia plate boundary zone", Journal of Geodynamics, vol. 49, no. 3-4, pp. 123-129.
  20. McClusky, S., Reilinger, R., Ogubazghi, G., Amleson, A., Healeb, B., Vernant, P., Sholan, J., Fisseha, S., Asfaw, L., Bendick, R. & Kogan, L. 2010, "Kinematics of the southern Red Sea-Afar Triple Junction and implications for plate dynamics", Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 37, no. 5.
  21. Alchalbi, A., Daoud, M., Gomez, F., McClusky, S., Reilinger, R., Romeyeh, M.A., Alsouod, A., Yassminh, R., Ballani, B., Darawcheh, R., Sbeinati, R., Radwan, Y., Masri, R.A., Bayerly, M., Ghazzi, R.A. & Barazangi, M. 2010, "Crustal deformation in northwestern Arabia from GPS measurements in Syria: Slow slip rate along the northern Dead Sea Fault", Geophysical Journal International, vol. 180, no. 1, pp. 125-135.
  22. Hearn, E.H., McClusky, S., Ergintav, S. & Reilinger, R.E. 2009, "Izmit earthquake postseismic deformation and dynamics of the North Anatolian Fault Zone", Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, vol. 114, no. 8.
  23. Ergintav, S., McClusky, S., Hearn, E., Reilinger, R., Cakmak, R., Herring, T., Ozener, H., Lenk, O. & Tari, E. 2009, "Seven years of postseismic deformation following the 1999, M = 7.4 and M = 7.2, Izmit-Düzce, Turkey earthquake sequence", Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, vol. 114, no. 7.
  24. Tahayt, A., Feigl, K.L., Mourabit, T., Rigo, A., Reilinger, R., McClusky, S., Fadil, A., Berthier, E., Dorbath, L., Serroukh, M., Gomez, F. & Ben Sari, D. 2009, "The Al Hoceima (Morocco) earthquake of 24 February 2004, analysis and interpretation of data from ENVISAT ASAR and SPOT5 validated by ground-based observations", Remote Sensing of Environment, vol. 113, no. 2, pp. 306-316.
  25. Tahayt, A., Mourabit, T., Rigo, A., Feigl, K.L., Fadil, A., McClusky, S., Reilinger, R., Serroukh, M., Ouazzani-Touhami, A., Sari, D.B. & Vernant, P. 2008, "Present-day movements of tectonic blocks in the Betic-Rif Arc from GPS measurements 1999-2005", Comptes Rendus - Geoscience, vol. 340, no. 6, pp. 400-413.
  26. Kadirov, F.A., Reilinger, R.E., McClusky, S.C. & Gadirov, A.H. 2008, "Global positioning system measurements of crustal deformation in Azerbaijan", Caspian and Black Sea Geosciences Conference 2008.
  27. Gomez, F., Karam, G., Khawlie, M., McClusky, S., Vernant, P., Reilinger, R., Jaafar, R., Tabet, C., Khair, K. & Barazangi, M. 2007, "Global Positioning System measurements of strain accumulation and slip transfer through the restraining bend along the Dead Sea fault system in Lebanon", Geophysical Journal International, vol. 168, no. 3, pp. 1021-1028.
  28. Podgorski, J., Hearn, E.H., McClusky, S., Reilinger, R., Taymaz, T., Tan, O., Prilepin, M., Guseva, T. & Nadariya, M. 2007, "Postseismic deformation following the 1991 Racha, Georgia, earthquake", Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 34, no. 4.
  29. Fadil, A., Vernant, P., McClusky, S., Reilinger, R., Gomez, F., Sari, D.B., Mourabit, T., Feigl, K. & Barazangi, M. 2006, "Active tectonics of the western Mediterranean: Geodetic evidence for rollback of a delaminated subcontinental lithospheric slab beneath the Rif Mountains, Morocco", Geology, vol. 34, no. 7, pp. 529-532.
  30. Reilinger, R., McClusky, S., Vernant, P., Lawrence, S., Ergintav, S., Cakmak, R., Ozener, H., Kadirov, F., Guliev, I., Stepanyan, R., Nadariya, M., Hahubia, G., Mahmoud, S., Sakr, K., ArRajehi, A., Paradissis, D., Al-Aydrus, A., Prilepin, M., Guseva, T., Evren, E., Dmitrotsa, A., Filikov, S.V., Gomez, F., Al-Ghazzi, R. & Karam, G. 2006, "GPS constraints on continental deformation in the Africa-Arabia-Eurasia continental collision zone and implications for the dynamics of plate interactions", Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, vol. 111, no. 5.
  31. Bendick, R., McClusky, S., Bilham, R., Asfaw, L. & Klemperer, S. 2006, "Distributed Nubia-Somalia relative motion and dike intrusion in the Main Ethiopian Rift", Geophysical Journal International, vol. 165, no. 1, pp. 303-310.
  32. Mahmoud, S., Reilinger, R., McClusky, S., Vernant, P. & Tealeb, A. 2005, "GPS evidence for northward motion of the Sinai Block: Implications for E. Mediterranean tectonics", Earth and Planetary Science Letters, vol. 238, no. 1-2, pp. 217-224.
  33. McClusky, S., Reilinger, R., Mahmoud, S., Ben Sari, D. & Tealeb, A. 2003, "GPS constraints on Africa (Nubia) and Arabia plate motions", Geophysical Journal International, vol. 155, no. 1, pp. 126-138.
  34. Feigl, K.L., Sarti, F., Vadon, H., McClusky, S., Ergintav, S., Durand, P., Bürgmann, R., Rigo, A., Massonnet, D. & Reilinger, R. 2002, "Estimating slip distribution for the İzmit mainshock from coseismic GPS, ERS-1, RADARSAT, and SPOT measurements", Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, vol. 92, no. 1, pp. 138-160.
  35. Ergintav, S., Bürgmann, R., McClusky, S., Çakmak, R., Reilinger, R.E., Lenk, O., Barka, A. & Özener, H. 2002, "Postseismic deformation near the İzmit earthquake (17 August 1999, M 7.5) rupture zone", Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, vol. 92, no. 1, pp. 194-207.
  36. Bürgmann, R., Ayhan, M.E., Fielding, E.J., Wright, T.J., McClusky, S., Aktug, B., Demir, C., Lenk, O. & Türkezer, A. 2002, "Deformation during the 12 November 1999 Düzce, Turkey, earthquake, from GPS and InSAR data", Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, vol. 92, no. 1, pp. 161-171.
