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Ray Wells

Ray Wells is a research geologist in the Geology, Minerals, Energy, and Geophysics Science Center.  He is a structural geologist investigating the tectonic and volcanic evolution of the Pacific Northwest.

Ray Wells received his B.S. in Geological Science from Penn State, his M.S. from University of Oregon, and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Cruz. He has 45 years of field experience documenting the geologic structure and earthquake hazards of the Cascadia convergent margin in Oregon and Washington, focusing primarily on the Coast Range, Seattle - Portland urban corridor, and the Columbia River Gorge.


Professional Experience

  • 2020-current, Research Geologist, U.S. Geological Survey

  • 2017-Research Associate, Portland State University, Portland, OR

  • 2016-Research Geologist Emeritus, U.S. Geological Survey

  • 1995-2013 Project Chief, Pacific Northwest Urban Corridor Geologic Mapping, USGS, Menlo Park, CA

  • 1991-1996 Cascadia Regional Coordinator - USGS Deep Continental Surveys

  • 1981-2016 Research Geologist, U.S. Geological Survey

  • 1980 Geologist, Washington Division of Geology and Earth Resources

  • 1978-1980 Research Assistant, University of California, Santa Cruz

  • 1976-1977 Teaching Assistant, University of California, Santa Cruz

  • 1975-1976 Geologist, U.S. Geological Survey

  • 1974 Geological Field Assistant, Mobil Oil Corp., Tyee Basin

  • 1972-1974 Teaching Assistant, University of Oregon

  • 1971 Geological Field Assistant, Johns-Mannville Ltd, Stillwater Complex

Education and Certifications

  • Ph.D., Geology, University of California, Santa Cruz, 1982

  • M.S., Geology, University of Oregon, 1975

  • B.S., Geology, Art, Pennsylvania State University, 1972

Affiliations and Memberships*

  • 1977 - Current, American Geophysical Union

  • 1974 - Current, Geological Society of America

  • 1990 - Current, Seismological Society of America

  • Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries

  • Bureau of Reclamation

  • Portland State University

Honors and Awards

  •  Distinguished Service Award of the Department of the Interior

  • 2017 Geological Society of America’s Geologic Mapping Award in honor of Florence Bascom 

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