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22-27. Improving estimates of long-term fault slip rates for the U.S. National Seismic Hazard Model

This research opportunity focuses on constraining long-term fault slip rates used in earthquake rupture forecasts as part of the National Seismic Hazard Model. A major emphasis is developing and applying novel techniques, such as Bayesian methods, to characterize uncertainties.

Description of the Research Opportunity

The U.S. National Seismic Hazard Model (NSHM) provides seismic hazard analysis for all states and U.S. territories and forms the basis for the seismic provisions of U.S. building codes, as well as other engineering-design requirements, risk assessments, and planning decisions. Development of the NSHM is currently separated into an earthquake rupture forecast, which forecasts the magnitudes, locations, and frequencies of earthquakes, and the ground-motion characterization, which forecasts the ground shaking, including its uncertainty, for all earthquakes in the rupture forecast. This opportunity addresses research to quantify long-term fault slip rates, and their uncertainties, which underly the earthquake rupture forecast for the western United States.   

Proposals for this opportunity may address basic or applied research to constrain long-term fault slip rates and quantify their uncertainties, with future application to the NSHM. We encourage development and application of novel techniques, particularly Bayesian methods, to determine long-term slip rates and epistemic uncertainties leveraging geologic and geodetic datasets. Important scientific questions that could be addressed include: How do we make the most effective use of geologic and geodetic data in constraining fault slip rates? How do viscoelastic effects and nontectonic deformation influence our interpretation of geodetic data? How do variations and uncertainties in crustal properties influence estimates of fault slip rates from geodetic data? How do we account for unmodeled faults in constraining fault slip rates? 

Interested applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the Research Advisors prior to formulating a project proposal to discuss current directions and projects within USGS and ideas for potential projects ideas.  


Proposed Duty Station(s)

Golden, Colorado   


Areas of PhD

Geophysics, geology, 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). 



Applicants must meet one of the following qualifications: Research Geophysicist, Research Mathematician, Research Statistician, Research 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.)