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    Analysis of tectonic and earthquake-cycle associated deformation of the crust can provide valuable insights into the underlying deformation processes including fault slip. How those processes are expressed at the surface depends on the lateral and depth variations of rock properties. The effect of such variations is often tested by forward models based on a priori geological or geophysical information. Here, we first develop a novel technique based on an open-source finite-element computational framework to invert geodetic constraints directly for heterogeneous media properties. We focus on the elastic, coseismic problem and seek to constrain variations in shear modulus and Poisson’s ratio, proxies for the effects of lithology and/or temperature and porous flow, respectively. The corresponding nonlinear inversion is implemented using adjoint-based optimization that efficiently reduces the cost function that includes the misfit between the calculated and observed displacements and a penalty term. We then extend our theoretical and numerical framework to simultaneously infer both heterogeneous Earth’s structure and fault slip from surface deformation. Based on a range of 2-D synthetic cases, we find that both model parameters can be satisfactorily estimated for the megathrust setting-inspired test problems considered. Within limits, this is the case even in the presence of noise and if the fault geometry is not perfectly known. Our method lays the foundation for a future reassessment of the information contained in increasingly data-rich settings, for example, geodetic GNSS constraints for large earthquakes such as the 2011 Tohoku-oki M9 event, or distributed deformation along plate boundaries as constrained from InSAR.

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    The low-J rotational transitions of 12CO are commonly used to trace the distribution of molecular gas in galaxies. Their ratios are sensitive to excitation and physical conditions in the molecular gas. Spatially resolved studies of CO ratios are still sparse and affected by flux calibration uncertainties, especially since most do not have high angular resolution or do not have short-spacing information and hence miss any diffuse emission. We compare the low-J CO ratios across the disc of two massive, star-forming spiral galaxies NGC 2903 and NGC 3627 to investigate whether and how local environments drive excitation variations at GMC scales. We use Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) observations of the three lowest-J CO transitions at a common angular resolution of 4 arcsec (190 pc). We measure median line ratios of $R_{21}=0.67^{+0.13}_{-0.11}$, $R_{32}=0.33^{+0.09}_{-0.08}$, and $R_{31}=0.24^{+0.10}_{-0.09}$ across the full disc of NGC 3627. We see clear CO line ratio variation across the galaxy consistent with changes in temperature and density of the molecular gas. In particular, towards the centre, R21, R32, and R31 increase by 35  per cent, 50  per cent, and 66  per cent, respectively, compared to their average disc values. The overall line ratio trends suggest that CO(3–2) is more sensitive to changes in the excitation conditions than the two lower J transitions. Furthermore, we find a similar radial R32 trend in NGC 2903, albeit a larger disc-wide average of $\langle R_{32}\rangle =0.47^{+0.14}_{-0.08}$. We conclude that the CO low-J line ratios vary across environments in such a way that they can trace changes in the molecular gas conditions, with the main driver being changes in temperature.

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    We introduce a new finite-element (FE) based computational framework to solve forward and inverse elastic deformation problems for earthquake faulting via the adjoint method. Based on two advanced computational libraries, FEniCS and hIPPYlib for the forward and inverse problems, respectively, this framework is flexible, transparent and easily extensible. We represent a fault discontinuity through a mixed FE elasticity formulation, which approximates the stress with higher order accuracy and exposes the prescribed slip explicitly in the variational form without using conventional split node and decomposition discrete approaches. This also allows the first order optimality condition, that is the vanishing of the gradient, to be expressed in continuous form, which leads to consistent discretizations of all field variables, including the slip. We show comparisons with the standard, pure displacement formulation and a model containing an in-plane mode II crack, whose slip is prescribed via the split node technique. We demonstrate the potential of this new computational framework by performing a linear coseismic slip inversion through adjoint-based optimization methods, without requiring computation of elastic Green’s functions. Specifically, we consider a penalized least squares formulation, which in a Bayesian setting—under the assumption of Gaussian noise and prior—reflects the negative log of the posterior distribution. The comparison of the inversion results with a standard, linear inverse theory approach based on Okada’s solutions shows analogous results. Preliminary uncertainties are estimated via eigenvalue analysis of the Hessian of the penalized least squares objective function. Our implementation is fully open-source and Jupyter notebooks to reproduce our results are provided. The extension to a fully Bayesian framework for detailed uncertainty quantification and non-linear inversions, including for heterogeneous media earthquake problems, will be analysed in a forthcoming paper.

