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19-23. Improving the U.S. Geological Survey response to local and regional earthquakes


Closing Date: January 4, 2021

This Research Opportunity will be filled depending on the availability of funds. All application materials must be submitted through USAJobs by 11:59 pm, US Eastern Standard Time, on the closing date.

How to Apply

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The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is responsible for detecting and characterizing all earthquakes larger than M 2.5 that occur within the United States and responding to significant national and international events to characterize aftershock sequences. For monitoring within the United States, the USGS Albuquerque Seismological Laboratory (ASL) operates the Advanced National Seismic Network (ANSS) and the recently acquired Central and Eastern U.S. Network (CEUSN). Together, these networks are comprised of roughly 250 individual stations which are further supplemented in high-risk regions (such as along the New Madrid and Wasatch Faults) with regionally run networks.  

This project seeks to develop methodologies for improving the ability of the USGS to characterize regional earthquakes in the U.S. and rapidly respond to critical events to capture transient observations. While the ASL’s rapid response efforts have been historically based around seismological instrumentation, we welcome proposals that coordinate geodetic or other geophysical observations with seismic deployments to gain additional insight into fault processes at local and regional scales. Additional potential topics of research could include optimizing deployment techniques to record signals of interest, investigating new technology to record strong ground motions, or developing methodologies to improve the response time to significant events. Understanding earthquake source processes is an evolving field of study, and the new methodologies developed during this project will help further that field. 

The Mendenhall Postdoctoral Fellow will develop and test methods for improving earthquake recordings by working with researchers and field engineers at the ASL. The ASL is located in the remote foothills of the Manzano Mountains and is an ideal location to evaluate geophysical instrumentation, featuring a 160-acre campus with low cultural noise and several unique testing facilities including 40 boreholes, an underground vault, and three shake tables. Additionally, the ANSS, CEUSN, and the USGS Geologic Hazards Science Center’s aftershock rapid response program are operated out of ASL. This will give the postdoctoral fellow opportunities to directly interface with field engineers as well as implement methods and strategies in the field. Finally, the postdoctoral fellow will have access to the extensive computing resources and large seismological data sets stored at ASL to further test their hypotheses. 

Interested applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the Research Advisor(s) early in the application process to discuss project ideas. 


Anthony, R. E., A. T. Ringler. D. C. Wilson, and E. Wolin (2018). Do low-cost seismographs perform well enough for your network? An overview of laboratory tests and field observations of the Raspberry Shake 4D, Seismological Research Letters, 90, 219-228. 

Wilson, D., A. T. Ringler, T. Storm, and R. E. Anthony (2019). Rapid Station and Network Quality Analysis for Temporary Deployments, Seismological Research Letters, 90, 1494-1501.  

Proposed Duty Station: Albuquerque, NM 

Areas of PhD: Geophysics, physics, applied mathematics, engineering, or related fields (candidates holding a Ph.D. in other disciplines, but with extensive knowledge and skills relevant to the Research Opportunity may be considered). 

Qualifications: Applicants must meet one of the following qualifications: Research Civil EngineerResearch Computer EngineerResearch Computer ScientistResearch EngineerResearch GeodesistResearch GeophysicistResearch MathematicianResearch Mechanical EngineerResearch Physical ScientistResearch Physicist

(This type of research is performed by those who have backgrounds for the occupations stated above.  However, other titles may be applicable depending on the applicant's background, education, and research proposal. The final classification of the position will be made by the Human Resources specialist.) 

Human Resources Office Contact: Joseline Martinez Lopez, 303-236-9559, 

Apply Here