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Manuel Nathenson

Conducts research on probabilities of the occurrence and of sizes of volcanic eruptions, methods of calculating volumes of tephra layers, and characteristics of springs on volcanoes. Serves as liaison for the Volcano Science Center with the Moffett Publishing Service Center and compiles a bibliography of the Publications of the Volcano Hazards Program.

Work on probabilities of volcanic eruptions used for hazard assessments of Yellowstone, Medicine Lake volcano, Lassen volcanic center, and Crater Lake caldera. Studies with Judy Fierstein on methods of calculating volumes of tephra layers were published and applied to reevaluation of volumes of large tephra eruptions in the Cascades. Work on chemistry of slightly thermal springs with Mike Thompson and Bob Mariner on volcanoes published for Mount Adams, Mount Hood, Mount Shasta, and Crater Lake. A series of studies were done at Crater Lake to provide input to the Department’s decision making on the existence of a significant thermal feature in Crater Lake. Served as USGS representative for DOI issues on significant thermal features in national parks. Coordinated studies in the USGS for input to the U.S. DOE Hawaii Geothermal Project Environmental Impact Statement. Worked on heat flow studies of various areas for the study of geothermal systems and ran a drilling program at Raft River, Idaho, with Thomas Urban. Developed methodology to analyze recoverability for assessments of geothermal resources in the U.S. Prepared a map with Marianne Guffanti of geothermal gradients to 2 km depth in the U.S.

Professional Experience

  • Served as Chief Scientist, Volcano Hazards Team 2007–2009, Associate Chief Scientist, Volcano Hazards Team 2005–2007, Scientist-in-Charge, Menlo Park Volcano Hazards Team 2000–2005

  • Served as Acting Chief Scientist, Volcano Hazards Team, and Acting Program Coordinator, Volcano Hazards Program 10/95–2/96

  • Served as Chief, Branch of Volcanic and Geothermal Processes, Coordinator, Volcano Hazards Program, and Coordinator, Geothermal Studies

  • Program 5/94–10/96. Took Branch and Program through the Reduction in Force and Reorganization of Geologic Division

  • Served as Associate Chief, Branch of Igneous and Geothermal Processes 7/83–1/87

  • Joined USGS Field Geochemistry and Petrology Branch 1/1972

Education and Certifications

  • Stanford University, Ph. D. Aeronautics & Astronautics 1971

  • Stanford University, M.S. Aeronautics & Astronautics 1967

  • Carnegie Mellon University, B.S. Mechanical Engineering 1965

Affiliations and Memberships*

  • American Geophysical Union (AGU)

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

  • Geothermal Rising

  • American Association for the Advancement of Science

Honors and Awards

  • Dallas Peck Outstanding Scientist Emeritus Award 2021

  • Department of the Interior Meritorious Service Award

  • Special act award for contributions to the development of public policy based on scientific understanding of thermal features at the bottom of Crater Lake 1993

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