• GMF-WideShot-2006

    Advanced Geophysical Instrumentation

    Scientists are developing innovative geophysical hardware and methods for subsurface imaging and monitoring with access to the Geosciences Measurement Facility.

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  • GeophysicalComputationFig16-crop

    Geophysical Computation for Modeling and Imaging

    Our geophysicists are developing efficient, 3D numerical codes for modeling geophysical attributes, mainly seismic and electromagnetic rock properties through seismic wave propagation and electromagnetic wave propagation and diffusion, respectively.

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  • RMBL-Field-Williams-Hubbard

    Environmental Geophysics

    Scientists develop new approaches for characterizing shallow subsurface properties and for monitoring complex processes associated with natural or induced subsurface perturbations.

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  • GeophysicsLab-Nakagawa

    Rock Physics and Coupled Dynamics

    Research in the laboratory increases our scientists experimental knowledge base for geophysical properties of rocks and sediments that are either not well described by conventional rock physics models or have yet to be fully exploited.

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Geophysics has been a core science at Berkeley Lab for over 30 years, predating the 1977 formation of the Earth Sciences Division (ESD) within the Lab. During the world energy crisis of the mid-1970s, keen interest arose in finding alternative sources of energy. Thus, a number of UC Berkeley/Berkeley Lab scientists began exploring the possibility of finding geothermal energy sources using advanced geophysical techniques. This interest led to geothermal field explorations in Northern California, Nevada, and Mexico. Such projects soon expanded into geophysical studies of potential nuclear waste storage sites, and were the beginnings of ESD.

Since then, in addition to continuing and expanding its geothermal studies (in response to the abiding interest in locating and developing alternative energy sources), the ESD Geophysics Department has expanded its mission and now conducts work on a wide variety of geotechnical problems for energy and environment. This work includes remediation projects at contaminated DOE sites, CO2 sequestration studies to mitigate the impacts of global warming, development and testing of new geophysical technologies for fossil energy and mining applications, geological and man-made hazard investigations, and basic research in geophysics. In these endeavors, ESD geophysicists employ subsurface modeling and imaging, laboratory and field-scale studies for varied applications including: mapping contaminant transport near the surface of polluted areas, identifying geothermal fluids, oil and gas deposits, and CO2 plumes, investigating earthquake and volcanic hazards, and locating unexploded ordnance (UXO).

Today, ESD Geophysics scientists, postdocs, research associates, and graduate students, carry out a wide range of advanced research in fundamental and applied geophysics. ESD Geophysics is currently driven by two primary objectives. One is to advance geophysical approaches for quantifying subsurface properties, including fluid properties, saturation, porosity, pore pressure, permeability, and in situ stress, from laboratory studies and field measurements at the earth surface and in boreholes. The other is the development of technologies for subsurface resource access and monitoring, such as seismically enhanced oil recovery, geomechanics-based subsurface-permeability enhancement and microearthquake based reservoir monitoring.

Core Capabilities



Advanced Geophysical Instrumentation

The focus of this research area is the development of innovative geophysical hardware and methodologies for subsurface imaging and monitoring, such as high-resolution borehole tomographic tools (radar and seismic), and micro-earthquake monitoring systems.


Environmental Geophysics

Research in this area combines the disciplines of geophysics, hydrogeology, statistics, and biogeochemistry to develop new approaches for characterizing shallow subsurface properties and for monitoring complex processes associated with natural or induced subsurface perturbations.


Geomechanics is concerned with the elastic and/or poroelastic response of earth materials, typically in a scientific or engineering setting that involves fluids such as water or oil stored in earth reservoir.


Geophysical Computation for Modeling and Imaging

Our subsurface imaging research is now focused on combining multiple types of geophysical data sets to better quantify the subsurface and reduce ambiguity. The degree to which joint images of geophysical attributes can be used successfully to infer rock properties (fracture orientation, fracture density, temperature and fluid saturations) from geophysical attributes is also an active area of research. Complementing this imaging capability is our robust computational capability, the challenge for which is to develop accurate and efficient computer codes capable of modeling the seismic and electromagnetic response in complex geologic media.


Rock Physics and Coupled Dynamics

The relationships between geophysical attributes (such as seismic velocities and attenuation, electrical conductivity, and dielectric constant) and rock properties (such as porosity, permeability, and fluid saturation) are provided by rock-physics measurements and/or theoretical understanding.


