Seth Moran

Biography

My professional career has been focused on the study of active volcanoes and volcano seismology. After graduating with a Geology degree from Oberlin College in 1988, I earned an M.Sc. (1992) and Ph.D. (1997) in geophysics from the University of Washington. In 1997 I was hired by the U.S. Geological Survey to work as a research geophysicist at the Alaska Volcano Observatory in Anchorage. In 2003 I transferred to the Cascades Volcano Observatory in Vancouver, Washington, where I currently work as the principal USGS seismologist responsible for studying and monitoring volcanoes in the Cascade range.

My professional career has largely been devoted to the study of active volcanoes and volcano seismology. After graduating with a degree in Geology from Oberlin College in 1988, I earned an M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Geophysics from the UW in 1992 and 1997, respectively, with Dr. Stephen Malone as my primary advisor. For both degrees I utilized a variety of seismologic techniques, including seismic tomography and stress-field modeling, to constrain models for magmatic systems beneath Mount St. Helens and Mount Rainier. Shortly after graduating I was hired in 1997 by the U.S. Geological Survey to work as a research geophysicist at the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) in Anchorage, where my research expanded to include investigations of earthquake triggering from dynamic and static stress changes and the use of other geophysical methods (InSAR, remote sensing) to constrain models of magmatic systems at several Alaskan volcanoes including Shishaldin and the Katmai cluster of volcanoes. While at AVO I also served several tours of duty in Ecuador assisting in responses to eruptions of Guagua Pichincha and Tunghurahua volcanoes, and also was one of the principal seismologists involved in AVO’s response to two eruptions at Aleutian-Island volcanoes.

In 2003 I transferred to the Cascades Volcano Observatory (CVO) in Vancouver, Washington, where I currently work as the principal USGS seismologist responsible for studying and monitoring Cascade volcanoes in Washington and Oregon. In the fall of 2004 Mount St. Helens (MSH) reawakened after 18 years of quiet, an eruption that was highly seismogenic and that has proven to be an excellent laboratory for exploring a variety of key questions in volcano seismology. As such, MSH has been and remains a dominant focus of my research. Several important research papers have resulted from these collaborations, including four seismology-centric peer-reviewed papers with PNSN and CVO co-authors published in 2008 as part of a comprehensive USGS Professional Paper on the MSH eruption. I currently have research projects ongoing at Mount Rainier, Mount St. Helens, and Mount Hood. In addition, a signficant percentage of my time is spent in working towards maintaining and improving seismic monitoring capabilites at Cascade volcanoes. Recent examples include installations of three new seismic stations within Mount Rainier National Park in 2007-2008, and a brand-new network of 8 seismic stations at Newberry Volcano in 2011.  

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Publications

Denlinger, R.P., and Moran, S.C., 2014, Volcanic tremor masks its seismogenic source: Results from a study of noneruptive tremor recorded at Mount St. Helens, Washington: Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 119(3), p. 2230-2251. [Link]

Vidale, J.E., Schmidt, D.A., Malone, S.D., Hotovec-Ellis, A.J., Moran, S.C., Creager, K.C., Houston, H., 2014, Deep long-period earthquakes west of the volcanic arc in Oregon: Evidence of serpentine dehydration in the fore-arc mantle wedge: Geophysical Research Letters, 41(2), 370-376. [Link]

De Sienna, L., Thomas, C., Waite, G.P., Moran, S.C., and Klemme, S., 2014, Attenuation and scattering tomography of the deep plumbing system of Mount St. Helens: Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 119(11), p. 8223-8238.

Pallister, J.S., Cashman, K.V., Hagstrum, J.T., Beeler, N.M., Moran, S.C., and Denlinger, R.P., 2013, Faulting within the Mount St. Helens conduit and implications for volcanic earthquakes: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 125 (3-4), p. 359-376.

Lehto, H.L., Roman, D.C., and Moran, S.C., 2013, Source mechanisms of persistent shallow earthquakes during eruption and non-eruptive periods between 1981 and 2011 at Mount St. Helens, Washington: Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 256, p. 1-15.

Thelen, W.A., Allstadt, K.A., De Angelis, S., Malone, SD., Moran, S.C., Vidale, J., 2013, Shallow repeating seismic events under an alpine glacier at Mount Rainier, Washington: Journal of Glaciology, v. 59(214), p. 345-356.

Shelly, D.R., Moran, S.C., and Thelen, W.A., 2013, Evidence for fluid-triggered slip in the 2009 Mount Rainier, Washington, earthquake swarm: Geophysical Research Letters, v. 40(8), p. 1506-1512.

Prejean, S., Moran, S.C., and Power, J.A., 2012, Volcanic Earthquakes in Alaska’s National Parks: Alaska Park Science, v. 11(1), p. 41-43.

