Department of Earth Sciences
Newton Horace Winchell School of Earth Sciences

Ikuko Wada


385-20 Tate Hall


Assistant Professor
PhD, 2009, University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Research Interests

My research interests lie in the area of subduction geodynamics. One of my goals is to provide a better understanding of physical conditions that control geophysical and geochemical processes in subduction zones, such as megathrust earthquakes, intraslab earthquakes, mantle wedge flow, transport of volatiles, generation of melts, and arc volcanism. These processes depend on various factors, including temperature, stress, pore fluid pressure, volatile contents, and mineral grain size. I use numerical models and a range of geophysical observations, petrological and geochemical data, and laboratory results, to constrain the spatial and temporal variations in these quantities in subduction zones. For information on current research projects and student/postdoc opportunities, please visit my personal webpage:


Selected Publications

  • Wada, I., and S. D. King, Dynamics of subducting slabs: Numerical modeling and constraints from seismology, geoid, topography, geochemistry, and petrology, submitted in January 2013, Treatise on Geophysics, vol. 7, Mantle Dynamics, 2nd edition, Elsevier, in publication.
  • Wada, I., M. D. Behn, and A. M. Shaw (2012), Effects of heterogeneous hydration in the incoming plate, slab rehydration, and mantle wedge hydration on slab-derived fluid flux in subduction zones, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 353-354, 60-71.
  • Wada, I., M. D. Behn, and J. He (2011), Grain size distribution in the mantle wedge of subduction zones, J. Geophys. Res., 116, doi:10.1029/2011JB008294.
  • Wada, I., C. A. Rychert, and K. Wang (2011), Sharp thermal transition in the forearc mantle wedge as a consequence of nonlinear mantle wedge flow, Geophys. Res. Lett., 38, doi:10.1029/2011GL047705.
  • Wada, I., S. Mazzotti, and K. Wang (2010), Intraslab stresses in the Cascadia subduction zone from inversion of earthquake focal mechanisms, Bull. Seism. Soc. Am., 100, 2002-2013.
  • Wada, I., and K. Wang (2009), Common depth of decoupling between the subducting slab and mantle wedge: Reconciling diversity and uniformity of subduction zones, Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 10, doi:10.1029/2009GC002570.
  • James, T. S., E. J. Gowan, I. Wada, and K. Wang (2009), Viscosity of the asthenosphere from glacial isostatic adjustment and subduction dynamics at the northern Cascadia subduction zone, British Columbia, Canada, J. Geophys. Res., 114, doi:10.1029/2008JB006077.
  • Kao, H., K. Wang, R.-Y. Chen, I. Wada, J. He, and S. D. Malone (2008), Identifying rupture plane of the 2001 Nisqually, Washington Earthquake, Bull. Seis. Soc. Am., 98, 1546-1558.
  • Wada, I., K. Wang, J. He, and R. D. Hyndman (2008), Weakening of the subduction interface and its effects on surface heat flow, slab dehydration, and mantle wedge serpentinization, J. Geophys. Res., 113, doi:10.1029/2007JB005190.


Recent Research Support

  • 2014–2015 Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, “3-D distributions of temperature and water along the NE Japan subduction fault and their slip behavior”.
  • 2009–2011 National Science Foundation, MARGINS Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, “A synthesis of the physical state of the mantle wedge in Costa Rica-Nicaragua and Izu-Bonin-Mariana”.


Recent Honors and Awards

  • 2013 American Geophysical Union 2013 Jason Morgan Early Career Award
  • 2009­–2011 National Science Foundation, MARGINS Postdoctoral Fellowship