Seismology & Geodesy

The faculty and research scientists of the Seismology and Geodesy group pursue research around the globe while remaining directly connected to seismic and geodetic measurements of Alaska's dynamic tectonics. We study earthquakes in solid earth and glaciers, crustal and mantle structure, active tectonics and deformation of the Earth.

The Alaska Earthquake Center, located at the Geophysical Institute, is in charge of monitoring earthquakes in mainland Alaska and the Aleutian Islands. Center personnel educate residents about earthquakes throughout Alaska, the most seismically active state in the nation. As part of the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program, the Earthquake Center informs Alaska communities about the risks of tsunamis and provides inundation mapping for many of Alaska's coastal communities.

Many faculty and staff from the group are affiliated with the Alaska Volcano Observatory, which is responsible for understanding and monitoring volcanic activity across the North Pacific.

We collaborate with the following groups at UAF:

Prospective Students

Opportunities for Prospective Graduate and Postdoctoral Students

Student assistantships are available each year with the Seismology and Geodesy research group. Students interested in applying the computational tools of geophysics to issues in tectonics, earthquakes and volcanoes in Alaska and abroad are sought. Research assistantships provide tuition waivers and competitive stipends, as well as travel to conferences and fieldwork. Because of the unique experiences available in earthquake and volcano studies in Alaska, our program is quite competitive. We support the Master of Science and doctoral programs offered through the UAF Department of Geology & Geophysics. Experience in geophysics is not required. However, a solid background in physics, mathematics or computer science is excellent preparation when combined with a strong interest in Earth sciences.

Many students affiliated with the Seismology and Geodesy research group assist with the daily operations of the Alaska Volcano Observatory and/or the Alaska Earthquake Center. The facilities provide students a chance to complement their individual research with real world application. Advanced degree students often play an important role in the operations of these facilities. This may mean an unscheduled instrument deployment following a crisis, a rapid analysis of an aftershock sequence or a midnight shift monitoring data streams from a restless volcano. These opportunities provide a context for individual research and experience with state-of-the-art data systems. Both the AVO and AEC provide professional facilities and data on which to build research in seismology and geodesy. This allows students to carry out research efficiently, focusing on analysis and interpretation, instead of data preparation. The student body in the geophysics area is quite strong and alumni go to a wide range of jobs in seismology and volcanology. Recent graduates hold positions with other universities, geophysical networks, observatories and private research institutions.

 

How to apply

If this mix of quantitative science and application appeals to you, there are several steps you can follow to become more acquainted with our program. Peruse faculty information online and feel free to contact them directly. For details about how to apply to the program, visit the UAF Department of Geology & Geophysics.

Life at the Geophysical Institute

Faculty and students in the Seismology & Geodesy research group spend the bulk of their time at the Geophysical Institute, although all are affiliated with the UAF Department of Geology & Geophysics within the College of Science and Mathematics. Graduate students benefit from the academic structure of the department, combined with the research freedom the Geophysical Institute affords.

Geophysical Institute research spans space physics to glaciology to climate science. The institute is located in the Elvey Building and is contiguous with the buildings that house the International Arctic Research Center and Research Computing Systems. The institute maintains close collaborations with both centers.

The Geophysical Institute is located on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus. An extensive trail system next to the institute is maintained for running, hiking and cycle use in the summer. In the winter, the trails are lighted and professionally groomed for cross-country skiing. Geophysical Institute students are active outdoors and can take advantage of Alaska’s limitless wilderness opportunities, often in conjunction with their research. As the second largest city in the state, Fairbanks combines the conveniences and cultural resources of a larger city with the wilds of Interior Alaska.

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