Weston Thelen

I love earthquakes.  I love volcanoes.  What could be better than studying earthquakes on volcanoes?  Probably nothing.


My education is in both geology and geophysics with a focus more recently on volcanoes.  I have experience on both stratovolcanoes and basaltic volcanoes in Russia, Alaska, Washington, Oregon and Hawaii.  I've worked in eruptive scenarios at Mount St. Helens in 2004-2008, Redoubt in 2008 and Kilauea from 2011 till 2020.  In addition, I've held positions at the Nevada Seismological Network, the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network and the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, which have all had components of network seismology to them.  



USGS Cascade Volcano Observatory

Position: Research Geophysicist, Rainier Lahar Detection System Science Lead

Project: Undertake and facilitate research on Cascade Range Volcanoes.  Monitor seismicity on Cascade Range Volcanoes to assess volcanic hazard.  Assist in planning, prioritization and execution of maintenance and growth of volcano monitoring networks in Oregon and Washington.

Dates of Employment: 2016-present


USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

Position: Seismic Network Manager/ Supervisory Geophysicist

Responsibilities: Maintain and improve real-time monitoring and operations of the seismic network at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.  Interpret seismic data for changes in volcanic activity.  Analyze earthquake data.

Dates of Employment: 2011-2015


Professional Preparation

Undergraduate Education

  • 2004: University of Nevada, B.S. in Geophysics with high distinction 2004
  • 2004: University of Nevada, B.S. in Geology with high distinction 2004


Graduate Education

  •        2009: University of Washington, Ph.D in Geophysics


Post-doctoral Appointments

  • 2009: University of Washington, Network Seismology
  • 2010: USGS Cascade Volcano Observatory, Volcano Seismology



Louie J. N., Thelen W. A., Smith, S. B., Scott J. B., and Clark M. (2004), The northern Walker Lane refraction experiment: Pn arrivals and the northern Sierra Nevada root: Tectonophysics, 388, no. 1-4, 253-269.

Thelen, W. A., Clark, M., Lopez, C. T., Loughner, C., Park, H., Scott, J. B., Smith, S. B., Greschke, B., Louie, J. N. (2006), A transect of 200 shallow shear velocity profiles across the Los Angeles Basin: Bull. Seismol. Soc. Amer., v. 96, pp. 1055-1067.

Thelen, W. A., Crosson,  R. S. and Creager K. C. (2008), Absolute and relative locations for earthquakes at Mount St. Helens, Washington using continuous data: implications for magmatic processes, chap.4 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.

Moran, S. C., Malone S. D., Qamar A. I., Thelen W. A., Wright A. K., and Caplan-Auerbach J. (2008),  Seismicity associated with the renewed dome-building eruption of Mount St. Helens 2004-2005, chap.2 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.

Qamar, A. I., Malone S. D., Moran S. C., Steele, W. P., and Thelen, W. A. (2008), Near-real-time information products for Mount St. Helens-tracking the ongoing eruption, chap. 3 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.

Thelen, W. A., M. West, and S. Senyukov (2010), Seismic Characterization of the Fall 2007 Eruptive Sequence at Bezymianny Volcano, Russia, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 194, 201-213.

Thelen, W. A., S. D. Malone, and M. E. West (2010), Repose time and cumulative moment magnitude: A new tool for forecasting eruptions?, Geophys. Res. Lett., 37, L18301, doi:10.1029/2010GL044194.

Thelen, W., Malone, S., & West, M. (2011). Multiplets: Their behavior and utility at dacitic and andesitic volcanic centers. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth116(B8).

Wicks, C. W., W. A. Thelen, C. S. Weaver, J. Gomberg, A. C. Rohay, and P. Bodin (2011), InSAR Observations of Aseismic Slip Associated with an Earthquake Swarm in the Columbia River Flood Basalts, J. Geophys. Res., doi:10.1029/2011JB008433.

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 Research200(3), 116-128.

Som, S. M., Hagadorn, J. W., Thelen, W. A., Gillespie, A. R., Catling, D. C., & Buick, R. (2012). Quantitative discrimination between geological materials with variable density contrast by high resolution X-ray computed tomography: An example using amygdule size-distribution in ancient lava flows. Computers & Geosciences

Thelen, W. A., Allstadt, K., de Angelis, S., Malone, S. D., Moran, S. C., & Vidale, J. (2013). Shallow repeating seismic events under an alpine glacier at Mount Rainier, Washington, USA. Journal of Glaciology59(214). 

Shelly, D. R., Moran, S. C., & Thelen, W. A. (2013). Evidence for fluidtriggered slip in the 2009 Mount Rainier, Washington earthquake swarm. Geophysical Research Letters, 1-7.

Orr, T. R., Thelen, W. A., Patrick, M. R., Swanson, D. A., & Wilson, D. C. (2013). Explosive eruptions triggered by rockfalls at Kīlauea volcano, Hawai ‘i.Geology41(2), 207-210.

Johnson, J. H., Swanson, D. A., Roman, D. C., Poland, M. P., andThelen, W.A., 2015, Crustal stress and structure at Kilauea Volcano inferred from seismic anisotropy: AGU Geophysical Monograph, v. 208, p. 251–268.  doi:10.1002/9781118872079.ch12

Orr, T. R., Poland, M. P., Patrick, M. R.,Thelen, W. A., Sutton, A. J., Elias, T., Thornber, C. R., Parcheta, C., and Wooten, K. M., 2015, Kilauea’s 5-9 March 2011 Kamoamoa fissure eruption and its relation to 30+ years of activity from Pu'u ‘O’o: AGU Geophysical Monograph, v. 208, p. 393–420.  doi:10.1002/9781118872079.ch18

Thelen, W. A., and Cooper, J., 2015, An analysis of three new infrasound arrays around Kilauea Volcano: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2014–1253, 29 p.  doi:10.3133/ofr20141253

Patrick, M. R., Orr, T., Sutton, A. J., Lev, E.,Thelen, W., Fee D., 2015. Shallowly driven fluctuations in lava lake outgassing (gas pistoning), Kilauea Volcano. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 433, p. 326-338. doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2015.10.052

Wech, A. G., andThelen, W. A., 2015.  Linking magma transport structures at Kīlauea volcano, Geophysical Research Letters, 42, 7090–7097, doi:10.1002/2015GL064869.