Michael Blanpied


Dr. Michael L. Blanpied, Ph.D., is a geophysicist serving as Associate Coordinator of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Earthquake Hazards Program. His duties include oversight of the Program’s earthquake hazards assessments and its research on earthquake physics, occurrence and effects. He serves as executive secretary to the National Earthquake Prediction Evaluation Council (NEPEC), an expert group that advises USGS on earthquake predictions and forecasting methods. He also serves as programmatic lead for international research activities, and coordinates the Earthquake Disaster Assistance Team (EDAT) activity in cooperation with the USAID Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA).

Dr. Blanpied joined the USGS earthquake research group in Menlo Park, CA in 1989 after completing his doctorate at Brown University. His research has focused on the physics of earthquakes, including experimental investigations of the physics of fault slip and frictional properties of fault surfaces; applications of laboratory data to earthquake occurrence and the deformation of the continental crust; computer and laboratory modeling of earthquake interactions; and the development and application of probabilistic assessments of earthquake likelihood. He served as co-chair of the Working Group on California Earthquake Probabilities, which developed a new methodology for forecasting the likelihood of damaging earthquakes and published 30-year forecasts for the San Francisco Bay Region in 1999 and 2003. He relocated to USGS headquarters in Reston, Virginia in 2003 to join the Earthquake Hazards Program office.


B.Sc. 1983 Yale University.

M.Sc 1985 and Ph.D. 1989, Brown University.


Blanpied, M. L., and T.E. Tullis, 1986, The stability and behavior of a frictional system with a two state variable constitutive law, Pure Appl. Geophys., 124, 415-440, https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-0348-6601-9_3.

Blanpied, M. L.,  T.E. Tullis, and J.D. Weeks, 1987, Frictional behavior of granite at low and high sliding velocities, Geophys. Res. Lett., 14, 554-557, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/GL014i005p00554/full.

Blanpied, M.L., 1989, Friction constitutive behavior and textural evolution of experimental faults in granite, Ph.D. thesis, 152pp., Brown University, Providence, R.I., May, 1989.

Yund, R.A., M.L. Blanpied, T.E. Tullis, and J.D. Weeks, 1990, Amorphous material in high strain experimental fault gouges, J. Geophys. Res., 95, 15,589-15,602, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/JB095iB10p15589/full.

Blanpied, M. L., D. A. Lockner and J. D. Byerlee, 1991, Fault stability inferred from granite sliding experiments at hydrothermal conditions, Geophysical Research Letters, 18, 609-612, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/91GL00469/full.

Blanpied, M. L., Lockner, D. A., and Byerlee, J. D., 1992, An earthquake mechanism based on rapid sealing of faults, Nature, 358, https://www.researchgate.net/profile/D_Lockner/publication/232774913_An_....

Sleep, N. H. and Blanpied, M. L., 1992, Creep, compaction and the weak rheology of major faults, Nature, 359, 687-692,

Kilgore, B. D., Blanpied, M. L. and  Dieterich, J. H., 1993,  Velocity dependent friction of granite over a wide range of conditions, Geophysical Research Letters, 20, 903-906.

Blanpied, M. L., J. D. Byerlee and D. A. Lockner, Effects of Temperature and PH2O on Frictional Strength of Granite, 1994, in Proceedings of USGS Conference on Mechanical Involvement of Fluids in Faulting, June 6-10, 1993, Fish Camp, CA.

Blanpied, M. L., J. D. Byerlee and D. A. Lockner, 1994, Effects of temperature and PH2O on frictional strength of granite, in USGS Redbook on the Mechanical Effects of Fluids in Faulting, edited by S. Hickman, R. Sibson and R. Bruhn, USGS Open-File Report 94-228, p. 483-486.

Marone, C. J. and M. L. Blanpied, (eds.), Faulting, Friction, and Earthquake Mechanics, Part I, 402 pages, Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel, 1994. 

Marone, C. J. and M. L. Blanpied, (eds.), Faulting, Friction, and Earthquake Mechanics, Part II, 511 pages, Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel, 1994.

Marone, C. J. and M. L. Blanpied, Introduction, in Faulting, Friction and Earthquake Mechanics Part I, edited by C. J. Marone and M. L. Blanpied, p. 413-416, Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel, 1994.

Blanpied, M. L. and C. J. Marone, Introduction, in Faulting, Friction and Earthquake Mechanics Part II, edited by C. J. Marone and M. L. Blanpied, p. 1-5, Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel, 1994.

Sleep, N. H. and M. L. Blanpied, 1994, Ductile creep and compaction: A mechanism for transiently increasing fluid pressure in mostly sealed fault zones, Pure and Applied Geophysics, 143, p. 9-40,

Blanpied, M. L., D. A. Lockner and J. D. Byerlee, 1995, Frictional slip of granite at hydrothermal conditions, Journal of Geophysical Research, 100, p3045-3057, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/95JB00862/full.

Beeler, N.M, T.E. Tullis, M.L. Blanpied and J.D. Weeks, 1996, Frictional behavior of large displacement experimental faults, J. Geophys. Res., 101, 8697-8715, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/96JB00411/full.

Blanpied, M. L. and N. M. Beeler, 1997, Evolution of gouge textures in experimental granite faults, in Fault-Related Rocks: a Photographic Atlas, edited by A. W. Snoke, J. A. Tullis and V. R. Todd, Princeton University Press.

Gomberg, J., M. L. Blanpied and N. M. Beeler, 1997, Transient triggering of near and distant earthquakes, Bull. Seis. Soc. Am., 87, 294-309, http://www.bssaonline.org/content/87/2/294.short.

Blanpied M. L., T. E. Tullis and J. D. Weeks, 1998, Effects of slip, slip rate and shear heating on the friction of granite, J. Geophys. Res., 103, 489-511, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/97JB02480/full.

Gomberg, J., N. Beeler, M. L. Blanpied and P. Bodin, 1998, Earthquake triggering by transient and static deformations, J. Geophys. Res., 103, 24411-24426, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/98JB01125/full.

Blanpied, M. L., C. J. Marone, D. A. Lockner, J. D. Byerlee and D. P. King, 1998, Quantitative measure of the variation in fault rheology due to fluid-rock interactions, J. Geophys. Res., 103, 9691-9712, http://www3.geosc.psu.edu/~cjm38/papers_talks/Blanpiedetal1998jgr.pdf.

Gomberg, J., N. Beeler and M. Blanpied, On rate-state and Coulomb failure models, J. Geophys. Res., 105, 7857-7871, 2000, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/1999JB900438/full.

Field, E.H., N. Gupta, M. Blanpied, P. Maechling, T.H. Jordan, Hazard calculations for the WGCEP-2002 earthquake forecast using OpenSHA and distributed object technologies, Seis. Res. Lett., 76, 2005, http://srl.geoscienceworld.org/content/76/2/161.

Perry, S.C. and others, Get your science used--Six guidelines to improve your products, USGS Circular 1419, 2016, https://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/cir1419.

Field, E.H., T.H. Jordan, L.M. Jones, A.J. Michael, M.L. Blanpied and workshop participants, The potential uses of operational earthquake forecasting, Seis. Res. Lett., 87, 2016, http://srl.geoscienceworld.org/content/87/2A/313.