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Roger Borcherdt

Roger Borcherdt is Scientist Emeritus at the U. S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, California and past visiting Shimizu and consulting professor at Stanford University.

Roger received a Ph.D. in engineering geoscience with minors in applied mathematics and theoretical statistics from the University of California at Berkeley. Dr. Borcherdt is the recipient of the U.S. Department of Interior's highest honor award the Distinguished Service Award as well as the Meritorious Service Award. He is an honorary member of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, a member or chair of numerous scientific advisory panels, past editor of Earthquake Spectra, co-inventor of the General Earthquake Observation System (GEOS), patent number 4,604,699, recipient of 1994 and 2002 Outstanding Paper Awards of Earthquake Spectra, and a registered Geophysicist in the State of California (GP 163, 1972).  He has held a number of leadership positions with the U.S. Geological Survey as chief of various branches and programs.

Dr. Borcherdt is the author of more than 200 scientific publications. One of his more seminal publications is a graduate-level text book that provides the mathematical theory for wave propagation in layered media with arbitrary amounts of material damping.  The 1st Edition of this book is a rigorous, self-contained exposition of the mathematical theory for body and surface wave propagation.  The 2nd Edition (in press) extends the exposition to include the theory of general viscoelastic rays and head waves. These theories, previously not published in another book, provide solutions for many of the fundamental wave-propagation and ray-theory problems of seismology and other fields in the general context of any viscoelastic media with a linear response (elastic or anelastic).  The general ray theory results predict measurable variations in travel-time and amplitude-attenuation for P and S waves induced by contrasts in material damping across anelastic boundaries in the Earth. They specify the computation steps for forward ray-tracing algorithms valid for any linear anelastic media, whether it be soft soil or material deep within the Earth’s mantle.

His research interests include: 1) the theory for viscoelastic waves and rays in layered media  and its application to problems in seismology, engineering, acoustics, exploration, and solid mechanics, 2) earthquake response of local site conditions and their characterization for building code provisions, 3) near-source seismic radiation of strain and displacement and its implications for earthquake-fault rupture dynamics, 4) earthquake strong-motion measurement, characterization, and estimation for earthquake resistant design, 5) seismic zonation and earthquake loss estimation (HAZUS), and 6) seismic instrumentation.

Education and Certifications

  • B. A., Mathematics/Physics (cum laude), University of Colorado, Boulder (1963)

    M.A., Mathematics, University of Wisconsin, Madison (1965)

    M.S., Engineering Geoscience, Un

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