Ryan Gold


General research statement:

I investigate Quaternary earthquake records via field-based investigation, high-resolution topographic datasets (e.g., lidar, SfM), and geochronology. I serve as Intermountain West Coordinator for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Earthquake Hazard Program with a focus on characterizing seismic sources across the western United States. I have experience conducting field-based and remotely sensed research in the western and central U.S, the Caribbean, the Indo-Asia Collision, Central Europe, Pakistan, Australia, and New Zealand. Additionally, I advise USGS postdocs, I serve on PhD thesis committees at the Colorado School of Mines and University of Colorado, and I mentor undergraduate student research.



2009 - Ph.D., University of California, Davis, CA

2006 - M.S., University of California, Davis, CA

2003 - B.A., Whitman College, Walla Walla, WA


Professional Appointments:

2011-present       Research Geologist, USGS

2009-2011           Mendenhall Postdoctoral Research Fellow, USGS


Published Papers:


Gold, R. D., DuRoss, C. B., Delano, J. E., Jibson, R. W., Briggs, R. W., Mahan, S. A., Williams, R. A., Corbett, D. R., 2019, Four major Holocene earthquakes on the Reelfoot fault recorded by sackungen in the New Madrid Seismic Zone, USA. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, doi: 10.1029/2018JB016806.

Hetzel, R., Hampel, A., Gebbeken, P., Xu, Q., & Gold, R. D., 2019, A constant slip rate for the western Qilian Shan frontal thrust during the last 200 ka consistent with GPS-derived and geological shortening rates. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 509, p. 100-113, doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2018.12.032.



Delano, J. E., Gold, R. D., Briggs, R. W., & Jibson, R. W., 2018, Coseismic Sackungen in the New Madrid Seismic Zone, USA. Geophysical Research Letters, v. 45, n. 24, p. 13,258-213,268, doi: 10.1029/2018GL080493.

DuRoss, C.B., Bennett, S.E.K., Briggs, R.W., Personius, S.F., Gold, R.D., Reitman, N.G., Hiscock, A.I., Mahan, S., 2018, Combining Conflicting Bayesian Models to Develop Paleoseismic Records: An Example from the Wasatch Fault Zone, Utah, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, doi: 10.1785/0120170302.

Bennett, S. E. K., DuRoss, C. B., Gold, R. D., Briggs, R. W., Personius, S. F., Reitman, N. G., DeVore, J. R., Hiscock, A. I., Mahan, S. A., Harrison, G. J., Gunnarson, S., Stephenson, W. J., Klein, T., Pettinger, E., and Odum, J. K., 2018, Paleoseismic Results from the Alpine Site, Wasatch Fault Zone: Timing and Displacement Data for Six Holocene Earthquakes at the Salt Lake City-Provo Segment Boundary, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, doi: 10.1785/0120160358.

Bagge, M., Hampel, A., and Gold, R. D., 2018, Modeling the Holocene slip history of the Wasatch fault (Utah): Coseismic and postseismic Coulomb stress changes and implications for paleoseismicity and seismic hazard, GSA Bulletin, doi: 10.1130/B31906.1.

Levandowski, W., Herrmann, R.B., Briggs, R., Boyd, O., Gold, R.D., 2018. An updated stress map of the continental United States reveals heterogeneous intraplate stress, Nature Geoscience, v. 11, p. 433-437, doi: 10.1038/s41561-018-0120-x.

Moschetti, M.P., Luco, N., Frankel, A., Petersen, M.D., Aagaard, B.T., Baltay, A.S., Blanpied, M., Boyd, O., Briggs, R., Gold, R.D., 2018. Integrate Urban‐Scale Seismic Hazard Analyses with the US National Seismic Hazard Model, Seismological Research Letters, v. 89, p. 967-970, doi: 10.1785/0220170261.



Gold, R.D., Briggs, R.W., Crone, A.J., DuRoss, C.D., 2017, Refining fault slip rates using multiple displaced terrace risers–An example from the Honey Lake fault, NE California, USA, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 477, p. 134-146, doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2017.08.021.

