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Walter Mooney

Walter Mooney is a geophysicist in the Earthquake Hazards Program.

Walter Mooney is a research seismologist and geophysicist at the U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, California (See video presentation). He is also a AGU member since 1974 (and Fellow since 1996). His major interest is global Earth crustal structure and tectonics, particularly of the continental lithosphere. Mooney was the branch Chief of Seismology from 1994 to 1997. He has led field work throughout North and South America and participated in extensive research affiliations with colleagues in Mexico, Europe, Russia, China and Taiwan, Japan, India, Australia, New Zealand, East Africa.

Mooney is a consulting Professor of Geophysics, Stanford University, and a visiting faculty at the following institutions: University of Karlsruhe and Kiel University, Germany, University of Paris and University of Strasbourg, France, Rice University, and the California Institute of Technology. Finally, he is the Program Leader for the USGS contribution to the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System and has extensive experience at leading training.


Sample of Videos Produced

San Francisco, California Bay Area Earthquake Hazards and Preparedness

Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System (IOTWS)

The Wenchuan China Earthquake May 12, 2008, filmed by Sarah Bahan

Mauritius Training Program in Seismology and Tsunami Warning

The Earthquake of September 30, 2009 Padang, Indonesia

Tsunami Preparedness along the West Coast, USA



  1. Recent Publications
    1. 2008-2013
      1. Hartzell, S., C. Mendoza, L. Ramirez-Gurman, Zeng Y.H, and Mooney, W.D., 2013, Rupture history of the 2008 Wenchuan, China, Earthquake: Evaluation of Separate and Joint Inversions of Geodetic, Teleseismic and Strong Motion Data, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 103, no. 1, February (in press). Director Approval 10/2012.  See PDF
      2. Chulick, G., Detweiler, S. and Mooney, W.D., 2012, Seismic structure of the crust and uppermost mantle of South America and surrounding ocean basins, Journal of South American Earth Sciences, 29 June (online). See PDF
      3. Hickman, S.H., Hsieh, P.A., Mooney, W.D., Enomoto, C., Nelson, P., Mayer, L., Weber, T., Moran, K., Flemings, P., McNutt, M., 2012, Scientific Basis for Safely Shutting in the Macondo Well Following the April 20, 2010, Deepwater Horizon Blowout, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 109, no. 50, 20, 268-20, 273. See PDF
      4. Mooney, W.D., J. Ritsema, and H. Hwang, 2012, Crustal seismicity and the earthquake catalog maximum moment magnitude (Mcmax) in stable continental regions (SCRs): correlation with the seismic velocity of the lithosphere, Earth and Planetary Science Letters 357-358, 78-83. See PDF
      5. Prodehl, C. and Mooney, W.D., 2012, Exploring the Earth's Crust: History and Results of Controlled-Source Seismology, Geological Society of America Memoir 208, 764 pp, with supplemental DVD. Abstract, Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6,