Nichols, M. L.; Malone, S. D.; Moran, S. C.; Thelen, W. A.; Vidale, J. E. , 2011. Deep long-period earthquakes beneath Washington and Oregon volcanoes: Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 200, p. 116-128.

Moran, S. C.; Newhall, C.; Roman, D. C. , 2011. Failed magmatic eruptions: Late-stage cessation of magma ascent: Late-stage cessation of magma ascent: Bulletin of Volcanology, v. 73(2), p. 115-122.

Lehto, H.L., Roman, D.C., and Moran, S.C., 2010, Temporal Changes in Stress Preceding the 2004-2008 Eruption of Mount St. Helens, Washington: Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 198(1-2), p. 129-142.

Waite, G.P., and Moran, S.C., 2009, VP structure of Mount St. Helens, Washington, USA, imaged with local earthquake tomography: Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 182 (1-2), p. 113-122.

Moran, S.C., Freymueller, J.T., LaHusen, R.A., McGee, K.A., Poland, M.P., Power, J.A., Schmidt, D.A., Schneider, D.J., Stephens, G., Werner, C.A., and White, R.A., 2008, Instrumentation Recommendations for Volcano Monitoring at U.S. Volcanoes under the National Volcano Early Warning System: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2008-5114, 47 pp. [Link]

Moran, S.C., McChesney, P.J., and Lockhart, A.B., 2008, Seismicity and infrasound associated with explosions at Mount St. Helens, 2004-2005, chap. 6 in Sherrod, D.R., Scott, W.E., and Stauffer, P.H., eds., A volcano rekindled; the renewed eruption of Mount St. Helens, 2004-2006: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1750, p. 111-128. [Link]

Moran, S.C., Malone, S.D., Qamar, A.I., Thelen, W., Wright, A.K., and Caplan-Auerbach, J., 2008, 2004-2005 seismicity associated with the renewed dome-building eruption of Mount St. Helens, chap. 2 inSherrod, D.R., Scott, W.E., and Stauffer, P.H., eds., A volcano rekindled; the renewed eruption of Mount St. Helens, 2004-2006: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1750, p. 27-60. [Link]

Moran, S.C., Matoza, R.S., Garcés, M.A., Hedlin, M.A.H., Bowers, D., Scott, W.E., Sherrod, D.R., and Vallance, J.W., 2008, Seismic and acoustic recordings of an unusually large rockfall at Mount St. Helens, Washington: Geophysical Research Letters, v. 35, L19302, doi 10.1029/2008GL035176, 6 pp.

Jolly, A.D., Moran, S.C., McNutt, S.R., and Stone, D., 2007, Three-dimensional P-wave velocity structure derived from local earthquakes at the Katmai group of volcanoes, Alaska: Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 159, p. 326-342.

Hartog, R., Gomberg, J., Moran, S.C., Wright, A., and Meagher, K.L., 2008, The 8 October 2006 Md 4.5 Cowlitz Chimneys earthquake in Mount Rainier National Park: Seismological Research Letters, v. 79(2), p. 186-193.

Moran, S.C., Kwoun, O., Masterlark, T., and Lu, Z., 2006, On the absence of InSAR-detected volcano deformation spanning the 1995-1996 and 1999 eruptions of Shishaldin Volcano, Alaska: Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research., v. 150, p. 119-131

Iverson, R.M., Dzurisin, D., Gardner, C.A., Gerlach, T.M., Lahusen, R.G., Lisowski, M., Major, J.J., Malone, S.D., Messerich, J.A., Moran, S.C., Pallister, J.S., Qamar, A.I., Schilling, S.P., and Vallance, J.W., 2006, Dynamics of seismogenic volcanic extrusion at Mount St. Helens in 2004-2005: Nature, v. 444, p. 439-443.

Dzurisin, D., Vallance, J.W., Gerlach, T.M., Moran, S.C., and Malone, S.D., 2005, Mount St. Helens reawakens: Eos Transactions of the American Geophysical Union, v. 86(3), p. 25 and 29

Dixon, James P.; Stihler, Scott D.; Power, John A.; Tytgat, Guy; Moran, Seth C.; Sanchez, John J.; McNutt, Stephen R.; Estes, Steve; Paskievitch, John, 2004. Catalog of earthquake hypocenters at Alaskan volcanoes: January 1 through December 31, 2003. Open-File Report 2004-1234, 69 p. and data [Link]

Moran, Seth C., 2004. Seismic monitoring at Cascade Volcanic Centers, 2004: Status and recommendations. U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2004-5211, 28 p. [Link]

Moran, S.C., Power, J.A., Stihler, S.D., Sanchez, J.J., and Caplan-Auerbach, J., 2004, Earthquake triggering at Alaskan volcanoes following the November 3, 2002, Denali Fault earthquake: Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, v. 94(6B), p. S300-S309

Roman, D.C., Moran, S.C., Power, J.A., and Cashman, K.V., 2004, Temporal and spatial variation of local stress fields during the 1992 eruption of Crater Peak vent, Mount Spurr, Alaska: Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, v. 94(6), p. 2366-2379

Power, J.A., Stihler, S.D., White, R.A., and Moran, S.C., 2004, Observations of deep long-period (DLP) seismic events beneath Aleutian Arc volcanoes; 1989-2002: Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 138, p. 243-266.