  37. Meade, B.J., Hager, B.H., McClusky, S.C., Reilinger, R.E., Ergintav, S., Lenk, O., Barka, A. & Özener, H. 2002, "Estimates of seismic potential in the Marmara Sea region from block models of secular deformation constrained by global positioning system measurements", Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, vol. 92, no. 1, pp. 208-215.
  38. Bürgmann, R., Ergintav, S., Segall, P., Hearn, E.H., McClusky, S., Reilinger, R.E., Woith, H. & Zschau, J. 2002, "Time-dependent distributed afterslip on and deep below the İzmit earthquake rupture", Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, vol. 92, no. 1, pp. 126-137.
  39. McClusky, S.C., Bjornstad, S.C., Hager, B.H., King, R.W., Meade, B.J., Miller, M.M., Monastero, F.C. & Souter, B.J. 2001, "Present day kinematics of the Eastern California shear zone from a geodetically constrained block model", Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 28, no. 17, pp. 3369-3372.
  40. Ayhan, M.E., Bürgmann, R., McClusky, S., Lenk, O., Aktug, B., Herece, E. & Reilinger, R.E. 2001, "Kinematics of the Mw = 7.2, 12 November 1999, Düzce, Turkey Earthquake", Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 28, no. 2, pp. 367-370.
  41. Tari, E., Sahin, M., Barka, A., Reilinger, R., King, R.W., McClusky, S. & Prilepin, M. 2000, "Active tectonics of the Black Sea with GPS", Earth, Planets and Space, vol. 52, no. 10, pp. 747-751.
  42. Reilinger, R., Toksoz, N., McClusky, S. & Barka, A. 2000, "1999 Izmit, turkey earthquake was no surprise", GSA Today, vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 1-6.
  43. Reilinger, R.E., Ergintav, S., Burgmann, R., McClusky, S., Lenk, O., Barka, A., Gurkan, O., Hearn, L., Feigl, K.L., Cakmak, R., Aktug, B., Ozener, H. & Toksoz, M.N. 2000, "Coseismic and postseismic fault slip for the 17 august 1999, M = 7.5, Izmit, Turkey earthquake", Science, vol. 289, no. 5484, pp. 1519-1524.
  44. McClusky, S., Balassanian, S., Barka, A., Demir, C., Ergintav, S., Georgiev, I., Gurkan, O., Hamburger, M., Hurst, K., Kahle, H., Kastens, K., Kekelidze, G., King, R., Kotzev, V., Lenk, O., Mahmoud, S., Mishin, A., Nadariya, M., Ouzounis, A., Paradissis, D., Peter, Y., Prilepin, M., Reilinger, R., Sanli, I., Seeger, H., Tealeb, A., Toksöz, M.N. & Veis, G. 2000, "Global Positioning System constraints on plate kinematics and dynamics in the eastern Mediterranean and Caucasus", Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, vol. 105, no. B3, pp. 5695-5719.
  45. Kahle, H., Cocard, M., Peter, Y., Geiger, A., Reilinger, R., McClusky, S., King, R., Barka, A. & Veis, G. 1999, "The GPS strain rate field in the Aegean Sea and western Anatolia", Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 26, no. 16, pp. 2513-2516.
  46. Kahle, H., Straub, C., Reilinger, R., McClusky, S., King, R., Hurst, K., Veis, G., Kastens, K. & Cross, P. 1998, "The strain rate field in the eastern Mediterranean region, estimated by repeated GPS measurements", Tectonophysics, vol. 294, no. 3-4, pp. 237-252.
  47. Tregoning, P., Lambeck, K., Stolz, A., Morgan, P., McClusky, S.C., Van Der Beek, P., McQueen, H., Jackson, R.J., Little, R.P., Laing, A. & Murphy, B. 1998, "Estimation of current plate motions in Papua New Guinea from Global Positioning System observations", Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, vol. 103, no. 6, pp. 12181-12203.
  48. Sauber, J., McClusky, S. & King, R. 1997, "Relation of ongoing deformation rates to the subduction zone process in southern Alaska", Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 24, no. 22, pp. 2853-2856.
  49. Shen, Z-K., Dong, D., Herring, T., Hudnut, K., Jackson, D., King, R., McClusky, S. & Sung, L.-. 1997, "Crustal deformation measured in southern California", Eos, vol. 78, no. 43.
  50. Reilinger, R.E., McClusky, S.C., Souter, B.J., Hamburger, M.W., Prilepin, M.T., Mishin, A., Guseva, T. & Balassanian, S. 1997, "Preliminary estimates of plate convergence in the Caucasus collision zone from global positioning system measurements", Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 24, no. 14, pp. 1815-1818.
  51. Reilinger, R.E., McClusky, S.C., Qral, M.B., King, R.W., Toksoz, M.N., Barka, A.A., Kinik, I., Lenk, O. & Sanli, I. 1997, "Global positioning system measurements of present-day crustal movements in the Arabia-Africa-Eurasia plate collision zone", Journal of Geophysical Research B: Solid Earth, vol. 102, no. B5, pp. 9983-9999.
  52. Hudnut, K.W., Murray, M., Shen, Z., McClusky, S., King, R., Herring, T., Hager, B., Feng, Y., Fang, P., Donnellan, A. & Bock, Y. 1996, "Co-seismic displacements of the 1994 Northridge, California, earthquake", Bulletin - Seismological Society of America, vol. 86, no. 1B, pp. S19-S36.
  53. Duan, J., Bevis, M., Fang, P., Bock, Y., Chiswell, S., Businger, S., Rocken, C., Solheim, F., Van Hove, T., Ware, R., McClusky, S., Herring, T.A. & King, R.W. 1996, "GPS meteorology: Direct estimation of the absolute value of precipitable water", Journal of Applied Meteorology, vol. 35, no. 6, pp. 830-838.
  54. McClusky S.C., Mobbs K., Stolz A., Barsby D., Loratung W., Lambeck K., & Morgan P. 1994, “The Papua New Guinea Satellite Crustal Motion Surveys”, Aust. Surv., Vol 39, No. 3, pp. 194-214, Sept., 1994.
  55. Brunner F.K., & McClusky S.C. 1991 N vs N-1: How Many Atmospheric Zenith Delay Parameters Should be Estimated in GPS Surveying?, Aust. J. Geod. Photo. Surv.


