USGS earthquake-related Mendenhall Fellowship opportunities

USGS Mendenhall Research Fellowships

Application deadline: November 1, 2023

Important: Interested applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the Research Advisors early in the application process to discuss project ideas.

Qualifications: Ph.D. completed by the time employment starts and within the past 5 years. Meet qualifications described in the research opportunity. Mendenhall Fellowships are U.S. Government positions so the USGS must give preference to U.S. citizens.
For further information, including application instructions, see

Earthquake-related Opportunities

22-16. Characterizing the neotectonic evolution of the Cascade Range
We seek a Mendenhall Fellow to examine the neotectonic evolution of the Cascade Range (CA, OR, WA), a dynamic, high-elevation landscape controlled by recent glaciation, magmatism, and faulting. We invite proposals to conduct interdisciplinary research to characterize the interactions and spatiotemporal patterns of climate, magmatism, tectonics, and natural hazards within the Cascade Range.
Research Advisors: Scott Bennett (, Stephen Angster, Mark Stelten, Ray Wells, Richard Blakely, William Scott, Jim O’Connor, Ashley Streig, Ian Madin

22-21. Multi-hazard, statistical analysis of extreme geophysical events
Extremely large (and impactful) geophysical events occur only rarely. As a result, it is difficult to estimate their occurrence frequency and geographic expression. Generalized statistical methods can be specialized using physical principles to improve the accuracy of hazard and risk estimates.
Research Advisors: Jeffrey Love (, Sarah Minson, Andrew Michael, Nico Luco, Kristen Lewis, Kyle Anderson, Stephen Wu, Keisuke Yano

22-27. Improving estimates of long-term fault slip rates for the U.S. National Seismic Hazard Model
This research opportunity focuses on constraining long-term fault slip rates used in earthquake rupture forecasts as part of the National Seismic Hazard Model. A major emphasis is developing and applying novel techniques, such as Bayesian methods, to characterize uncertainties.
Research Advisors: Brad Aagaard (, Ned Field, Alex Hatem, Sarah Minson, Fred Pollitz

22-28. Investigating earthquake sequence evolution: underlying physics, statistical properties, and regional variations
We seek a Mendenhall Fellow to investigate earthquake sequence evolution and how it may vary regionally, supporting goals to forecast and communicate earthquake activity on a range of timescales. This could include earthquake sequence physics and/or statistics, near-real-time characterization, influences of spatial variation on seismic hazard forecasts, and implementing research into model updates.
Research Advisors: Andrea Llenos (, David Shelly, Andrew Michael, Jeanne Hardebeck, Allison Shumway, William Yeck, Kirstie Haynie, Dara Goldberg, Max Schneider, Nicholas van der Elst, Ned Field, Mark Petersen

22-29. Ground-motion modeling and research for the U.S. National Seismic Hazard Model
This research opportunity focuses on developing models for the ground-motion characterization of the U.S. National Seismic Hazard Model (NSHM). The opportunity encompasses basic and applied research on earthquake ground motions with future application to the NSHM.
Research Advisors: Morgan Moschetti (, Kyle Withers, Brad Aagaard, Annemarie Baltay, Grace Parker, Robert Graves

22-30. A Fast Finite Fault Framework (F4)
The USGS seeks to develop a framework to rapidly determine fault rupture dimensions in large earthquakes for accurate shaking estimation. This involves near-real-time collaboration among seismologists, engineers, geologists, and geodesists—harmonizing disparate seismological, faulting, imagery, and impact observations needed to constrain rupture complexity and the shaking distribution.
Research Advisors: David Wald (, Data Goldberg, Paula Burgi, Nadine Reitman

22-31. Constraining earthquake cycle processes, ground motion characteristics, and rupture extent from geologic shaking proxies and coastal sedimentary records in subduction zones
This opportunity seeks to constrain past and future earthquake rupture characteristics along the Cascadia Subduction Zone. Proposals are encouraged that enhance and/or leverage the existing geologic record to constrain the magnitude, extent, and spatiotemporal clustering of earthquakes, as well as quantitative estimates of coseismic and interseismic deformation across multiple earthquake cycles.
Research Advisors: Alex Grant (, Lydia Staisch, Erin Wirth, Danny Brothers, Rob Witter, Andrew Makdisi

