Ph.D. Geology, Oklahoma State University, 2018

M.S. Geology and Geophysics, Addis Ababa University, 2005

B.S. Geology and Geophysics, Addis Ababa University, 2000

My research interest broadly spans on observing and characterizing the nature of active deformation from both natural (earthquakes, plate motions or landslides) and anthropogenic (induced seismicity) processes. Together, these processes help us to form a better understanding of how the earth’s lithosphere behaves in the past, present, and future, and how we might mitigate the effects of various natural hazards. In particular, the deformation belts of the East African Rift system and the East African Orogeny.


Areas of Research Interest

Active Tectonics, Natural and Induced Hazards, Geodesy, Geophysics, Integrated GIS and Remote Sensing

My research interest focused on the spatial and temporal scale of plate rupturing processes due to mechanical or magma intrusion or by a combination of both. Specifically, I made efforts to address the role of melts on crustal structures, strain distribution, and strain accommodations during the late stages of a continental rifting. Additionally, I am also actively engaged in analyzing geodetic data such as synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images to study active deformation caused by earthquakes, plate motions, landslides, and induced seismicity.

Meanwhile, utilizing geophysical techniques, remote sensing (spectral, thermal and microwave portion of the spectrum, radar interferometric), and Geographic Information Science (GIS) is vital to understand geodynamic processes. Thus, I used these integrated techniques extensively not only to study environmental hazards but to detect deformation caused by plate movements or instigating due to human activities. All these processes will help us to explain how the Earth has evolved and continues to change. Additionally, having a profound knowledge of these dynamic processes serve as an input to make significant contributions towards mitigating the effects of various natural hazards. Furthermore, I am applying LIDAR and GPS to InSAR geodesy (radar interferometric) as supplemental techniques, as well as a time series analysis to provide a complete four-dimensional surface displacement to any natural or induces earth deformation.

In light with this, students' success requires to participate in integrated research that involves a multitude of subjects necessitating analytical skills and holistic thinking. Therefore, my goal as an instructor and researcher is to engage my students to participate fully in my research; thus, the scientific community acknowledges their research results through peer-reviewed publications. Research topics and tools mainly used by my research group are listed below, and if you are enthusiastic about these topics, please contact us to join our school. There are numerous benefits for both graduate and undergraduate students who need to involve in research. 

Research Topics:

  • Natural and induced seismicity
  • Strain localization, distribution, and partitioning
  • Fault growth of geological structures
  • Lithospheric deformation, Surface and sub-surface structural mapping and characterization
  • Mass movements dynamics such as landslide
  • Remote sensing geodesy
  • Forward and inverse numerical modeling
  • Geographical Information Science

Demissie, Z.S., Asegid, A., 2007. Detailed spatial guide map of the capital City of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa; 100,000 copies were sold in one year. The map has been in high demand among tourists, diplomats, store-owners, tour operators and the general public since its publication, including the US embassy http://www.omnimap.com/catalog/int/ethiop.htm.

Demissie, Z.S., Abedelsalam, M., Byrnes, J., Bridges D., 2014. Strain Partitioning and Localization within Dobe Graben Using Differential Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (D-INSAR) and Shuttle Radar Terrain Model AGU, T43A-4695. https://agu.confex.com/agu/fm14/meetingapp.cgi/Person/170098.

Demissie, Z.S., Byrnes, J., Abedelsalam, M., 2015. High Resolution Deformation Estimation Using Distributed Scatterer Interferometry Approach Within Dobe Graben, The Afar Depression, Ethiopia. GSA, South-Central Section - 49th Annual Meeting, Vol 47, No. 1, P. 9. https://gsa.confex.com/gsa/2015SC/webprogram/Paper254248.html.

Demissie, Z.S., Kevin M., Bridges, D., Abdelsalam, M.G., Atekwana, E.A., 2018. Magnetic and Gravity imaging of the lithospheric structure beneath the Dobi graben. GSA Annual Meeting in Seattle, Washington, USA, Vol. 49, No. 6 doi: 10.1130/abs/2017AM-295992. https://gsa.confex.com/gsa/2017AM/webprogram/Paper295992.html.

Demissie, Z.S., Kevin M., Bridges, D., Abdelsalam, M.G., Atekwana, E.A., 2018. Upper lithospheric structure of the Dobi graben, Afar Depression from magnetic and gravity data. Journal of African Earth Sciences. Doi.org/10.1016/j.jafrearsci.2018.06.012.

Demissie, Z.S., Abera, R., 2020. The Influence of the Red Sea Rifts and the Gulf of Aden Rifts on the lateral propagations of faults in the Dobi graben and its surrounding, Afar Depression. This work been submitted to Journal of Structural Geology and is under review.

Demissie, Z.S., Mullissa, A.G., 2020. Present day Kinematics of the Dobi graben from Surface time series Displacement analysis of ASAR data, Afar Depression in Ethiopia. This work been submitted to Tectonophysics Journal and is under review.

