Michael West's

research group in observational seismology

what I do

I am a research professor at the Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska Fairbanks. My research focuses on applying seismology to real world problems. Much of my work focuses on earthquakes, with an emphasis on Alaska. However, I have spent considerable time on seismic applications for glaciers, volcanoes, tsunamis, explosions and human sources. As Director of the Alaska Earthquake Center I lead a group of two dozen individuals with skills ranging from research to engineering to data analysis to software to public engagement and outreach. Because of Alaska's high rates of geologic activity, we are fortunate to collaborate with a diverse set of researchers, emergency managers, engineers, students and the public. My team lives at the intersection of hard science and real world applicationa combination that I find to be deeply meaningful and professionally rewarding.

student opportunities

Considerable opportunities exist for graduate and undergraduate study. Student research projects frequently leverage the assets of the Earthquake Center and many students complement their research with hands-on operational experience in the Seismology Lab. Responding to large earthquakes, tsunamis, and other hazards is an experience that brings unique meaning to thesis research. Our research projects tend to be observation-driven and frequently have a strong field component. The GI Seismology and Geodesy Group has a critical mass of students and faculty in seismology making for a diverse learning environment. We have a history of successful alumnae who have found our mix of pure and applied research to be the key step in their professional development.

Education and professional history

Research Professor 2018-present

State Seismologist 2012-present

Research Associate Professor 2011-2018

Research Assistant Professor 2004-2011

Post-Doctoral Fellow 2001-2004

Ph.D., with distinction,Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University 1998-2001

M.S. Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University 1996-1998

B.A. Colorado College, cum laude 1989-1993

The Geophysical Institute's Elvey Building [click for directions]





Elvey Building 301J, UAF Campus


University of Alaska Fairbanks

Geophysical Institute

2156 Koyukuk Dr.

PO Box 757320

Fairbanks, AK 99775