UW News

October 9, 2017

Paul Bodin named interim director of Pacific Northwest Seismic Network

UW News

photo of Paul Bodin

Paul Bodin

Paul Bodin, a research professor in the UW’s Department of Earth and Space Sciences, has been named the interim director of the UW-based Pacific Northwest Seismic Network.  PNSN is a collaboration between the University of Washington, the University of Oregon and the U.S. Geological Survey that tracks earthquake and volcano activity throughout the two states, with the support of federal, state and private funding.

Former PNSN director John Vidale stepped down to accept a faculty position at the University of Southern California and direct the Southern California Earthquake Center in Los Angeles. The search for his permanent replacement is expected to take about one year.

In the interim, Bodin will also serve as the Washington’s state seismologist, serving on the Washington state Seismic Safety Committee that makes seismic policy recommendations to the state’s Emergency Management Division and Gov. Jay Inslee, as well as answering questions from reporters and the public about earthquake and volcanoes.

Bodin will join other regional earthquake experts for a Reddit “Ask Us Anything” Q&A Thursday, Oct. 19 from noon to 2 p.m. PDT

Bodin is an observational seismologist whose research expertise includes studies of earthquake source physics, seismic wave propagation, and the impacts of strong ground shaking on soils.  Bodin spent the first part of his career at the University of Memphis. In Tennessee he studied earthquake processes and hazards associated with earthquakes that occur far from tectonic plate boundaries. Such earthquakes are infrequent and poorly understood, but have very large impacts when they do occur. He also performed field studies in the aftermath of large earthquakes in Mexico, California, India and Taiwan, and was part of a U.S. team monitoring underground nuclear testing in the former Soviet Union.

Bodin joined the UW faculty in 2006 to become manager of the PNSN. During more than a decade since he has overseen upgrades of the network’s technology to enable faster and more accurate detection, analysis and communication of ground shaking from a major earthquake. These network improvements have led to the inclusion of Washington and Oregon into ShakeAlert, a West Coast-wide earthquake early warning system that will provide advance warnings for imminent large earthquakes. Bodin has also published academic papers on triggered earthquakes and tremors; seismic wave propagation and aftershocks; exploring swarm seismicity in Richland and Spokane, Washington; and on the potential for developing earthquake early warning systems in Hawaii and Chile.

Bodin earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of California, San Diego, his master’s at California’s Humboldt State University and his doctorate at the University of Colorado, Boulder.


For more information, contact Bodin at bodin@uw.edu or 206-616-7315 or PNSN communications manager Bill Steele at 206-685-5880 or wsteele@uw.edu.