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Dennis Michael Staley

Current research focuses on landslide hazards in Alaska, specifically on tsunamigenic landslides in Prince William Sound. Past research includes post-wildfire debris flow hazards in the western United States, the geomorphology of alluvial and debris-flow fans and talus deposits in arid and alpine environments, and the assessment of aquatic, riparian and wetland ecosystem health and function.

I am a Research Physical Scientist in the Alaska Volcano Observatory in Anchorage, Alaska, where I currently lead a project related to landslide hazards in Prince William Sound.  This project is currently aimed at improving our understanding of the tsunamigenic potential and corresponding risk associated with large rock slope failures in recently deglaciated fiords.  

Prior to moving to Alaska in the fall of 2021, I worked at the Geologic Hazards Science Center in Golden, Colorado, where I studied post-fire debris flows.  This research focused on advancing our understanding of the topographic, geologic, hydrologic, and meteorological conditions that influence the location, timing, and magnitude of post-fire debris flows for the purpose of improving hazard assessment and early warning.

Before starting my career at the U.S. Geological Survey, I was a Physical Scientist at the U.S. Forest Service in Golden, Colorado, where I focused on developing protocols for assessing the health and function of aquatic, riparian, and wetland ecosystems of the Rocky Mountains.


Professional Experience

  • 2007 - Present: Research Physical Scientist, U.S. Geological Survey, Golden CO and Anchorage AK

  • 2001 - 2007: Physical Scientist, U.S. Forest Service, Golden CO

Education and Certifications

  • Ph.D. in Earth Sciences, University of Memphis, Memphis TN, 2006.

  • MSc. in Geography, University of Memphis, Memphis TN, 2000.

  • BA in Geography, State University of New York - College at Geneseo, Geneseo NY, 1998.

Affiliations and Memberships

  • Fellow, Geological Society of America (2020)

  • E.B. Burwell Jr. Award, Geological Society of America Environmental and Engineering Geology Division (2019)

  • Honor Award for Superior Service, U.S. Department of Interior (2016)

  • Meritorious Service Award, Environmental and Engineering Geology Division of the Geological Society of America (2015)

  • Best Paper Award in Landslides, International Landslide Consortium (2013)

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