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21-43. Candidate driven proposals to the earthquake hazards program


Closing Date: November 1, 2022

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.

Please communicate with individual Research Advisor(s) on the right to discuss project ideas and answer specific questions about the Research Opportunity.

How to Apply


The USGS Earthquake Hazards Program (EHP) invites candidates to propose any project that addresses the goals of the program, that can be carried out in collaboration with one or more of the scientists listed below, and that does not fit under the one of the other currently advertised Research Opportunities.  The goal of this broad opportunity is for the EHP to be open to new ideas and the creativity of Mendenhall Fellows. 

Proposals that address the activities described by the other currently advertised Research Opportunities, especially those that include advisors in the EHP, should be submitted to those Research Opportunities. 

Under the Earthquake Hazards Program, the USGS is responsible for reporting on significant domestic and international earthquakes and conducting research and other activities necessary to characterize and identify earthquake hazards; assessing earthquake risks, monitoring seismic activity, and improving earthquake forecasts. USGS EHP roles are national – sometimes global – in scope, and further include: 

  • Domestic and Global earthquake monitoring using data and services from seismic and geodetic networks of the Advanced National Seismic System (ANSS) and through the operation and maintenance of the Global Seismographic Network (GSN).  The ANSS involves partnerships between monitoring at the National Earthquake Information Center (NEIC) in Golden, CO, and both internally and externally participating Regional Seismic Networks (RSNs).  The GSN works in in partnership with the NSF and the NEIC function as a 24/7 service dedicated to the rapid characterization of all significant earthquakes worldwide. 

  • Production of the Comprehensive Earthquake Catalog (ComCat) including hypocenters, magnitudes, moment tensors, finite fault models, estimates of shaking (ShakeMaps), reports of intensity (Did You Feel It?), estimates of damage and fatalities (PAGER), estimates of landslides and liquefaction (Ground Failure), and Operational Aftershock Forecasts (OAF). 

  • State-of-the-art hazard assessments through maintenance and refinement of the National Seismic Hazard Model (NSHM), which is the basis for the seismic provisions incorporated into state and local building codes and the seismic design of engineered buildings and infrastructure. 

  • Earthquake Early Warning (ShakeAlert) is being developed and operated in in partnership between the USGS EHP, States, and Universities hosting West Coast RSNs. ShakeAlert is currently operational in California, Oregon, and Washington. 

Scientists within the EHP undertake basic and applied research to improve all the objectives listed above as well as observational and theoretical research to better understand the earthquake process and its impact on society. This includes, but is not limited to the characterization of fault systems and their behavior based on geology, seismology, and geophysics; earthquake history over a wide range of time scales including paleoseismology, historical studies, and instrumental seismology; coseismic, postseismic, and interseismic deformation from geodesy and deformation studies; laboratory and borehole experiments on rock physics; understanding anthropogenically induced seismicity; crustal structure and wave propagation from the source through the site effects in order to produce ground motion models; ground failure processes such as landslides and liquefaction; hazards assessment methodology; the interface between hazards assessment and earthquake engineering; improved and rapid assessment of earthquakes; and social science to understand earthquake impacts on society and improved communication of earthquake information. 

In addition to the basic and applied research topics listed above, proposals focused on research targeting earthquake hazard mitigation and risk reduction in underserved communities, and in populations whose vulnerability may be directly related to socioeconomic factors, are strongly encouraged.  The EHP supports opportunities for engaging the user community at both the national and regional levels. 

Applicants should examine the references listed below to further understand the scope of the EHP, develop an abstract for their proposed work, and examine the other Research Opportunities to determine if their idea fits within one of those. If their idea does not fit any of the other Research Opportunities, they should contact one or more appropriate research advisors from the list below to get a conditional agreement to work together, should the proposal be selected for funding.  When drafting a proposal, it is critical that the work be feasible within the two-year postdoctoral appointment period. 

List of possible research advisors to contact: 

  • Adam Ringler, 505-846-6116,, Albuquerque, NM Data quality, instrumentation, long-period seismology; 

  • Oliver Boyd, 303-273-8617,, Golden, CO,National 3D geophysical models for improved source/ground motion characterization in seismic hazard analysis; 

  • Kyle Withers, 303-273-8619,, Golden, CO, Refinement to NSHM via machine learning, simulations, and other approaches that target improved ground motion characterization; 

  • Nadine Reitman, 303-273-8499,, Golden, CO, Tectonic geomorphology, earthquake geology, landscape evolution (including models), remote sensing (lidar, optical, photogrammetry, insar); 

  • Chris Duross, 801-641-4008,, Golden, CO, Terrestrial and lacustrine paleoseismology, geochronology, remote sensing, earthquake probability and hazard modeling; 

  • Alex Hatem, 303-273-8474, ahatem@usgs.gv, Golden, CO, Earthquake geology; tectonics, active faulting, and fault evolution; earthquake rupture forecast development;

  • Andrea Llenos, 303-273-8557,, Golden, CO, Statistical seismology, earthquake probabilities, seismic hazard assessments, earthquake swarms, induced seismicity, earthquake rate models; 

  • Brad Aagaard, 303-273-8481,, Golden, CO, Ground motion simulations, earthquake rupture dynamics, postseismic and interseismic crustal deformation; 

  • Michelle Guy, 303-273-8650,, Golden, CO, Computer science for real time application of scientific processing for new areas of development such as Machine Learning, DAS, etc.; 

  • David Wald, 303-273-8441,, Golden, CO, Real-time earthquake information systems, earthquake impacts, ground failure, civil engineering, macroseismics, ground motions; 

  • Will Yeck, 303-330-2648,, Golden, CO, seismic monitoring, earthquake source characterization, machine learning, seismotectonics; 

