Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory

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The Seismoacoustics Team is a diverse group of scientists addressing local and regional-scale seismological and infrasound problems through a combination of theory, data analysis and field deployments in support of United States treaty/explosion monitoring.

The broad topics explored in the team’s research consist of the modeling waves through the earth and atmosphere, the detection and description of signals associated with various types of sources, and advancing the understanding the sources of these signals. The end-goals of the research include improved event location, the detection of signals from smaller sources, better discrimination between earthquake and explosive sources, and improved yield estimation.

Increasingly, seismic and infrasound data are being combined with additional datasets in Multi-Phenomenology Explosion Monitoring (MultiPEM). MultiPEM contributes to the enduring US treaty/explosion monitoring mission but, more importantly, it lends itself to the discovery of the “art of the possible” for future treaty/explosion monitoring capabilities.

To support our research, we develop and maintain an extensive seismic and acoustic database comprised of both waveforms and event data. This database is created through the merging of local, regional, and teleseismic network assets from across the globe.


  • Ground-Based Nuclear Detonation Detection (GNDD; DOE)
  • Source Physics Experiment (SPE; DOE)
  • Underground Nuclear Explosion Signatures Experiment (UNESE; DOE)

Team Members


Dr. Dale N. Anderson (dand@lanl.gov, 505-606-1960) is the LANL program lead for Ground-based Nuclear Detonation Detection (GNDD). He received his Ph.D. in Applied Statistics from the University of California at Riverside and has over 25 years experience in nuclear explosion and treaty monitoring. Dr. Anderson's expertise and interests are in the development of mathematical statistics to combine multiple phenomenology sensor signatures into unified analyses.

Dr. Michael L. Begnaud (mbegnaud@lanl.gov, 505-667-7620) has been a seismologist at LANL since 1999. His research focuses on developing new models and methods for seismic event location related to explosion monitoring and the collection and quality control of ground truth events. Current research includes development of the Regional Seismic Travel Time (RSTT) tomographic model as well as data and validation for the SALSA3D global geophysical model. Dr. Begnaud is also the deputy program lead at LANL for GNDD and the lead for the LANL Seismo-Acoustic team.

Dr. Philip S. Blom (pblom@lanl.gov, 505-665-0052) completed his Ph.D. in physics at the University of Mississippi and joined LANL in 2013. His research is primarily focused on the complexities of infrasound propagation. He has developed acoustic ray tracing software to include propagation using a spherical earth model and topographic effects. In addition, Dr. Blom has contributed to the Bayesian infrasonic source location framework, developing a new physics-based likelihood definition for infrasonic detections including construction and evaluation of stochastic propagation models.

Dr. Joshua D. Carmichael (joshuac@lanl.gov, 505-667-1446) completed his Ph.D. in geophysics at the University of Washington and has been at LANL since the fall of 2013. He currently applies geophysical modeling and signal processing methods to detect and discriminate very shallow explosions from earthquakes, by fusing multi-phenomenological waveform records (seismic, acoustic and radio emission). His work quantifies the predictive capability of novel waveform detectors and screening methods, allowing the prediction of performance capabilities of seismic arrays in challenging signal environments.

Dr. K. Michael Cleveland (mcleveland@lanl.gov, 505-667-1511) earned his Ph.D. from the Pennsylvania State University and has been at LANL since 2013. He is a geophysicist whose work focuses on study of the seismic source, using methods such as moment tensor analysis and waveform modeling. A large portion of Dr. Cleveland’s research investigates surface waves at local to teleseismic distances, exploring their use for event location and analysis of source properties.

Dr. Garrett G. Euler (ggeuler@lanl.gov, 505-667-1446) completed his Ph.D. in Earth and Planetary Sciences at the Washington University in St. Louis and has been at LANL since December 2013. His work at LANL has focused on seismoacoustic array analysis, seismic discrimination, infrasound catalog generation, multi-phenomenological association, legacy nuclear and chemical explosion datasets, and containment of subcritical experiments.

Dr. Jonathan K. MacCarthy (jkmacc@lanl.gov, 505-665-4448) obtained his Ph.D. at New Mexico Tech in 2011, and he joined LANL in 2014. As postdoc at LANL, he investigated new seismic magnitude discriminants, radionuclide gas migration modeling following an underground nuclear event, and seismic event cluster analysis. He currently conducts research in seismic imaging and inverse methods, event screening and detection, and error modeling.

Dr. Omar Marcillo (omarcillo@lanl.gov, 505-606-0192) received his Ph.D. in geophysics from New Mexico Tech, and he came to LANL in 2012. His research focuses on understanding the generation and propagation of infrasound in the atmosphere and the development of seismo-acoustic techniques to improve full characterization of explosive sources for local, regional and global events. Dr. Marcillo also works on new techniques of modeling the effect of path on acoustic signals and extracting atmospheric information using seismo-acoustic background noise.

Dr. W. Scott Phillips (wsp@lanl.gov, 505-667-8106) has been a seismologist at LANL since 1995. He currently focuses on building velocity and attenuation models for high frequency local and regional phases and coda, and testing newly developed models for improvements in our ability to locate, discriminate and characterize underground nuclear tests. Dr. Phillips spends much of his time collecting and analyzing data, and developing new inversion techniques. Dr. Phillips obtained his Ph.D. from MIT.

