New Paper on the Leech River Fault

Morell, K. D., C. Regalla, L. Leonard, C.B. Amos, and V. Levson, (2017) Late Quaternary rupture of a crustal fault system beneath Victoria, British Columbia, GSA Today, v. 27, doi: 10.1130/GSATG291A.1.



AGU 2016

Although I am unable to attend the AGU fall meeting, several of my students and collaborators are presenting work at the meeting. Here’s the rundown:

First up is a session I put together with Alison Duvall and Jeni McDermott. Posters are Monday AM with talks in the afternoon. Looks like a great lineup:

EP11B Recent Advances in Tectonic Geomorphology: Dates, Rates, Models, and Beyond II Posters

Second is a talk Wednesday afternoon by Kristin Morell on our trenching work on the Leech River Fault:

T33D-02 Lidar and paleoseismic trenching reveal first documentation of late Quaternary onshore faulting in the forearc of southwestern British Columbia

And finally, MS student Gunnar Speth will be presenting his findings on active faulting in Central Oregon:

T41B-2921 Testing the time dependence of slip on the West Klamath Lake fault zone

I especially encourage prospective MS students attending the meeting to head over to Gunnar’s poster and grill him!


New Paper in Press on the Owens Valley Fault

Congrats to Beth Haddon and co. on the publication of her MS thesis in G-cubed! This paper presents new constraints on the distribution of slip during large earthquakes in Owens Valley (as well as on the late-Quaternary slip rate) based on airborne lidar and field observations. The paper also includes a new MATLAB-based tool written by Olaf Zielke (LaDiCaoz_v2) for analyzing lateral and vertical fault offsets.

Haddon, E.K., Amos, C.B., Zielke, O., Jayko, A.S. and Bürgmann, R. (2016), Surface Slip during Large Owens Valley Earthquakes, Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 17, 2239226910.1002/2015GC006033.


WWU Tectonic Geomorphology at AGU 2015

Both MS student Jaime Delano and I are presenting research this year at the annual AGU meeting in San Francisco.

Jaime is first up, with a poster on Wednesday afternoon on comparing long-term records of incision and fault slip to short-term interseismic deformation in the southern Olympic Mountains of WA.

T33C-2944: Fluvial Record of Active Deformation Along the Canyon River Fault in the Wynoochee River Valley, WA.

On Thursday afternoon, I am giving a talk on active faults in the southern Walker Lane Belt, generally on discrepancies between slip rates determined from geologic and geodetic records.

T43E-04: Steady, modest slip over multiple earthquake cycles on the Owens Valley and Little Lake fault zone.

Stop by either one (or both) and say hello!


Yakima Folds Paper in Press

Congrats to Adrian Bender and co. on the publication of his MS thesis in JGR –  Solid Earth! This paper presents some of the first Late-Quaternary uplift/shortening rates for the Yakima folds based on the cosmogenic isochron technique. Bottom line: the folds (and likely the underlying faults) are active, and shortening is distributed among several active folds in the area.

Bender, A. M., C. B. Amos, P. Bierman, D. H. Rood, L. Staisch, H. Kelsey, and B. Sherrod (2015), Differential uplift and incision of the Yakima River terraces, central Washington State, J. Geophys. Res. Solid Earth, 120, doi:10.1002/2015JB012303.


Lab Group Update

Oops – it’s been about a year since I’ve updated the site. Never saw that coming. It’s been a busy year with new students, field projects, classes, even a trip to Taiwan!

First off, BIG congratulations to MS students Beth Haddon and Adrian Bender, as well as senior thesis student Tabor Reedy for graduating this spring / summer! Adrian is now working as a term geologist with the Alaska Science Center in Anchorage, and Beth is teaching as a lecturer at San Francisco State. Tabor has been lending his services to various field and trenching projects throughout the northwest while he applies to grad school for next year.

Both Beth and Adrian submitted papers on their thesis work

Haddon, E.K., C.B. Amos, O. Zielke, A.S. Jayko, and R. Bürgmann (in revision, 2015) Surface Slip during Large Owens Valley Earthquakes, G-Cubed.

Bender, A.M., C.B. Amos, D.H. Rood, L. Staisch, H. Kelsey, and B. Sherrod (in revision, 2015) Differential uplift and incision of the Yakima River terraces, JGR – Solid Earth.

Downloadable copies of their theses are available here:


GSA 2014 in Vancouver

The annual GSA meeting in Vancouver is coming up, and work from our group will be presented in two sessions:

First up, I will be giving a talk in session T38 (Geology of Earthquakes, Faults, and Fault Systems) on Tuesday, 10/21 at 2:00 PM:

Amos, C.B., P. Audet, W.C. Hammond, R. Bürgmann, I.A. Johanson, and G. Blewitt (2014) Uplift and seismicity driven by groundwater depletion in central California, Geological Society of America Annual Meeting Abstracts with Programs. Vol. 46, No. 6, p. 594. (Invited)

Second, I will be chairing session T18 (Landscape Records of Earthquake Deformation) on Wednesday. This session includes morning talks and PM posters. Graduate student Beth Haddon will be presenting her thesis research in the morning session at 8:35 AM:
Come out to see our work and say hello!

Groundwater extraction can move mountains

Water Underground

Contributed by Pascal Audet (webpage or email)

1977-Poland_telephonepole Historic 1977 photo of Dr. Joseph Poland, USGS, considered the pioneer of scientific subsidence studies. Dates on telephone pole indicate previous land elevations in an area SW of Mendota. Photo credit: U.S. Geological Survey

Next time you eat food grown in the San Joaquin Valley of California, think about this: the water used for growing them probably came from under ground. Farmers do not really have a choice because the amount of water from rain and snow can’t keep up with the needs for growing food. Every year more water is drawn out of the ground for irrigation. Because of this, the floor of the San Joaquin Valley goes down as the sediments compact once the water is out (see picture on right).

In the latest work from our team, we find a surprising side effect of groundwater pumping: the…

View original post 227 more words

News coverage of our study in Nature


Our study on the effects of groundwater loss on uplift and seismicity has been featured in a variety of news sources, notably the LA Times, the Washington Post, BBC News, The Guardian, Christian Science Monitor, Earth Magazine, and several other outlets. Nature also recorded a podcast with me, which you can access here.

Paul Lundgren (JPL) also wrote a News and Views piece to accompany our paper that serves as a nice summary and perspective piece.


GPS station P311 in the eastern Sierra Nevada of California, administered by the EarthScope Plate Boundary Observatory. Modest, contemporary vertical uplift of this and other GPS stations in the Sierra Nevada and Coast Ranges across central California is attributed to human-caused groundwater depletion in the adjacent San Joaquin Valley. Image from UNAVCO.

GSA Cordilleran 2014

Former senior thesis student Skyler Sorsby will be presenting a portion of his senior thesis research at the upcoming GSA Cordilleran meeting in Bozeman. Skyler’s talk will be Tuesday morning May 20th at 11:00 AM. He will cover mapping of the channel planform and terrace mapping from lidar data, as well as some preliminary results from cosmogenic isochron dating of terrace remnants.

The session, T17. Tectonic and Climatic Drivers in Geomorphology and Landscape Evolution, looks to be a good one!


SORSBY, Skyler, AMOS, Colin, BIERMAN, Paul R., HANSON, Kathryn, ROOD, Dylan H., FISHER, G. Burch III, and KELSEY, Harvey M.