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Sarah Minson

Sarah Minson is a research geophysicist in the U.S. Geological Survey's Earthquake Science Center in Moffett Field, California.  She uses probabilistic inference to understand earthquakes and how uncertainty impacts our understanding of natural hazards.

Sarah’s research attempts to understand not only how faults slip, but also to understand what we can and cannot determine about earthquake ruptures and how these uncertainties affect our estimates of potential earthquake impacts.

She has also studied earthquake early warning to determine what kinds of warning are possible and what kind of accuracy can be achieved.

In addition to her research, Sarah participates in outreach activities to communicate her research results to the public, media, and stakeholders.  She was a 2020 IRIS/SSA distinguished lecturer and is the recipient of several honors including a 2014 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), which is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on outstanding scientists and engineers beginning their independent careers.

Professional Experience

  • 2014 – Present     Research Geophysicist, U.S. Geological Survey

    2014                       Postdoctoral Fellow, California Institute of Technology

    2011 – 2013           Mendenhall Postdoctoral Fellow, U.S. Geological Survey

Education and Certifications

  • 2010 Ph.D. in Geophysics, California Institute of Technology
           Thesis: “A Bayesian Approach to Earthquake Source Studies ”

  • 2005 M.S. in Geophysics, California Institute of Technology

  • 2003 B.A. in Geophysics with Highest Distinction in General Scholarship, University of California, Berkeley
           Honors Thesis: “Source Mechanisms of Volcanic Induced Seismicity”

Honors and Awards

  • 2021, 2021, 2019, 2016 U.S. Geological Survey STAR Award

  • 2020 U.S. Geological Survey Superior Service Award “In recognition of her outstanding contributions to the Earthquake Early Warning (EEW) systems of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).” 

  • 2020 IRIS/SSA Distinguished Lectureship 

  • 2018 – 2022  Kavli Fellow (National Academy of Sciences and The Kavli Foundation) 

  • 2014 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) 

  • 2011 – 2013 U.S. Geological Survey Mendenhall Fellowship 

  • 2009 Outstanding Student Paper Award – AGU Fall Meeting 

  • 2006 – 2009 NASA Earth System Science Fellowship 

  • 2003 – 2004 Gutenberg Fellowship, California Institute of Technology 

  • 2002 – 2003 Ramsden Fellowship, University of California, Berkeley 

  • 2003 Departmental Citation in Recognition of Distinguished Undergraduate Accomplishment, University of California, Berkeley 

  • 2003  Outstanding Woman Student Award, Association of Women Geoscientists 

  • 2002 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, University of California, Berkeley 

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