  1. Introduction to GAMIT/GLOBK, Release 10.4, T.A. Herring, R.W. King, and S.C. McClusky, Dept. of Earth Atmos. and Planet. Sci., Mass. Instit. of Technol., Cambridge, MA, 48pp., October, 2010. 

  2. GAMIT Reference Manual, GPS analysis at MIT, Release 10.4, T.A. Herring, R.W. King, S.C., McClusky, Dept. of Earth Atmos. and Planet. Sci., Mass. Inst. of Technol., Cambridge, MA, 171pp., October 2010. 

  3. GLOBK: Global Kalman filter VLBI and GPS analysis program, Release 10.4, T.A. Herring, R.W. King, S.C., McClusky, Dept. of Earth Atmos. and Planet. Sci., Mass. Inst. of Technol., Cambridge, MA, 91pp., December 2010.

Refereed Book Chapters

  1. Geodetic constraints on the geodynamic evolution of the Red Sea, S. McClusky, R. Reilinger & A. ArRajehi, In “The Red Sea, It’s Origin, Structure and Environment”, eds: N. Rasul, Springer Publishing, in review, 2014.

Commissioned Refereed Reports

  1. Assessment of GRACE satellites for groundwater estimation in Australia, P. Tregoning, S. McClusky, AIJM. van Dijk, RS. Crosbie, JL. Peña-Arancibia, Waterlines Report 71, National Water Commission, Canberra, Feb., 2012. 

  2. Background report on: Subsidence monitoring and measurement with a focus on coal seam gas (CSG) activities, S. McClusky & P. Tregoning, NSW Chief Scientist Report, June, 2013.