  • William Stephenson, 303-273-8573,, Golden, CO, Seismic basin imaging, seismic imaging of fault zones, site characterization, site response, seismic velocity models; 

  • Kishor S. Jaiswal, 303-273-8584,, Golden, CO, Civil/Structural Engineering, Hazards, Impacts, and Risk to Built Environment (Buildings and Infrastructure), Real-time earthquake loss/impact forecast, ground failure, civil engineering, macroseismic intensity and vulnerability analyses; 

  • Rich Briggs, 303-273-8465,, Golden, CO, Earthquake geology, Quaternary geology, subduction zones, seismic hazard;

  • Morgan Moschetti, 303-273-8464,, Golden, CO, Earthquake ground motions, site and basin amplification, use of 3D simulations, Probabilistic Seismic Hazards Assessment; 

  • Paul Earle, 303-273-8417,, Golden,CO, Earthquake monitoring (detection, location, source charaterization, and improved automated processing), earthquake catalog production and analysis; 

  • Andrew Michael, 650-439-2777,, Moffett Field , CA, Earthquake probabilities, hazard assessment, aftershock forecasting and clustering, stress inversions from focal mechanisms; 

  • Ruth Harris, 650-439-2842,, Moffett Field, CA, dynamic rupture modeling, earthquake interactions, creeping faults; 

  • Sarah Minson, 650-439-2879,, Moffett Field, CA, Distributed slip models, kinematic rupture models, probabilistic inference, inverse methods, high performance computing;

  • Steve DeLong, 651-356-4102,, Moffett Field, CA, Tectonic Geomorphology, Remote sensing (especially lidar, optical imagery), Earthquake Geology, Geochronology.;

  • Jeanne Hardebeck, 650-439-2711,, Moffett Field, CA, Earthquake stress triggering, crustal stress, seismotectonics, aftershock forecasting;

  • Robert Skoumal, 650-439-2241,, Moffett Field, CA, Machine learning, induced seismicity, earthquake catalog improvements, fault characterization; 

  • Evan Hirakawa, 650-439-2632,, Moffett Field, CA, ground motion simulations, dynamic/kinematic rupture models, seismic velocity models, site response, basin response;

  • Belle Philibosian, 650-439-2784,, Moffett Field, CA, Earthquake geology, paleoseismology, earthquake cycle, rupture segmentation and recurrence patterns, subduction zones; 

  • Alan Yong, 626-840-4061,, Moffett Field or Pasadena, CA, ground motion simulations, seismic velocity models, site response, basin response, site characterization;

  • Grace Parker, 650-439-2609,, Moffett Field, CA, Earthquake ground motion models, site response, basin response, earthquake early warning; 

  • Jessica Murray, 650-439-2864,, Moffett Field, CA,Crustal deformation modeling using geodetic data; GNSS for EEW; aseismic and transient fault slip; 

  • Ben Brooks, 650-439-2436,, Moffett Field, CA, Seafloor geodesy,near-fault geodesy and shallow fault slip, fault creep, low cost sensor EEW; 

  • Sue Hough, 626-297-4114,, Pasadena, CA, Earthquake ground motions, historical earthquakes, international capacity development;

  • Morgan Page, 626-583-6804,, Pasadena, CA, Statistical seismology, earthquake forecasting;

  • Elizabeth Cochran, 626-583-7238,, Pasadena, CA, Induced earthquakes, earthquake early warning, earthquake triggering, rupture processes, large-n, novel sensors;

  • Clara Yoon, 626-658-0229,, Pasadena, CA, Earthquake monitoring, earthquake catalog improvements, seismicity analysis, machine learning;

  • Kate Scharer, 626-583-7240,, Pasadena, CA, Earthquake geology, Quaternary geochronology, landscape evolution, fault zone damage;

  • Joan Gomberg, 206-941-7498,, Seattle, WA, Fault slip triggering processes, and feedbacks between them and Earth structure ; 

  • Erin Wirth , 206-685-7563,, Seattle, WA, Earthquake hazards, strong ground motions, subduction zones;

  • Alex Grant, 207-272-7160,, Seattle, WA, Coseismic hazards (landslides and liquefaction), site response, subduction zones. 


EHP website 

EHP External Research Priorities – FY23 

Hickman, S. H. (2020). U.S. Geological Survey Earthquake Science Center, Report 2019-3067, 4 pp, Reston, VA, 10.3133/fs20193067. 

Holmes, R.R., Jr., Jones, L.M., Eidenshink, J.C., Godt, J.W., Kirby, S.H., Love, J.J., Neal, C.A., Plant, N.G., Plunkett, M.L., Weaver, C.S., Wein, Anne, and Perry, S.C., 2013, U.S. Geological Survey natural hazards science strategy— Promoting the safety, security, and economic well-being of the Nation: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1383–F, 79 p. 

ShakeAlert, Earthquake Early Warning Website 

Proposed Duty Station(s):  Albuquerque, New Mexico; Golden, Colorado; Moffett Field, California; Pasadena, California; Seattle, Washington. (Note: successful candidates may be expected to collocate with one of their proposed advisors) 

Areas of PhD: Geophysics, geology, geoscience, seismology, geodesy, statistics, social science, sociology, economics, anthropology, communication or media studies, visual design, cartography, UX design, geology, engineering, mathematics, or computer science 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 Geophysicist, Research Geologist, Research Geodesist, Research Physical Scientist, Research Computer Scientist, Research Economist, Research Engineer, Research Mathematician, Research Physicist, Research Statistician, Research Social Scientist, Research Sociologist, Operations Research Analyst.  

(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:  Audrey Tsujita, 916-278-9395,

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