Jonathan Ajo-Franklin

Staff Scientist

Phone: 510-495-2728

Alex Athey

Phone: (510) 495-2728


James G. Berryman

Senior Scientist

Phone: 510-486-5349

Dimitri Bevc

Phone: (510) 486-6709


Brian P. Bonner

Phone: 510-486-4308

Steve Breen

Phone: (510) 486-5335


Robert Jay Budnitz

Project Scientist/Engineer

Phone: 510-486-7829

Meng Cai

Phone: (510) 486-5096


Jinsong Chen

Staff Scientist

Phone: 510-486-6842
Fax: 510-486-5686


Michael Commer

Research Scientist

Phone: 510-486-6164
Fax: 510-486-5686


George A Cooper

Phone: (510) 486-5349

Baptiste Dafflon - ESD portrait

Baptiste Dafflon

Project Scientist

Phone: 510-486-4735


Thomas Daley

Geophysics Department Head
Staff Scientist

Phone: 510-486-7316
Fax: 510-486-5686

Robert Edward Danczak

Phone: (510) 701-1089

Shan Dou

Phone: (510) 643-8325

Douglas S. Dreger

Phone: (510) 642-1719

William Foxall

Phone: 510-486-5082


Erika Gasperikova

Research Scientist

Phone: 510-486-4930
Fax: 510-486-5686

Roland Gritto

Phone: (510) 486-7316

Phil Harben

Phone: 510-486-5082

John R Haught

Phone: (510) 486-6818

Chad Hobson

Phone: (678) 227-8494

Gary Hoversten

Phone: (510) 486-6455

Chris Hubbard - Earth Sciences Division portrait

Christopher George Hubbard

Project Scientist

Phone: 510-495-8148

Lawrence Hutchings - ESD studio portrait

Lawrence J. Hutchings

Staff Scientist

Phone: 510-486-7446
Fax: 510-486-5686

Stephen P Jarpe

Phone: (510) 486-4018

Boris Jeremic

Phone: (510) 486-7829

Lane R Johnson

Phone: (510) 486-4173

Amy Kenwell

Phone: (510) 701-1089


Valeri A. Korneev

Staff Scientist

Phone: 510-486-7214
Fax: 510-486-5686


Philip E. Long

Deputy Lead, Sustainable Systems Science Focus Area
Project Scientist

Phone: 509-531-2987
Fax: 510-486-5686


Ernest L. Majer

Energy Geophysicist
Staff Scientist

Phone: 510-486-6709

Mark Meadows

Phone: (510) 486-7316

Aydin Mert

Phone: (510) 486-7446

Mamun Miah

Phone: (510) 486-4018

Alejandro Morales

Phone: (510) 486-5967


Larry R Myer

Guest Scientist

Phone: (510) 486-6456

Robert Nadeau

Phone: (510) 643-3980


Gregory A. Newman

Senior Scientist

Phone: 510-486-6887
Fax: 510-486-5686


John E. Peterson


Phone: 510-486-4267
Fax: 510-486-5686


Steven R. Pride

Senior Scientist

Phone: 510-495-2823
Fax: 510-486-5686

Earth Sciences Portrait of Jamie Rector

James W. Rector

Faculty Scientist

Phone: 510-643-7820

Barbara A. Romanowicz

Faculty Scientist

Phone: 510-643-5690

Seth Saltiel

Phone: (510) 486-4018

Jean B Savy

Phone: (510) 486-4404

Pabitra N. Sen

Phone: (510) 898-1654

Ankit Kumar Singh

Phone: (510) 326-2886

Nicholas Sitar

Faculty Scientist

Phone: 510-486-5206

Jeremy T Smith

Phone: (510) 486-5761

Ray D Solbau

Phone: (510) 486-6092

Joseph Stefani

Phone: (510) 486-6709

David Temple

Phone: (510) 495-2728

Leon Thomsen

Phone: (510) 486-5349

Anh Phuong Tran - ESD studio portrait

Anh Phuong Tran

Postdoctoral Fellow

Phone: 510-486-5971
Fax: 510-486-5686

Craig Ulrich - ESD studio portrait

Craig Ulrich

Scientific Engineering Associate

Phone: 510-495-8891
Fax: 510-486-5686

Evan Um - ESD studio portrait

Evan S. Um

Research Scientist

Phone: 510-495-2172
Fax: 510-486-5686


Donald W. Vasco

Senior Scientist

Phone: 510-486-5206
Fax: 510-486-5686

Marco Voltolini

Project Scientist

Phone: 510-486-4093

Emily Voytek

Phone: (510) 701-1089

Hans R. Wenk

Phone: (510) 486-7894

Andrew Whittaker

Phone: (510) 486-7829


Kenneth H. Williams

Staff Scientist

Phone: 510-701-1089
Fax: 510-486-5686

Michael Wilt

Phone: (510) 495-2728

Nicholas Winter

Phone: (510) 486-4308

Yuxin Wu - ESD studio portrait Earth Sciences

Yuxin Wu

Research Scientist

Phone: 510-486-4793
Fax: 510-486-5686

Steve Yabusaki

Phone: (510) 486-4000

Ruxun Zhang

Phone: (510) 495-2728

Featured Publications

Dafflon, B. 2014, Baptiste Dafflon receives the 2013 Paul Niggli Medal Response, Swiss Journal of Geosciences, 107, (1), 134-134

Mert, A., Fahjan, Y., Pinar, A., Hutchings, L. 2014, Strong Ground Motion Simulations Around Princes Islands Fault, Teknik Dergi, 25, (3), 6775-6804