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  4. The complex physical, kinematic, and chemical properties of galaxy centres make them interesting environments to examine with molecular line emission. We present new 2 − 4″ (∼75 − 150 pc at 7.7 Mpc) observations at 2 and 3 mm covering the central 50″ (∼1.9 kpc) of the nearby double-barred spiral galaxy NGC 6946 obtained with the IRAM Plateau de Bure Interferometer. We detect spectral lines from ten molecules: CO, HCN, HCO + , HNC, CS, HC 3 N, N 2 H + , C 2 H, CH 3 OH, and H 2 CO. We complemented these with published 1 mm CO observations and 33 GHz continuum observations to explore the star formation rate surface density Σ SFR on 150 pc scales. In this paper, we analyse regions associated with the inner bar of NGC 6946 – the nuclear region (NUC), the northern (NBE), and southern inner bar end (SBE) and we focus on short-spacing corrected bulk (CO) and dense gas tracers (HCN, HCO + , and HNC). We find that HCO + correlates best with Σ SFR , but the dense gas fraction ( f dense ) and star formation efficiency of the dense gas (SFE dense ) fits show different behaviours than expected from large-scale disc observations. The SBE has a higher Σ SFR , f dense , and shocked gas fraction than the NBE. We examine line ratio diagnostics and find a higher CO(2−1)/CO(1−0) ratio towards NBE than for the NUC. Moreover, comparison with existing extragalactic datasets suggests that using the HCN/HNC ratio to probe kinetic temperatures is not suitable on kiloparsec and sub-kiloparsec scales in extragalactic regions. Lastly, our study shows that the HCO + /HCN ratio might not be a unique indicator to diagnose AGN activity in galaxies. 
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  5. null (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT Both the CO(2–1) and CO(1–0) lines are used to trace the mass of molecular gas in galaxies. Translating the molecular gas mass estimates between studies using different lines requires a good understanding of the behaviour of the CO(2–1)-to-CO(1–0) ratio, R21. We compare new, high-quality CO(1–0) data from the IRAM 30-m EMIR MultiLine Probe of the ISM Regulating Galaxy Evolution survey to the latest available CO(2–1) maps from HERA CO-Line Extragalactic Survey, Physics at High Angular resolution in Nearby Galaxies-ALMA, and a new IRAM 30-m M51 Large Program. This allows us to measure R21 across the full star-forming disc of nine nearby, massive, star-forming spiral galaxies at 27 arcsec (∼1–2 kpc) resolution. We find an average R21 = 0.64 ± 0.09 when we take the luminosity-weighted mean of all individual galaxies. This result is consistent with the mean ratio for disc galaxies that we derive from single-pointing measurements in the literature, $R_{\rm 21, lit}~=~0.59^{+0.18}_{-0.09}$. The ratio shows weak radial variations compared to the point-to-point scatter in the data. In six out of nine targets, the central enhancement in R21 with respect to the galaxy-wide mean is of order of ${\sim}10{-}20{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$. We estimate an azimuthal scatter of ∼20 per cent in R21 at fixed galactocentric radius but this measurement is limited by our comparatively coarse resolution of 1.5 kpc. We find mild correlations between R21 and carbon monoxide (CO) brightness temperature, infrared (IR) intensity, 70–160 µm ratio, and IR-to-CO ratio. All correlations indicate that R21 increases with gas surface density, star formation rate surface density, and the interstellar radiation field. 
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  6. The discovery of the thermosphere-ionosphere Fe (TIFe) layers has opened a door to exploring the least understood thermosphere and ionosphere region between 100 and 200 km with ground-based lidar instruments. The characteristics of the polar TIFe layers, and the impacts of the atmosphere neutral dynamics, electrodynamics, and metallic chemistry on the formation of TIFe layers deserve further investigation, especially the diurnal cycles of TIFe layers observed by lidar. This paper aims at investigating the major driving forces with 1-D Thermosphere-Ionosphere Fe/Fe + (TIFe) model. A main question to answer is whether neutral dynamics like tidal winds or electrodynamics like the convection electric fields and currents in the magnetosphere and ionosphere are responsible for the diurnal cycle of TIFe layers. 
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