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Rob Witter, Ph.D.

I conduct geological detective work that uncovers clues about the location, size, and frequency of ancient earthquakes and tsunamis. If we prepare for these hazards we can prevent future earthquakes and tsunamis from becoming future disasters.

I study prehistoric earthquakes along the Pacific-North American plate boundary. I apply aspects of geomorphology, paleoseismology, geodesy, and sea-level studies to decipher the geologic record of ancient earthquakes. Most of my work focuses on great subduction earthquakes capable of generating tsunamis. What I find out contributes to seismic and tsunami hazards assessments used to strengthen building codes and reduce tsunami risk.

Professional Experience

  • 2011 – Present   Research Geologist, U.S. Geological Survey, Alaska Science Center, Anchorage, AK

  • 2006 – 2011       Regional Coastal Geologist, Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, Newport, OR

  • 1999 – 2006     Senior Project Geologist, William Lettis & Associates, Inc., Walnut Creek, CA

Education and Certifications

  • Ph.D.  1999    University of Oregon, Eugene, OR     Geoscience

  • B.A.    1991     Whitman College, Walla Walla, WA   Biology

Science and Products