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. Since 1975, he has worked at the U.S. Geological Survey studying the processes and products of the Cascadia subduction zone in the northwestern U.S. He is a recipient of the Distinguished Service Award of the Department of the Interior and the 2017 recipient of the Geological Society of America’s Geologic Mapping Award in honor of Florence Bascom.

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, California
  • 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


  • B.S., Geology, Art, Pennsylvania State University, 1972
  • M.S., Geology, University of Oregon, 1975
  • Ph.D., Geology, University of California, Santa Cruz, 1982


  • 1977 - Current, American Geophysical Union
  • 1974 - Current, Geological Society of America
  • 1990 - Current, Seismological Society of America

Non-USGS Partners:

  • Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries
  • Bureau of Reclamation
  • Portland State University