About Me

I am a professor of geophysics and head of the Department of Geosciences at Virginia Tech. 

Click on one of the topics listed between the double bars above to learn more.



December 2017.  Former PhD student Will Fortin nabbed the cover of JGR-Oceans with our paper on turbulence in the South China Sea from seismic oceanography.  Well done, Will!

December 2017.  MS student Kira Dickey presented a terrific poster at last week’s AGU meeting, on our work imaging Yellowstone’s hydrothermal systems using airborne EM data — all while fighting off food poisoning.  Well done, Kira!

July 2017.  I’ve now moved to Virginia Tech, where I’m the new head of the Department of Geosciences.  Although I’ll miss a lot of things about the University of Wyoming, I’m excited for the new opportunity.  The department here is excellent, with great prospects for continued growth!

June 2017.  We’ve had a raft of successful M.S. thesis defenses this spring in Team Holbrook:  Chris Novitsky, Jordan Leone, Casey McGuffy, and Mario Mata.  Well done, everyone!

• December  2016.  Postdoc Sylvain Pasquet’s paper on Yellowstone hydrothermal systems is on the cover of the latest issue of Geophysical Research Letters!  The paper is here.

• November  2016.  We are acquiring two exciting airborne EM (SkyTEM) data sets this month:  one in Reynolds Creek CZO, and one in Yellowstone (joint with USGS).  Check out this cool video of the system flying over a famous national landmark.  Initial inversions show fascinating images of the plumbing systems beneath the geysers, down to ~200 m!

• November  2016.  Our paper entitled “Geophysical imaging of shallow degassing in a Yellowstone hydrothermal system” has been accepted in Geophysical Research Letters.  Congratulations to postdoc Sylvain Pasquet, who is first author!

• April  2016.  Our paper entitled “Mapping turbulent diffusivity associated with oceanic internal lee waves offshore Costa Rica" is out in Ocean Science.  

• February  2016.  Our paper entitled “Estimating snow water equivalent over long mountain transects using snowmobile-mounted GPR” is out in Geophysics.  

• October  2015.  Our paper on deep Critical Zone structure (and how topographic and tectonic stress controls it) is out today in Science.  You can link to the paper here, or email me for a PDF if you don’t have a subscription.  See also the nice Perspectives piece on our results by Bob Anderson.  Congratulations especially to PhD student James St. Clair and UCLA Asst. Prof. Seulgi Moon, who were co-first authors!

• October  2015.  Congratulations to PhD student James St. Clair, who successfully defended his PhD on Oct. 15!

• August  2015.  Team Holbrook is joined this summer by three new graduate students:  Chris Novitsky (B.S., Univ. of Minnesota), Jordan Leone (B.S., Montana Tech), and Casey McGuffy (B.S., Rutgers Univ.).  Welcome aboard!

• July 2015.  The geophysics field team finished up a week at Reynolds Creek CZO and a week at a riparian site in eastern Oregon.  You can see some great photos here.

• March 2015.  Congratulations to PhD student Jorden Hayes, who has just accepted a tenure-track position at Dickinson College.  Hooray!

• January 2015.  Our geophysics field team spent a week in the field at the Catalina Critical Zone Observatory near Tucson, Arizona, collecting data that show a fascinating north-south aspect contrast in regolith structure.  CatCZO marks the sixth CZO at which WyCEHG has collected geophysical data.

• January 2015.  WyCEHG faculty (myself, Brad Carr and Andy Parsekian) co-taught (with Ty Ferré, Univ. of Arizona) a CUAHSI short course on “Geophysics for Hydrology" in Tucson, Arizona.  The course was quite successful (if I do say so myself).

• August 2014.  The WyCEHG field geophysics team has had a very productive summer, collecting near-surface geophysics on a daily basis, both in our Wyoming field sites and at three CZO’s — Boulder Creek (Colorado), Reynolds Creek (Idaho), and Eel River (California).  You can see some photos of the field work herehere, and here.  WyCEHG has now worked at five CZO’s (Calhoun and Southern Sierra are the other two).

• July 2014.  Team Holbrook is joined this year by new grad student Mario Mata, who will be working on critical zone hydrogeophysics.  Welcome aboard, Mario!