22-32. New constraints on past great earthquakes, submarine landslides, floods, and storms from sediment cores and contextual data
This Opportunity will test the hypothesis that submarine deposits left by episodic sediment gravity flows and sampled in cores provide clues about their triggering processes, particularly past great (M>8) earthquakes. These deposits (‘turbidites’) record massive sediment transport events, in which sediments may flow destructively hundreds of kilometers and pose hazards to offshore structures.
Research Advisors: Joan Gomberg (, Lydia Staisch, Jake Covault, Zoltan Sylvester, Nora Nieminski

22-33. Physics-based modeling of earthquake hazard in northern California
Physics-based models have the potential to fill in information gaps that are currently limiting practical seismic hazard analysis. This research opportunity seeks to advance our understanding of the links between these physical processes, the expected shaking at any location, and seismic hazard assessment, through the use ofcomputer simulations and/or development of 3D geologic models.
Research Advisors: Evan Hirakawa (, Annemarie Baltay, Ruth Harris, Robert Graves, Grace Parker

22-34. Seismic hazard analyses in Geologic Carbon Sequestration
Geologic Carbon Sequestration (GCS) is a technology to reduce emission of greenhouse gases and is gaining traction across the U.S. One major hurdle is the potential of induced seismicity associated with injection of CO2 underground. We propose to investigate the efficacy of hydromechanical model-based seismicity forecasting for GCS as a possible future important seismic hazard mitigation tool.
Research Advisors: Joern Kaven (, Elizabeth Cochran, Andrew Barbour, Justin Rubinstein

22-35. Connecting fiber optic seismology to seismic hazard
The Fellow will use high-resolution information on crustal fault and seismic velocity structure provided by the distributed acoustic sensing (DAS)/fiber-optic technique to understand fault properties and characterize seismic hazard. DAS technique development with a connection to understanding fault geometry, seismic velocity structure, and improving ground motion predictions is encouraged.
Research Advisors: Jeff McGuire (, Adam RIngler, Andrew Barbour, Morgan Moschetti, Dara Goldberg, David Shelly, Nathaniel Miller, Veronica Rodriguez Tribaldos, Elieen Martin, Zack Spica

22-36. Improving earthquake forecasting with machine learning
We seek applicants to develop a machine-learning model that can be used for earthquake forecasting. This model should provide probabilistic forecasts of the future earthquake rate, earthquake locations, and sizes.
Research Advisors: Morgan Page (, Nicholas van der Elst, Clara Yoon, Ned Field

22-37. Investigating the transition from slow to fast slip on the subduction interface
This Opportunity aims to investigate the relations between slow slip and megathrust earthquakes in the Cascadia or Alaska subduction zones. We invite research proposals pursuing novel approaches for characterizing and explaining slip and deformation along the plate interface. Proposals may integrate onshore and offshore earthquake, tremor, LFE and VLFE catalogs; imaging data; and geodetic measurement.
Research Advisors: Andrew Barbour (, Aaron Wech, David Shelly, Jeff McGuire, Joan Gomberg, Nick Beeler, Wenyuan Fan

22-38. Investigation of the Puerto Rico Subduction Zone: Structure, processes, and seismic hazard
A crustal-scale, onshore-offshore seismic reflection/refraction and high-resolution seismic reflection experiment will occur in fall 2023 using the R/V Langseth. The Puerto Rico Seismic Network (PRSN) is also updating their earthquake locations. The Fellow will help process and model these data and integrate PRSN relocated earthquakes to improve understanding of seismic hazard in this region.
Research Advisors: Uri ten Brink (, Thomas Pratt, Victor Huerfano, Juan Pablo Canales

22-39. Exploring the final frontier of seafloor deformation
We seek to advance understanding of active tectonic deformation on the seafloor by integrating existing and emerging technologies and analysis tools, such as those applicable to rapid and hazardous phenomena such as earthquakes, tsunamis, aseismic fault slip, and submarine ground failures. Combining multiple datasets to ameliorate inherently spatially limited observations offshore are encouraged.
Research Advisors: Nathaniel Miller (, Joan Gomberg, Jeff McGuire, Erin Wirth, Wenyuan Fan, William Wilcock