Danny Brothers

I currently lead a project called "Marine Geohazards of the U.S. West Coast and Alaska" and I spend about 6-10 weeks per year at sea collecting marine geophysical data. You can learn more about the project and its members here


I received my Ph.D. in 2009 from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, then moved to Woods Hole, MA, for a Mendenhall Postdoctoral Fellowship. In 2013, I moved to Santa Cruz, CA, where I currently work as a Research Geophysicist at the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center. I grew up in Colorado and spent four years at CU Boulder for undergraduate studies in geophysics.

My research is focused on the following topics:

  • Development and application of geophysical approaches to offshore earthquake, landslide and tsunami hazard assessments
  • Marine paleoseismology
  • Understanding the interplay between tectonic, sedimentary, climatic processes along continental margins
  • Combining basic and applied research to study the geomorphic development of continental margins, including substrate fluid flow



Liberty, L.M., Brothers, D.S., Haeussler, P.J., 2019, Tsunamigenic splay faults imply a long‐term asperity in southern Prince William Sound, Alaska, Geophysical Research Letters, https://doi.org/10.1029/2018GL081528. 

Kluesner, J., Brothers, D.S., Hart, P., Miller, N., & Hatcher, G. (2018). Practical approaches to maximizing the resolution of sparker seismic reflection data. Marine Geophysical Research, 1-23, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11001-018-9367-2.

Brothers, D.S., J. Elliot, J.E. Conrad, P. Haeussler, 2018, Strain partitioning in southeastern Alaska: is the Chatham Strait Fault active? Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 481, p. 362-371.

Edwards, J., J.W. Kluesner, E.A Silver, E.E. Brodsky, D.S Brothers, N.L. Bangs, J.D. Kirkpatrick, R. Wood, K. Okamoto, 2018, Corrugated megathrust revealed offshore Costa Rica, Nature Geoscience, 11, 3, p197-201. 

Brothers, D.S., K.L. Maier, J.M. Kluesner, J.C. Conrad, J.D. Chaytor, 2018, Repeated failure of uplifted basin sediment, Santa Cruz Basin, southern California. In: California Continental Borderlands: from the Mountains to the Abyss, an SEPM Special Volume. Editors: K. Marsaglia, R. Schwalbach, v. 110.

Conrad, J.E., D.S. Brothers, K.L. Maier, R. Sliter, H. Ryan, P. Dartnell, 2018, Active, base of slope, shear along the southern California continental margin. In: California Continental Borderlands: from the Mountains to the Abyss, an SEPM Special Volume. Editors: K. Marsaglia, R. Schwalbach, v. 110, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dsr2.2017.11.001. 

Conrad, J.E., M. Walton, N. Prouty, J.W. Kluesner, E. Roland, K.L Maier, D.S Brothers, P. Dartnel, 2018, Fault controls on active seabed gas seepage along the Kimki Ridge, southern California, Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography, v. 150, p. 82-89.

Brothers, D.S., B.D. Andrews, M. Walton, G. Greene, V. Barrie, N.C. Miller, U.S. ten Brink, A.E. East, P. Haeussler, J. Kluesner, J. Conrad, 2018, Slope failure and mass transport processes along the Queen Charlotte Fault, southeastern Alaska, in Subaqueous Mass Movements and Their Consequences: Assessing Geohazards, Environmental Implications, eds. C. Campbell, G. Lintern, P. Bobrowski, Geological Society, London, Special Publications, v. 477. 

Greene, G., V. Barrie, Brothers, D.S., J. Conrad, K. Conway, A. East, R. Enkin, K. Maier, S. Nishenko, M. Walton, K. Rohr, 2018, Slope failure and mass wasting processes along the Queen Charlotte Fault, western British Columbia, in Subaqueous Mass Movements and Their Consequences: Assessing Geohazards, Environmental Implications, eds. C. Campbell, G. Lintern, P. Bobrowski, Geological Society of London Special Volume, v. 477.

Hill, J., D.S. Brothers, D. Sawyer, D. Shillington, M. Hornbach, 2018, Cape Fear Slide, in Subaqueous Mass Movements and Their Consequences: Assessing Geohazards, Environmental Implications, eds. C. Campbell, G. Lintern, P. Bobrowski, Geological Society, London, Special Publications, v. 477.

Maier, K. L., Roland, E. C., Walton, M. A., Conrad, J. E., Brothers, D. S., Dartnell, P., & Kluesner, J. W. (2018). The Tectonically Controlled San Gabriel Channel–Lobe Transition Zone, Catalina Basin, Southern California Borderland. Journal of Sedimentary Research, 88(8), 942-959.

ten Brink, U. S., Miller, N. C., Andrews, B. D., Brothers, D. S., & Haeussler, P. J. (2018). Deformation of the Pacific/North America plate boundary at Queen Charlotte Fault: The possible role of rheology. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 123(5), 4223-4242.