• December 2013.  I gave the Munk Award lecture at the Acoustical Society of America meeting in San Francisco.  The award consisted of a certificate (signed by the Secretary of the Navy!), a lapel pin, and a medal (front and back shown here).

• October 2013.  Team Holbrook is joined this semester by new grad student Ryan Armstrong.  Ryan comes to UW from Colorado College.  Ryan will be doing an MS under the WyCEHG umbrella, focusing on airborne geophysical data from our Snowy Range focus site.

• September 2013.  A sampling of recent news releases about WyCEHG, including stories on our community college partnerships, JSU collaboration (also here), and our upcoming helicopter geophysical survey.

• June 2013.  I am surprised and delighted to have been named the recipient of the 2013 Walter Munk Award.  You can read the UW news release here, and read about the award here.

• June 2013.  We have been hosting students from Jackson State University in a joint UW-JSU field course on "ecohydrogeophysics."  The course has been a great success!  You can read about it here.

• January 2013.  PhD student Will Fortin has won an Outstanding Student Paper award from the Tectonophysics section at the Fall AGU meeting.  You can see Will's poster here.  Hooray!

• January 2013.  Two new additions to Team Holbrook this month:  new grad student Brady Flinchum, who comes to us from the University of Nevada, and new postdoc Mehrez Elwaseif, who just finished his PhD at Rutgers University.  Welcome aboard!

• December 2012.  Our paper announcing the Cascadia open-access seismic data set came out in Eos.  You can download it here.

• December 2012.  If you are interested, you can see a couple of photos from the very nice AGU 2012 Honors Ceremony and Banquet here.

• July 2012.  I am very pleased to announce that I'll be co-Director of the new Wyoming Center for Environmental Hydrology and Geophysics (WyCEHG), which has just been funded by a $20 M grant from NSF.  Part of WyCEHG will be a new facility for near-surface geophysical imaging, which I'll direct.  Read the UW news story here.

• July 2012.  We are currently sailing on the R/V Langseth, conducting an open-access, open-participation seismic survey of the Cascadia subduction zone off Washington.  To read our blog, click here.

• January 2012.  I'm delighted to have been elected a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union.  To see UW's news story, click here.

December 2011.  My colleagues and I have been funded for a 2D seismic cruise on the Cascadia margin in summer 2012.  This will be an open-access, open-participation project (a model I hope will become more common in the future).  We're looking for student and early-career scientists to participate!  Read about the project here.

• December 2011.  Former undergrad Dan Eakin, Ilker Fer and I published a paper in GRL showing the first seismic images of oceanic lee waves. 

July 2011.  I've been named a GeoPRISMS Distinguished Lecturer for 2012.  I'll be giving talks on the composition of arcs and the "subduction zone sponge."

April 2011.  Grad student Jorden Hayes won an Outstanding Student Paper award from the Tectonophysics section at the American Geophysical Union Meeting in San Francisco (Dec. 2010).  Hooray!

December 2010.  I'm seeking a new postdoc, to work on seismic oceanography and other topics.  You can see the ad here.

August 2010.  Our research group is joined this fall by Alicia von Lanken, an MS candidate with a degree in physics from Eastern Illinois.

April 2010:  You can watch the video of my Presidential Speaker presentation here.

March 2010:  Coming up in April, I'll have the honor of being the University of Wyoming's Presidential Speaker for 2010.  I'll give talks at the main UW campus and also at Casper College.  You can see the flyer here.

26 January 2010:   The cover of the current issue of Geophysical Research Letters shows a figure from our paper on imaging oceanic internal tides, along with a photograph I took from the stern of the R/V Langseth during our 2008 seismic cruise.

(Click on the thumbnail to see a better image.)

• 9 November 2009:   We've received funding from the Office of Naval Research:  $472,262 to continue our work on seismic oceanography.  The official title of the grant is "“Seismic Oceanography: Non-linear internal waves in the South China Sea and Three-Dimensional Maps of Ocean Temperature and Turbulence.”  Prof. Subhashis Mallick is a co-PI on the grant.

To reach me, send me an email.
Or call me at work:  307-766-2427
(But email is better.)