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Thomas H. Jordan

Southern California Earthquake Center
University of Southern California
W. M. Keck Foundation Professor of Earth Sciences

Expertise: Seismology, geophysics
About Me Publications
Thomas H. Jordan is a University Professor and the W. M. Keck Foundation Professor of Earth Sciences at the University of Southern California. His current research is focused on system-level models of earthquake processes, earthquake forecasting, continental structure and dynamics, and full-3D waveform tomography. As the director of the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC) from 2002-2017, he coordinated an international research program in earthquake system science that involved over 600 scientists at more than 60 universities and research organizations.

He is a member of the California Earthquake Prediction Evaluation Council and Past-President of the Seismological Society of America. He has served on the Council of the National Academy of Sciences (2006-2009) and the Governing Board of the National Research Council (2008-2011), and he was appointed by the Italian government to chair the International Commission on Earthquake Forecasting for Civil Protection following the 2009 L’Aquila earthquake. He is an author of more than 250 scientific publications, including two popular textbooks (with J. Grotzinger) Understanding Earth, 7th ed. and The Essential Earth, 2nd ed. He chaired the National Research Council panels that produced two decadal reports, Living on an Active Earth: Perspectives on Earthquake Science (2003) and Basic Research Opportunities in Earth Sciences (2002).

Jordan received his Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology in 1972 and taught at Princeton University and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography before joining the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1984. He was head of MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences from 1988 to 1998. He has received the Macelwane and Lehmann Medals of the American Geophysical Union, the Woollard Award and President’s Medal of the Geological Society of America, and the 2012 Award for Outstanding Contribution to Public Understanding of the Geosciences by the American Geosciences Institute. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society.

SCEC Participation

SCEC Mentor (2001, 2008, 2020)
SCEC Board of Directors, Chair (2002 - 2017)
SCEC Director (2002 - 2017)
SCEC Science Planning Committee, Group Leader (2007 - 2012)
SCEC Advisory Council, Member (1991 - 1999)