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Jon Major

My research focuses on hydrological hazards associated with volcanic eruptions and landscape responses to large inputs of sediment, including from dam removals. Projects focus on: (1) identifying hydrogeomorphic processes altered by volcanic disturbance; (2) evaluating hydrogeomorphic consequences; and (3) quantifying characteristic hydrogeomorphic response times and durations.

Professional Experience

  • Scientist-in-Charge, USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory, 2021–present

  • Research hydrologist, USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory, 1997–2021

  • Hydrologist, USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory, 1993–1997

  • Geologist, USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory, 1984–1993

  • Hydrologic field assistant, technician, USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory, 1982–1984


  • Other professional service:

  • Panel member, GSA Quaternary Geology and Geomorphology (QG&G) Division, 2002-2004

  • Secretary, GSA QG&G Division, 2006-2012

  • Member, International Organizing Committee, International Debris Flow Hazards Mitigation Conferences (DFHM), 2008-2015

  • Chair, DFHM IOC, 2008-2012Chair, DFHM IOC, 2008-2012

  • Co-chair of local planning committee for IAVCEI 2017 Scientific Assembly, Portland,

Education and Certifications

  • University of Dayton, B.S., 1980, Geology

  • The Pennsylvania State University, M.S., 1984, Geology

  • University of Washington, Ph.D., 1996, Geology

Affiliations and Memberships*

  • Geological Society of America

  • American Geophysical Union

  • International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of Earth's Interior (IAVCEI)

  • American Avalanche Association (Member affiliate)


  • Editor:

  • Associate editor, Geological Society of America Bulletin, 2000-2011

  • Associate editor, Journal of Geophysical Research–Earth Surface, 2010-2014

  • Review editor, Frontiers in Volcanology, 2014 - Present

  • Co-editor, Geological Society of America Special Paper 375, Natural Hazards in El Salvador

  • Co-editor, Debris Flow Hazards Mitigation--Mechanics, Prediction, and Assessment: Proceedings of 4th International Conference on Debris Flow Hazards Mitigation (Millpress)

  • Chief guest editor, Andean Geology issue focused on the eruption of Chaitén Volcano (2013, v. 40(2))

Honors and Awards

  • Fellow, Geological Society of America (GSA)

  • E.B. Burwell Award, GSA, 1991

  • University of Dayton Alumni Special Achievement Award, 1999

  • Kirk Bryan Award, GSA, 2008

  • DOI Superior Service Award, 2018

Science and Products

*Disclaimer: Listing outside positions with professional scientific organizations on this Staff Profile are for informational purposes only and do not constitute an endorsement of those professional scientific organizations or their activities by the USGS, Department of the Interior, or U.S. Government