Barrie, J V; Greene, H G; Brothers, D; Conway, K W; Enkin, R J; Conrad, J E; Lauer, R M; McGann, M; Neelands, P J; East, A; Geological Survey of Canada, Open File 8398, 2018, 161 pages, https://doi.org/10.4095/308327

Brothers, D.S., P. Haeussler, A. East, B.D. Andrews, U.S. ten Brink,  N.C. Miller, J.W. Kluesner, P. Dartnell, 2018, A closer look at an undersea source of Alaskan earthquakes, EOS, v. 98, https://doi.org/10.1029/2017EO079019.

Maier, K.L., C.K. Paull, D.S. Brothers, D.W. Caress, M. McGann, E.M. Lundsten, K. Anderson, R. Gwiazda, 2017, Investigation of San Gregorio Fault Zone late Pleistocene and Holocene activity on the continental slope north of Monterey Canyon, offshore central California, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, v. 107, n. 3, p. 1094–1106.

Hill, J., D.S. Brothers, B.K. Craig, U.S. ten Brink, J.D. Chaytor, C. Flores, 2017, Geologic controls on submarine slope failure along the central U.S. Atlantic margin: Insights from the Currituck Slide Complex, Marine Geology, v. 385, p.114-130, DOI: 10.1016/j.margeo.2016.10.007. [Link]

Maier, K.L., D.S. Brothers, C.K. Paull, M. McGann, D.W. Caress, J.E. Conrad, 2017, Records of continental slope sediment flow morphodynamic responses to gradient and active faulting from integrated AUV and ROV data, offshore Palos Verdes, southern California borderland, Marine Geology, in press, DOI: 10.1016/j.margeo.2016.10.001. [Link]

Chaytor, J.D., A.W.J. Demopoulos, U.S. ten Brink, C. Baxter, A.M. Quattrini, D.S. Brothers, 2016, Assessment of Canyon Wall Failure Process from Multibeam Bathymetry and Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) Observations, US Atlantic Continental Margin; Submarine Mass Movements and their Consequences, v. 41, 103-113, DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-20979-1_10. [Link]

Kluesner, J., D.S. Brothers, 2016, Seismic attribute detection of faults and fluid pathways within an active strike-slip shear zone: New insights from high-resolution 3D P-Cable™ seismic data along the Hosgri Fault, offshore California, Interpretation, 4, 1, DOI: 10.1190/INT-2015-0143.1. [Download File]

Brothers, D.S., P.J. Haeussler, L. Liberty, D. Finlayson, E. Geist, K. Labay, M. Byerly, 2016, A submarine landslide source for the devastating 1964 Chenega tsunami, southern Alaska; Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 438, 112–121. [Download File]

Dartnell, P. N.W. Driscoll, D.S. Brothers, J.E. Conrad, J. Kluesner, G.M. Kent, 2015, Colored shaded-relief bathymetry, acoustic backscatter, and selected perspective views of the Inner Continental Borderland, southern California; USGS Scientific Investigations Map 3324, 3 sheets. [Link]

Klotsko, S., N.W. Driscoll, G.M. Kent, D.S. Brothers, 2015, Continental shelf morphology and stratigraphy offshore San Onofre, California: the interplay between rates of eustatic change and sediment supply; Marine Geology, doi:10.1016/j.margeo.2015.08.003. [Link]

Brothers, D.S., J.E. Conrad, K.L. Maier, C.K. Paull, M. McGann, D.W. Caress, 2015, The Palos Verdes Fault offshore Southern California: Late Pleistocene to present tectonic geomorphology, seascape evolution, and slip rate estimate based on AUV and ROV surveys; Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 120, 4734–4758, doi:10.1002/2015JB011938. [Download File]

Obelcz, J. D.S. Brothers, U. ten Brink, J. Chaytor, C. Worley, E. Moore, 2014, Chirp seismic reflection data from Baltimore, Washington, and Norfolk Canyons, U.S. Mid-Atlantic Margin; USGS Open File Report, 2014-1118. [Link]

Skarke, A., C. Ruppel, M. Kodis, D. Brothers, E. Lobecker, Widespread methane leakage from the sea floor on the northern US Atlantic margin, 2014; Nature Geoscience, 7, 657–661. [Download File]

Brothers, D.S., C. Ruppel, J. Kluesner, J.D. Chaytor, U.S. ten Brink, J.C Hill, C. Flores, B. Andrews, 2014, Evidence for seabed fluid expulsion along the upper slope and outer shelf of the U.S. Atlantic margin; Geophysical Research Letters, doi:10.1002/2013GL058048. [Download File]

