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 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 I mentor undergraduate student research.


Active research projects

·Northern Walker Lane (California/Nevada) – Comparison of geologic and geodetic deformation rates in the northern Walker Lane. Use high-resolution airborne to guide fault slip-rate studies, paleoseismic trenching investigations, and shallow seismic-reflection imaging.

·Intraplate earthquakes (Central & Eastern United States, Lower Rhine Graben in Central Europe) – Constrain the timing of prehistoric earthquakes in stable continental regions using lidar and subsurface data. Focus on primary (fault scarps) and secondary (landslides) tectonic features.

·Altyn Tagh Fault (NW China/Tibet) - Constrain the slip history of the left-lateral Altyn Tagh fault through a combination of field-based topographic surveying, Quaternary mapping, and Quaternary Geochronology

·Slip history modeling - Developing slip-history modeling tools to construct fault slip chronologies in the western US, Asia, and New Zealand

·Paleoseismology - Constructing a paleoseismic slip records via traditional trenching approaches. Projects have focused on the Enriquillo Garden Plantain fault (Haiti), Septentrional Fault (Dominican Republic), Mohawk Valley fault (California), Kings Canyon fault (Nevada), and the Wasatch fault (Utah).

·USGS Earthquake Response - I am involved with USGS post-earthquake responses, for example to the January 2010 and September 2013 earthquakes in Haiti and Pakistan, respectively.



Ph.D., University of California, Davis, CA (2009)

M.S., University of California, Davis, CA (2006)

B.A., Whitman College, Walla Walla, WA (2003)


Papers in Review:

DuRoss, C.B., Bennett, S.E.K., Briggs, R.W., Personius, S.F., Gold, R.D., Reitman, N.G., Hiscock, A.I., Mahan, S., in review, Segment Boundary Maturity and Failure: Paleoseismic Investigation of the Wasatch Fault Zone Provides Insight into Normal Fault Segmentation, submitted to Earth and Planetary Science Letters.

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., in review, Paleoseismic Results from the Alpine Site, Wasatch Fault Zone: Six Holocene (post-6 ka) Earthquakes at the Salt Lake City-Provo Segment Boundary, submitted to Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.


Published Papers:

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.