Geophysics & Geodynamics

The Geophysics group at DTM studies the internal structure and dynamics of the Earth, and the physical processes that give rise to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. By collecting geophysical data through field campaigns throughout the world, DTM geophysicists study a wide variety of problems on many spatial and temporal scales, ranging from mantle convection and subduction-zone dynamics, to magma ascent and eruption.

Currently, the group's primary tools include seismology and geodesy (strain). In recent years, we have deployed seismic and strainmeter networks in the western United States, Peru, Iceland, Hawai'i, Italy, and Nicaragua. We are also actively involved in the development of cutting-edge next-generation instrumentation for geophysical research.

The Geophysics groups' interests are diverse, and have recently included the study of “failed” volcanic eruptions and persistent (continuous long-term) volcanic unrest, triggering of slow earthquakes and volcanic eruptions by tectonic and climatic activity, and the formation and evolution of the continental lithosphere.

Geophysics Instrumentation.

An eruption at Stromboli Volcano, Italy. (Alan Linde, DTM)


Staff Scientists

Peter E. Driscoll - Evolution of Earth's core and magnetic field; magnetic polarity reversals; inner core structure; core-mantle coupling; tectonic-volatile cycling; tidal dissipation and orbital migration; planetary interiors, dynamos, and aeronomy; exoplanets

Hélène Le Mével - Volcano deformation; geodetic data analysis (GPS, InSAR); volcanic unrest; gravimetry; numerical modeling of magmatic processes

Diana C. Roman - Source processes of volcanic earthquakes; volcano-fault interaction; structure and dynamics of magma transport and storage systems

Peter E. van Keken - Thermal and chemical evolution of the Earth; causes and consequences of plate tectonics; finite element modeling of mantle convection, subduction zone dynamics and mantle plumes; integration of geodynamics with seismology, geochemistry, and mineral physics; parallel computing; scientific visualization

Lara S. Wagner - Seismic waveforms; seismic tomography; tectonic processes; global seismology; formation and evolution of the continental lithosphere; mineral physics 

Technical Staff

Steven Golden - Field Seismologist

Daniela Power - Geophysical Research Assistant

Cian Wilson - Computational physics; fluid dynamics; high performance computing and visualization

Postdoctoral Fellows and Associates

Doug Hemingway, Ph.D. University of California Santa Cruz (2015) [also working with Astronomy Group]

Tim Jones, Ph.D. Australian National University (2017)

Kathleen F. McKee, Ph.D. University of Alaska Fairbanks (2017)

Daniel Portner, Ph.D. University of Arizona (2019)

Nathan Sime, Ph.D. University of Nottingham (2015)

Shi (Joyce) Sim, Ph.D. Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla (2018)

Facilities for Research


Mac OSX, Linux-based PC systems, Laser Jet printers, large format plotters, 96-core Linux computing cluster

Other Resources

2 full-time systems administrators, 1 full-time field seismology technician, on-campus machine and electronic shops


Field Seismology

25 Streckheisen STS-2 sensors, 12 Trillium Compact 120s sensors, 26 RefTek RT130-01 24 bit digitizer/datalogger systems (3-channel), 12 Nanometrics Centaur 24-bit digitizer datalogger systems (6 3-channel, 6 6-channel).