Obelcz, J., D.S. Brothers, J.D. Chaytor, U.S. ten Brink, S. Ross, S. Brooke, 2014, Geomorphic characterization of four shelf-sourced submarine canyons, U.S. Atlantic margin; Deep Sea Research II, v. 104, p. 106–119. [Download File]

U.S. ten Brink, J.D. Chaytor, E. Geist, D.S Brothers, B. Andrews, 2014, Assessment of tsunami hazards to the U.S. Atlantic margin; Marine Geology, v. 353, p. 31–54. [Download File]

Andrews, B.D., J.D. Chaytor, U.S. ten Brink, D.S. Brothers, J.V. Gardner, 2013, Bathymetric terrain model of the Atlantic Margin for marine geological investigations; U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2012–1266, 11 p. [Link]

Brothers, D.S., K. Luttrell, J. Chaytor, 2013, Sea-level–induced seismicity and submarine landslide occurrence; Geology, v. 41, no. 9, 979–982. [Download File]

Brothers, D.S., U. ten Brink, B. Andrews, 2013, Geomorphic process fingerprints in submarine canyons; Marine Geology, v. 338, p.46–63. [Download File]

Brothers, D.S., U. ten Brink, B. Andrews, J. Chaytor, D. Twichell, 2013, Geomorphic characterization of the US Atlantic continental margin; Marine Geology, v. 337, p.53–66. [Download File]

Brothers, D.S., A.J. Harding, A. Gonzalez-Fernandez, W.S. Holbrook, G.M. Kent, N.W. Driscoll, J. Fletcher, D. Lizarralde, P.J. Umhoeffer, G. Axen, 2012, Farallon slab detachment and deformation of the Magdalena Shelf, southern Baja California; Geophysical Research Letters, doi:10.1029/2011GL050828. [Download File]

Kleppe, J.A., D.S. Brothers, G.M. Kent, F. Biondi, S. Jensen, N.W. Driscoll, 2011, Timing and severity of Medieval drought in the Lake Tahoe Basin; Quaternary Science Reviews, 30, 3269–3279. [Download File]

Brothers, D.S., D.K. Kilb, K. Luttrell, G. Kent, N. Driscoll, 2011, Flood induced rupture of faults beneath the Salton Sea; Nature Geoscience, 4, 486-492. [Download File]

Brothers, D.S., N.W. Driscoll, G.M. Kent, A.J. Harding, J.M. Babcock, R.L. Baskin, 2009, Tectonic evolution of the Salton Sea inferred from seismic reflection data; Nature Geoscience, 2, 581-584.[Download File]

Brothers, D.S., G.M. Kent, N.W. Driscoll, S.B. Smith, R. Karlin, J.A. Dingler, A.J. Harding, G.G. Seitz, J.M. Babcock, 2009, New constraints on deformation, slip rate, and timing o the most recent earthquake on the West Tahoe-Dollar Point Fault, Lake Tahoe Basin, California; Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 99, 2A, 499–519. [Download File]


News and Outreach:

March, 2016, USGS Soundwaves, "50-Year-Old Mystery Solved: Seafloor Mapping Reveals Cause of 1964 Tsunami that Destroyed Alaskan Village"

February 1, 2016, Anchorage Daily News, "New technology lets scientists pinpoint underwater landslide that triggered deadly 1964 tsunami"

February 2, 2016, FOX NEWS, "USGS discovers source of Alaska tsunami that decimated village in 1964"

February 1, 2016, USGS Press Release, "50-Year-Old Mystery Solved: Seafloor Mapping Reveals Cause of 1964 Tsunami that Destroyed Alaskan Village"

January, 2016, USGS Soundwaves, "Investigating the Offshore Queen Charlotte-Fairweather Fault System in Southeastern Alaska, and its Potential to Produce Earthquakes, Tsunamis, and Submarine Landslides"

January, 2016, USGS Soundwaves, "Artificial-Gas-Seep Test Produces 3D Images of Bubble Plumes in the Ocean"

August 24, 2014 NY Times, "Methane is discovered seeping from seafloor off East Coast, scientists say"

October, 2011, USGS Soundwaves, "High-Resolution Multibeam Mapping of Mid-Atlantic Canyons to Assess Tsunami Hazards"

July 6, 2011 LA Times, “Scientists tie Colorado River flooding to San Andreas Quakes” 

July 3, 2011 San Francisco Chronicle, “Big quake near Salton Sea may be long overdue”

June 29, 2011 Discovery News, “Smaller Salton Sea silences seismic shocks” 

June 29, 2011 USA Today, “Salton Sea floods flipped San Andreas earthquake trigger” 

January 9, 2010 Nature News, “Floods linked to San Andreas quakes” 

July 28, 2009 LA Times feature “More earthquake faults discovered at the Salton Sea”

May 15, 2009 CBS 5, “Lake Tahoe may be due for huge quake, tsunami”