Roman, D.C., Power, J.A., Moran, S.C., Cashman, K.V., Doukas, M.P., Neal, C.A., and Gerlach, T.M., 2004, Evidence for dike emplacement beneath Iliamna Volcano, Alaska, in 1996: Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 130(3-4), p. 265-284.

Dixon, James P.; Stihler, Scott D.; Power, John A.; Tytgat, Guy; Moran, Seth C.; Sanchez, John; Estes, Steve; McNutt, Stephen R.; Paskievitch, John, 2003. Catalog of Earthquake Hypocenters at Alaskan Volcanoes: January 1 through December 31, 2002. Open-File Report 2003-267, 58 p. [Link]

Moran, S.C., 2003, Multiple seismogenic processes for high-frequency earthquakes at Katmai National Park, Alaska: Evidence from stress tensor inversions of fault-plane solutions: Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, v. 93(1), p. 94-108.

Eberhart-Phillips, D., Haeussler, P.J., Freymueller, J.T., Frankel, A.D., Rubin, C.M., Craw, P., Ratchkovski, N.A., Anderson, G., Crone, A.J., Dawson, T.E., Fletcher, H., Hansen, R., Harp, E.L., Harris, R.A., Hill, D.P., Hreinsdóttir, S., Jibson, R.W., Jones, L.M., Keefer, D.K., Larsen, C.F., Moran, S.C., Personius, S.F., Plafker, G., Sherrod, B., Sieh, K., and Wallace, W.K., 2003, The 2002 Denali Fault Earthquake, Alaska: A Large Magnitude, Slip-Partitioned Event: Science, v. 300, p. 1113- 1118.

Dixon, James P.; Stihler, Scott D.; Power, John A.; Tytgat, Guy; Estes, Steve; Moran, Seth C.; Paskievitch, John; McNutt, Stephen R., 2002. Catalog of earthquake hypocenters at Alaskan volcanoes; January 1, 2000 through December 31, 2001. Open-File Report 2002-342, p. 56, 3 tables, sketch map, 17 refs [Link]

Lu, Z., Wicks, C., Dzurisin, D., Power, J.A., Moran, S.C., and Thatcher, W., 2002, Magmatic inflation at a dormant stratovolcano: 1996-98 activity at Mount Peulik volcano, Alaska, revealed by satellite radar interferometry: Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 107(B7), p. ETG4 1-13, DOI 10.1029/2001JB000471

Nye, C.J., Keith, T.E.C., Eichelberger, J.C., Miller, T.P., McNutt, S.R., Moran, S.C., Schneider, D.J., Dehn, J., and Schaefer, J.R., 2002, The 1999 eruptions of Shishaldin Volcano, Alaska: remote monitoring using multiple data streams: Bulletin of Volcanology, v. 64(8), 507 – 519

Moran, S.C., Stihler, S.D., and Power, J.A., 2002, A tectonic earthquake sequence preceding the April-May 1999 eruption of Shishaldin Volcano, Alaska: Bulletin of Volcanology, v. 64(8), p. 520-524

Jolly, Arthur D.; Stihler, Scott D.; Power, John A.; Lahr, John C.; Paskievitch, John; Tytgat, Guy; Estes, Steve; Lockhart, Andrew D.; Moran, Seth C.; McNutt, Stephen R.; Hammond, William R., 2001. Catalog of earthquake hypocenters at Alaskan volcanoes: January 1, 1994 through December 31, 1999. Open-File Report 2001-189, 22 p. [Link]

Power, J.A., Moran, S.C., McNutt, S.R., Stihler, S.D., and Sanchez, J.J., 2001, Seismic response of the Katmai volcanoes to the 6 December 1999 magnitude 7.0 Karluk Lake earthquake, Alaska: Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, v. 91(1), p. 57-63.

Moran, S.C., Zimbelman, D.R., and Malone, S.D., 2000, A model for the magmatic-hydrothermal system at Mount Rainier, Washington, from seismic and geochemical observations: Bulletin of Volcanology, v. 61(7), p. 425-436.

Moran, S.C., Lees, J.M., and Malone, S.D., 1999, P-wave crustal velocity structure in the greater Mount Rainier area from local earthquake tomography: Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 104(B5), p. 10,775-10,786.

Moran, S.C., 1994, Seismicity at Mount St. Helens, 1987-1992: Evidence for repressurization of an active magmatic system: Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 99(B3), p. 4341-4354.