Dr. Charlotte A. Rowe (char@lanl.gov, 505-665-6404) has been a seismologist at LANL since 2002. She currently focuses on local-scale modeling using active source methods and building array analysis data quality checks using signal dimensionality. She also works on detection, classification, and location using waveform correlation and clustering methods, as well as subspace and under-utilized signal characteristics. Dr. Rowe is involved in using potential methods to explore subsurface features, exploring seismic resonance for cavity detection, and using cosmic ray muons for imaging. She is also experienced in earthquake and volcano monitoring.

Dr. Richard J. Stead (stead@lanl.gov, 505-665-1033) has been a seismologist with LANL since 2002. He has worked on nuclear nonproliferation and monitoring issues since 1989 and is an expert in treaty monitoring, in automation, software, information systems and informatics for geophysics, in field seismology, in seismic network operations, in signal analysis, and in waveform modeling.

Dr. Ellen M. Syracuse (syracuse@lanl.gov, 505-667-2269) is a seismologist who works on applying the joint inversion of body waves, surface waves, and gravity data to local-regional scale problems. She also works with the quality control of seismic data and seismic relocation methods. Dr. Syracuse completed her Ph.D. in 2008 at Boston University, held postdoctoral and assistant scientist positions at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and began at LANL in 2013 as a Director’s Postdoc. She became a permanent staff member at LANL in 2016.
Research Technicians/Long-Term Students

Ms. Diane F. Baker (dfbaker@lanl.gov, 505-665-3776) has worked in the Geophysics Group since 1986. She works as the operations manager of Seismoacoustics Research Center (SARC) at LANL. Ms. Baker works with the local Seismoacoustic Network and helps install and maintain temporary stations as the needs arise.

Ms. Fransiska K. Dannemann (fransiska@lanl.gov, 505-667-0272) completed her M.S. in Geophysics at Southern Methodist University and joined LANL as a post-Master’s Research Assistant in 2016. In January 2017, Ms. Dannemann converted to a Graduate Research Assistant to begin work on her Ph.D in geophysics with Dr. Brian Stump at Southern Methodist University. Her research supports seismoacoustic software developments in array processing, signal detection and event location.

Ms. Christine Gammans (cgammans@lanl.gov, 505-665-8045) joined LANL as a research technologist in 2016. Previously, Christine spent three years at Chevron, first as a technical geophysicist doing earth modeling, velocity modeling, and synthetic seismic generation, and, second, as an asset development geologist in the Gulf of Mexico shelf region. Christine completed her Master’s degree in 2013 at the University of Utah under Keith Koper and Kris Pankow, performing characterization and analysis of an intraplate earthquake sequence.

Mr. Jeremy Webster (jwebster@lanl.gov, 505-665-8849) joined LANL in 2016. He completed his M.S. in Physics at the University of Mississippi and worked as a Research and Development Engineer at the National Center for Physical Acoustics for 15 years. There, he worked in a variety of acoustic research areas including thermoacoustics, shallow seismic, and wind noise analysis. Mr. Webster brings knowledge of a wide range of acoustic measurements, instrumentation, and signal processing skills to LANL.

Retired/Guest Scientists

Dr. Hans Hartse (hartse@lanl.gov) has been a research seismologist at Los Alamos National Laboratory since 1992. His areas of expertise include seismic event discrimination at regional and local distances, analyses of mining-related seismicity, seismic coda studies, seismic event location methods, and seismic database construction and exploitation.

Dr. Howard J. Patton (patton@lanl.gov) has worked in the area in nuclear explosion monitoring since receiving his doctorate in 1978. His expertise is in the area of regional phase excitation and propagation, with special interest in seismic characterization of sources including yield estimation from regional magnitudes and the physical basis of shear-wave generation by underground explosions. Patton served as special editor for an American Geophysical Union (AGU) Monograph on Explosion Source Phenomenology and on a PAGEOPH volume entitled Monitoring a Comprehensive-Test-Ban Treaty: Regional Wave Propagation and Crustal Structure.

Dr. George E. Randall (grandall@lanl.gov) joined the ground-based nuclear explosion monitoring team at Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1996. One of his areas of expertise is source modeling where he has developed a number of synthetic seismogram codes supporting inversions of earthquake and explosion datasets for source parameters. These codes also support techniques for computing sensitivity kernels to earth model parameters needed for inverting seismic data for velocity and Q structures, and have been adapted for very large inversion problems requiring parallel processing on high performance computers.

Dr. Xiaoning (David) Yang (xyang@lanl.gov) conducts research in explosion-source moment-tensor inversion, synthetic seismogram modeling, Lg and Pn geometric-spreading analysis, extracting attenuation from seismic noise, and regional-phase and surface-wave attenuation model tomography. Dr. Yang obtained his Ph.D. under Prof. Brian Stump of SMU charactering mining explosions and collapses. He joined the LANL GNEM Team in 1997.

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