BOD Election 2017 - Candidate Profile

Cliff Thurber

Professor of Geophysics

Department of Geoscience

University of Wisconsin-Madison


1992 - Present Professor of Geophysics Department of Geoscience, University of Wisconsin-Madison
2008 - 2011 Chair Department of Geoscience, University of Wisconsin-Madison
1989 - 1992 Associate Professor of Geophysics Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Wisconsin-Madison
1986 - 1989 Associate Professor of Geophysics Department of Earth and Space Sciences, SUNY-Stony Brook
1981 - 1986 Assistant Professor of Geophysics Department of Earth and Space Sciences, SUNY-Stony Brook
1981 Ph.D. in Geophysics Massachusetts Institute of Technology
1975 A.B. in Physics Cornell University


1989 - Present IRIS Institutional Representative University of Wisconsin-Madison
2016 - 2017 Chair IRIS Transportable Array Advisory Committee
2002 Chair IRIS Nominations Committee
2002 Co-Organizer IRIS Annual Workshop
1999 - 2002 Member IRIS Executive Committee (now Board of Directors)
1997 - 2001 Member IRIS Instrumentation Subcommittee
1995 - 1999 Member IRIS PASSCAL Standing Committee
1992 Chair IRIS Nominations Committee
1990 - 1992 Member PASSCAL Instrument Scheduling Committee
1990 - 1991 Chair IRIS Committee on Earthquake Research
1990 Co-Organizer IRIS Annual Workshop
1989 Member PASSCAL Experiment Proposal Review Panel
1988 - 1990 Member IRIS Executive Committee (now Board of Directors)
1986 - 1988 Secretary IRIS Executive Committee (now Board of Directors)
1985 - 1989 IRIS Institutional Representative State University of New York at Stony Brook

Selected Other Service to the Seismological Community

2014 - 2016 Member EarthScope Science Steering Committee
2011 Co-Convenor GeoPRISMS Planning Workshop for the Alaska Primary Site
2011 Co-Chair GeoPRISMS Implementation Workshop: Subduction Cycles and Dynamics
2010 - 2012 Member GeoPRISMS Steering and Oversight Committee
2009 - 2010 Member MARGINS Steering Committee
1999 - 2010 Associate Editor Journal of Geophysical Research
1989 Member PASSCAL Regional Instrument Center Proposal Review Panel


My main research interests center on the use of local earthquake velocity and attenuation tomography mainly to image fault zones and volcanoes.  I have carried out 15 PASSCAL field projects in the US, New Zealand, and Chile, as a key part of my research.  I feel fortunate that IRIS came into existence early on in my career.  It was exciting and rewarding to participate in its initial development.  After almost two decades of deep involvement in IRIS, participation in the SAFOD project and subsequently the MARGINS and GeoPRISMS programs diverted my attention from IRIS.  Now as we optimistically look forward to IRIS making the transition from SAGE to NGEO, I feel fully prepared to resume playing a key role in IRIS governance.  With its superb leadership team, dedicated staff, and effective community governance structure, IRIS is well prepared to continue to play a leading role in the seismology community for the next decade, and beyond.

PASSCAL and the DMC are the primary IRIS facilities that I put to use in my own research, but I also fully recognize the fundamental importance of the GSN, EPO, and other programs.  As Vice Chair, I will take a balanced and hopefully unbiased approach to my roles in the IRIS governance structure.  One key issue will be adjusting to more integrated operations of some IRIS activities with the geodetic facilities operator.  I am quite familiar with many scientists in the geodetic community, largely via interactions through SCEC, and feel well prepared to work cooperatively with NGEO geodetic leadership.

It will be an honor to serve as the next Vice Chair of the IRIS Board of Directors.  I am prepared to devote the necessary time and energy to help guide IRIS for the next three years.  I look forward to working with all of you to assure the continued success of IRIS.