Professional Experience

Wichita State University (WSU)

Assistant Professor– Wichita, KS August 2019 – Present


The World Bank Group

Geospatial and GIS Consultant – Washington DC | January 2016 – June 2016

  • Utilized ArcGIS SDE and Spatial Modeler to map and identified road network expansion impact from 1998 to 2012 on the commodities exchanges and influences on price fluctuations.
    Documented the stock of roads into asphalt, gravel and dirt roads as interpreted from higher spatial resolution Satellite Panchromatic imageries of the Digital Globe satellite and created infrastructure geo-meta-database for 640 districts in Ethiopia.
  • Provided Geospatial Services to extract terrain and/or feature data through photogrammetric engineering methods utilizing stereo and/or mono image sources.
  • Provided support in geospatial analysis of cartographic products, georeferencing of cartographic products and imagery analysis.

Oklahoma State University, Department of Geography, Cartography Services

Cartographic Technician Intern – Stillwater, Ok | June 2014 – August 2014

  • Renovated the analogue format of the mid-continent geological maps, profile sections and stratigraphic columns into digital format.

Kent State University

Research Assistant & Teaching Assistant – Kent, OH | August 2009 – May 2010

  • Taught Earth Dynamics and Earth History courses laboratory experiment courses. The Geodynamics and Earth History lab sessions using crystals and common and unusual rock specimens. The Earth Dynamics Laboratory course is designed to acquainted students with diverse Earth materials including minerals, rocks, and groundwater. Assisted students on how to work with various types of maps commonly used in geology
  • Measured fracture data and analyzing the regional and local patterns in order to characterize the hydraulic conductivities of the Marcelles Shale Formation in Northeastern Ohio.

Geo-Spatial Information Solutions Inc.

Co-founder and General manager – Addis Ababa, Ethiopia | April 2005 – August 2009

  • Planned, managed and implemented the ‘Detailed spatial guide map of the capital City of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa’.
  • Supervised and updated a geospatial guide map and GPS navigation system for Addis Ababa.
    Conducted various geo-spatial 3D model using ArcGIS for various feasibility studies including ground-water occurrence, dimension stone mining, exploration and exploitations
  • Utilized ArcGIS software tools, such as spatial analyst, network analyst, and 3D analyst, to perform topology corrections for geophysical studies, drilling site selection, pipelines, wells, platforms, terminals, city water refineries.
  • Analyzed various project-specific maps and associated databases to assist decision makers in visualizing their full projects and ease further implementation.
  • Provided remote sensing (optical and radar signal processing and interpretation) and Geographical Information Science (GIS) training for geologists, engineers, and upper-echelon management at the National Mining Corporation, the Ethiopian Geological Survey, the Federal Republic of Ethiopia Disaster Preparedness and Preventions Institute, and the Ethiopian Water Well Design and Supervision Enterprise.

National Mining, Inc.

Project Geologist – Addis Ababa, Ethiopia | September 2001 – April 2005

  • Catalogued and curated physical (drill core, dredge, sediments, fluids, synthetic cements, thin sections) and digital (geochemical, microbiologic, SEM, XRD, CT scans) geo-samples. Quantified total volume of the project physical and digital geo-samples for the precious metals (Gold) resources exploration.
  • Prepared the DTM and 3D subsurface model of the project area for subsequent geophysical exploration and drilling site selection. Utilized Data mined spatial datasets and validation maps on a project scale that pertained to drilling.
  • Compiled vector shapefiles in a structured geodatabase using ArcGIS and Python. Multiple iterations of quality assurance and multi- variate analyses to assess data gaps and reduce uncertainty.
  • Developed a central Geospatial database for voluminous precious metals exploration data of the National Mining Inc. collected over 10 years.
Additional Information

The Geospatial and Geodynamics Lab at Geology Department at Wichita State University have the following hardware and software:

  • Four high-performance workstations and other high processing computers
  • One 42" plotter
  • One-color printer
  • One black and white printer
  • One 12" scanner
  • OASIS Montaj-Geosoft for subsurface lithospheric structure modeling and analysis
  • 2D and 3D GEM SYS forward modeling inversion module for Gravity, magnetics and electrical resistivity potential data
  • L3HARRIS Geospatial: Environment for Visualizing Images (ENVI) 5.5.3 software for digital image processing of remotely sensing data including:

Optical imagery pixel tracking module

Multi-Spectral and hyperspectral mapping module

LIDAR: DSM cloud points module

SARscape: Radar Interferometry module (InSAR)

Deep Learning module for fast and accurate automotive analytics results

Photogrammetry module: DSM cloud points generation from stereo images

  • ESRI ArcGIS 10.7 and ArcGIS pro 2.4 software to produce vector-based map production, spatial analysis, Geospatial database, all geoprocessing module extension, web map sharing and to generate story map
  • SNAP Sentinel-1 toolbox (S1TBX), Sentinel-2 toolbox (S2TBX), Sentinel-3 toolbox (S3TBX)
  • GoogleEarth Pro
  • Adobe Web Premium
  • Microsoft Office and Outlook