Kuebler, S., Friedrich, A. M., Gold, R. D., and Strecker, M., 2017, Historical coseismic surface deformation of fluvial gravel deposits, Schafberg fault, Lower Rhine Graben, Central Europe, International Journal of Earth Sciences, doi: 10.1007/s00531-017-1510-9.

Stübner, K., Grin, E., Hidy, A.J., Schaller, M., Gold, R.D., Ratschbacher, L., Ehlers, T., 2017, Middle and Late Pleistocene glaciations in the southwestern Pamir and their effects on topography. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 466, p. 181-194, doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2017.03.012.

Gold, R. D., Friedrich, A. M., Kuebler, S., and Salamon, M., 2017, Apparent late Quaternary fault slip rate increase in the southwestern Lower Rhine Graben, central Europe, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, v. 107, n. 2, doi: 10.1785/0120160197.

Gold, R. D., Cowgill, E., Arrowsmith, J. R., and Friedrich, A. M., 2017, Pulsed strain release on the Altyn Tagh fault, northwest China, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 459, p. 291-300, doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2016.11.024



Reitman, N. G., Bennett, S. E. K., Gold, R. D., Briggs, R. W., and DuRoss, C. B., 2015, High resolution trench photomosaics with structure from motion: workflow and accuracy assessment, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, v. 105, no. 5, p. 2354-2366, doi: 10.1785/0120150041.

Levandowski, W., Boyd, O., Briggs, R., Gold, R.D., 2015, A random-walk algorithm for modeling lithospheric density and the role of body forces in the evolution of the Midcontinent Rift, Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, v. 16, p. 1-24, doi: 10.1002/2015GC005961. IP-070530, approved 11/12/15.

Hayes, G.P., Briggs, R.W., Barnhart, W.D., Yeck, W.L., McNamara, D.E., Wald, D.J., Nealy, J.L., Benz, H.M., Gold, R.D., Jaiswal, K.S., Marano, K., Earle, P.S., Hearne, M.G., Smoczyk, G.M., Wald, L.A., and S.V. Samsonov, 2015. Rapid characterization of the 2015 Mw 7.8 Nepal (Gorkha) Earthquake Sequence and its Seismotectonic Context. Seismological Research Letters, v. 86, n. 6, p. 1557-1567, doi: 10.1785/0220150145.

Gold, R. D., N. G. Reitman, R. W. Briggs, W. D. Barnhart, and G. Hayes, 2015, On- and off-fault deformation associated with the September 2013 Mw7.7 Balochistan earthquake: implications for geologic slip rate measurements, Tectonophysics, v. 660, p. 65-78, doi: 10.1016/j.tecto.2015.08.019.

Barnhart, W. D., Briggs, R. W., Reitman, N., Gold, R. D., and Hayes, G. P., 2015, Evidence for Slip Partitioning and Bimodal Slip Behavior on a Single Fault: Surface Slip Characteristics of the 2013 Mw7.7 Balochistan, Pakistan Earthquake, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2015.03.027.



Gold, R.D., Briggs, R.W., Personius, S.F., Crone, A.J., Mahan, S.A., and Angster, S.J., 2014, Latest Quaternary paleoseismology and evidence of distributed dextral shear along the Mohawk Valley fault zone, northern Walker Lane, California: Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, doi: 10.1002/2014JB010987.

DuRoss, C.B., Hylland, M.D., McDonald, G.N., Crone, A.J., Personius, S.F., Gold, R.D., and Mahan, S.A., 2014, Holocene and latest Pleistocene paleoseismology of the Salt Lake City segment of the Wasatch fault zone, Utah, at the Penrose Drive trench site, in DuRoss, C.B. and Hylland, M.D., Evaluating surface faulting chronologies of graben-bounding faults in Salt Lake Valley, Utah––new paleoseismic data from the Salt Lake City segment of the Wasatch fault zone and the West Valley fault zone––Paleoseismology of Utah, Volume 24: Utah Geological Survey Special Study 149, p. 1–39.

