SEG J. Clarence Karcher Award 2015
The Honors and Awards Committee unanimously recommends Germán Rubino for the J. Clarence Karcher Award. Germán has published 16 papers on seismic attenuation and thin-bed response in peer-reviewed international journals as first author and has contributed as coauthor of 8 additional papers. Moreover, he published and contributed to 25 conference proceedings. Germán has previously been recognized with the García-Siñeriz Foundation Award for the best doctoral thesis in pure or applied geophysics from Latin American and Spanish universities.
Biography Citation for the SEG J. Clarence Karcher Award 2015
Germán Rubino’s primary research interests lie in the field of seismic wave propagation in heterogeneous porous media. Germán is a native of Argentina and received an M.Sc. equivalent and a Ph.D. both in geophysics, from the National University of La Plata in 2004 and 2008, respectively. From 2010 through 2015, he was a postdoctoral researcher in my research group at the University of Lausanne. Following his wife, Anahi, an astronomer, on her postdoc, he is now at the University of Western Ontario before eventually taking a staff scientist position in CONICET, the national research council of Argentina.
The most important contribution from Germán’s Ph.D. research is the development of a numerical upscaling procedure, which enables the representation of mesoscopically heterogeneous porous media in terms of their homogeneous viscoelastic equivalents. This not only allows for circumventing the extremely costly direct simulation of seismic wave propagation in such environments but also permits bridging the gap between the relatively well-studied microscopic and macroscopic scale ranges.
In the meantime, this technique has been adopted by several other research groups, and it formed the basis for much of Germán’s postdoctoral research at the University of Lausanne. During that time, he made several original and practically relevant contributions with regard to effects of various forms of mesoscopic heterogeneities on the attenuation and velocity dispersion of seismic waves in porous media.
More recently, Germán extended his research focus to fractured media, which are still widely regarded as something like an ultimate frontier with regard to their seismic and hydraulic characterization. He demonstrated that the attenuation of seismic waves in the presence of mesoscopic fractures is not, as previously assumed, solely governed by wave-induced fluid flow between the fractures and their embedding porous matrix but also by flow within the connected fractures. He also showed that this newly discovered manifestation of wave-induced fluid flow results in a distinctive signature in the observed seismic attenuation, which in turn might open the perspective of relating the seismic response of fractured rocks to their effective permeability.
An adaptation of this approach gave rise to the arguably most comprehensive and most realistic characterization of the seismoelectric response of fractured media available to date. Germán proceeded to study the effects of fracture contact areas on seismic attenuation and velocity dispersion. This work not only provides insights into the seismic response of realistic fractures but also might allow for inferring constraints on the prevailing effective stresses in fractured media from seismic observations.
In a related context, Germán developed a novel approach for including poroelastic effects into the classical elastic linear-slip theory. This novel methodology is of significant practical interest because it allows for an efficient evaluation of the seismic response of fractures with unprecedented realism.
Germán has a unique capacity to identify pertinent problems and to solve them with an extraordinary combination of ingenuity and methodological rigor. Along with his strong communication skills, his engaging personality, and his selfless desire to share his knowledge and expertise, this not only makes him an excellent scientist but also, and in particular, a widely esteemed colleague, adviser, and teacher.
I consider Germán as currently being one of the most creative and most influential young scientists in the overall field of applied geophysics, and I count the last five years, during which I have had the immense pleasure and privilege of collaborating with him, as a highlight of my career. Germán epitomizes the very essence of a worthy recipient of the J. Clarence Karcher Award.