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Andrew Michael

I love that seismology lets me study a fascinating natural process and use that knowledge to help people understand earthquakes and live with them safely. I combine observations of earthquakes with statistical models to assess hazards, evaluate earthquake predictions, seek to understand how geologic structures and tectonic forces cause earthquakes, and communicate that information to the public.

Andy Michael has been a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey’s Earthquake Science Center since 1986.  He combines observations of earthquake processes and statistical models to determine long-term and short-term earthquake probabilities, to evaluate proposed earthquake prediction methods, and to better understand how stress and structure function as part of the seismogenic process.  A graduate of MIT (B.S., 1981) and Stanford University (M.S., 1983, Ph.D. 1986), he has authored over 100 papers and reports. He was the Editor-in-Chief of the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America from 2004 to 2010. He also served the Society as President and on its Board of Directors.

His outreach efforts include founding the Earthquake Science Center web site, which became part of, in order to facilitate the rapid dissemination of earthquake information and a lecture and performance titled “The Music of Earthquakes.”  That lecture combines music and seismology and features “Earthquake Quartet #1,” his composition for voice, cello, trombone, and sonified seismograms.  He is a founder of an online educational resource: The Community Online Resource for Statistical Seismicity Analysis. 

He currently works on the USGS aftershock forecasts under the Earthquake Processes, Probabilities, and Occurrence Project, long-term hazards assessments as part of the National Seismic Hazard Model Project and is a member of the National Earthquake Prediction Evaluation Council.

For his service to the Seismological Society of America he received its Distinguished Service Award in 2011.  For his career contributions, he received the Department of the Interior’s Distinguished Service Award in 2019.