Barnhart, W. D., Hayes, G. P., Briggs, R. W., Gold, R. D., Bilham, R., 2014: Ball-and-socket tectonic rotation during the 2013 Mw7.7 Balochistan earthquake: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, no. 10, p. 210-216, doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2014.07.001.



Gold, R.D., Stephenson, W. J., Odum, J. K., Briggs, R. W., Crone, A. J., and Angster, S. J., 2013, Concealed Quaternary strike-slip fault resolved with airborne LiDAR and seismic reflection: The Grizzly Valley fault system, northern Walker Lane, California: Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth. doi: 10.1002/jgrb.50238.

Gold, R.D., dePolo, C. M., Briggs, R. W., Crone, A. J., and Gosse, J., 2013, Late Quaternary slip-rate variations along the Warm Springs Valley fault system, northern Walker Lane, California-Nevada border: Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America. v. 103, no 1., p. 542-558, doi: 10.1785/0120120020.



Cowgill, E., Bernardin, T., Oskin, M. E., Bowles, C., Yikilmaz, B., Kreylos, O., Elliot, A., Bishop, S., Gold, R. D., Morelan, A., Bawden, G. W., Hamann, B., and Kellogg, L. H., 2012, Interactive terrain visualization enables virtual fieldwork during rapid scientific response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake:Geosphere. v. 8, no. 4, p. 787-804, doi: 10.1130/GES00687.1.

Gold, P. O., Cowgill, E., Kreylos, O., and Gold, R. D., 2012, A terrestrial lidar-based workflow for determining three-dimensional slip vectors and associated uncertainties: Geosphere, v. 8, no. 2, p. 431-442, doi: 10.1130/GES00714.1.



Gold, R., Cowgill, E., Arrowsmith, J. R., Chen, X., Sharp, W. D., Cooper, K. M., and Wang, X. F. 2011, Faulted terrace risers place new constraints on the late Quaternary slip rate for the central Altyn Tagh Fault, northwest Tibet. Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 123, no. 5-6, p. 958-978, doi:10.1130/B30207.1.

Gold, R., and Cowgill, E., 2011, Deriving fault-slip histories to test for secular variation in slip, with examples from the Kunlun and Awatere faults. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 301, no. 1-2, p. 52-64, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2010.10.011.



Prentice, C. S., Mann, P., Crone, A. J., Gold, R. D., Hudnut, K. W., Briggs, R. W., Koehler, R. D., and Jean, P., 2010, Seismic hazard of the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden fault in Haiti inferred from paleoseismology. Nature Geoscience, doi:10.1038/ngeo991.

Hayes, G. P., Briggs, R. W., Sladen, A., Fielding, E. J., Prentice, C., Hudnut, K., Mann, P., Taylor, F. W., Crone, A. J., Gold, R. D., Ito, T., and Simons, M., 2010, Complex rupture during the 12 January 2010 Haiti Earthquake. Nature Geoscience, doi:10.1038/ngeo977.



Cowgill, E., Gold, R., Xuanhua, C., Xiaofeng, W., Arrowsmith, J.R. & Southon, J. R., 2009, Resolving the slip-rate discrepancy along the longest active strike-slip fault in Tibet. Geology. v. 37, no. 7, p. 647-650, doi:10.1130/G25623A.1.

Gold, R., Cowgill, E., Arrowsmith, J. R., Gosse, J., Wang, X. & Chen, X., 2009, Riser diachroneity, lateral erosion, and uncertainty in rates of strike-slip faulting: A case study from Tuzidun along the Altyn Tagh Fault, NW China. Journal of Geophysical Research, B, Solid Earth and Planets. v. 114, B04401, doi:10.1029/2008JB005913.



Gold, R., Cowgill, E., Wang, X.F., and Chen, X., 2006, Application of trishear fault-propagation folding to active reverse faults: examples from the Dalong Fault, Gansu Province, NW China: Journal of Structural Geology, v. 28, p. 200-219, doi:10.1016/j.jsg.2005.10.006.

Bernardin, T., Cowgill, E., Gold, R., Hamann, B., Kreylos, O., and Schmitt, A., 2006, Interactive mapping on 3-D terrain models: Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems, v. 7, doi:10.1029/2006GC001335.