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Robert Witter

Title: Research Geologist
Address: 4210 University Dr., Anchorage, AK 99508-4626
Phone: (907) 786-7404
Fax: (907) 786-7401
Email: rwitter@usgs.gov

Curriculum Vitae

Image of Robert  Witter

Education and/or Training

Ph.D.1999University of Oregon, Eugene, OregonGeological Sciences
B.A.1991Whitman College, Walla Walla, WashingtonBiology

Areas of Specialization and/or Research Interests

Megathrust paleoseismology: understanding the Holocene history of great (M >8) earthquakes at the Alaska-Aleutian and Cascadia subduction zones.

Active faulting in the Pacific Northwest: characterizing the recurrence interval, slip rate and style of deformation for shallow crustal faults in Alaska, Washington, Oregon and northern California.

Paleogeodesy: reconstructing tectonic displacements for megathrust earthquakes over multiple seismic cycles using relative sea-level indicators.

Tsunami geology: examining the sedimentary characteristics of tsunami deposits to estimate the recurrence interval and size of past tsunamis.

Geologic hazards education: improving the transfer of scientific knowledge to the public for the purpose of risk reduction.

Professional Experience

2011 - PresentResearch Geologist, USGS, Alaska Science Center, Anchorage, Alaska
2006 - 2011Regional Coastal Geologist, Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, Newport, Oregon
1999 - 2006Senior Project Geologist, William Lettis & Associates, Inc., Walnut Creek, California
1994 - 1999Research Fellow / Graduate Teaching Fellow, University of Oregon, Dept of Geological Sciences, Eugene, Oregon

Professional Activities and/or Memberships

Professional Geologist, California, P.G. #7565
Member, American Geophysical Union
Member, Geological Society of America
Member, Seismological Society of America

Honors and/or Awards

January 2013, Western States Seismic Policy Council Award in Excellence for Use of New Technology, DOGAMI Special Paper 43, Simulating tsunami inundation at Bandon, Coos County, Oregon, scenarios, by R. C. Witter, Y. Zhang, K. Wang, G. R. Priest, C. Goldfinger, L. L. Stimely, J. T. English, and P. A. Ferro
September 1992, Thomas Condon Fellowship, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR
1986 to 1990, Paul Garrett Scholarship, Whitman College, Walla Walla, WA
August 1986, Honors at entrance, Whitman College, Walla Walla, WA

Publications

Total pubs: 35

Priest, G. R., Y. Zhang, R. C. Witter, K. Wang, C. Goldfinger, and L. Stimely. 2014. Tsunami impact to Washington and northern Oregon from segment ruptures on the southern Cascadia subduction zone. Natural Hazards. doi:10.1007/s11069-014-1041-7 [Details] [Full Publication]

Witter, R. C. 2014. Pre-fieldwork surveys. Chapter 3.1 in Shennan, I., Long, A.J., and Horton, B.P. (eds), Handbook of Sea-Level Research. Wiley [Details]

Witter, R. C., R. W. Briggs, S. E. Engelhart, G. Gelfenbaum, R. D. Koehler, and W. D. Barnhart. 2014. Little late Holocene strain accumulation and release on the Aleutian megathrust below the Shumagin Islands, Alaska. Geophysical Research Letters 41(7):2359-2367. doi:10.1002/2014GL059393 [Details] [Full Publication]

Witter, R. C., Y. J. Zhang, K. Wang, G. R. Priest, C. Goldfinger, L. Stimely, J. T. English, and P. A. Ferro. 2013. Simulated tsunami inundation for a range of Cascadia megathrust earthquake scenarios at Bandon, Oregon, USA. Geosphere 9(6):1783-1803. doi:10.1130/GES00899.1 [Details] [Full Publication]

Engelhart, S. E., B. P. Horton, A. R. Nelson, A. D. Hawkes, R. C. Witter, K. Wang, and C. H. Vane. 2013. Testing the use of microfossils to reconstruct great earthquakes at Cascadia. Geology 41(10):1067-1070. doi:10.1130/G34544.1 [Details] [Full Publication]

Wang, P-L., S. E. Engelhart, K. Wang, A. D. Hawkes, B. P. Horton, A. R. Nelson, and R. C. Witter. 2013. Heterogeneous rupture in the great Cascadia earthquake of 1700 inferred from coastal subsidence estimates. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth 118(5):2460-2473. doi:10.1002/jgrb.50101 [Details] [Full Publication]

Engelhart, S. E., B. P. Horton, C. H. Vane, A. R. Nelson, R. C. Witter, S. R. Brody, and A. D. Hawkes. 2013. Modern foraminifera, δ13C, and bulk geochemistry of central Oregon tidal marshes and their application in paleoseismology. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, and Palaeoecology 377:13-27. doi:10.1016/j.palaeo.2013.02.032 [Details] [Full Publication]

Witter, R. C., Y. J. Zhang, K. Wang, C. Goldfinger, G. R. Priest, and J. C. Allan. 2012. Coseismic slip on the southern Cascadia megathrust implied by tsunami deposits in an Oregon lake and earthquake-triggered marine turbidites. Journal of Geophysical Research. doi:10.1029/2012JB009404 [Details] [Full Publication]

Allan, J. C., P. Komar, and R. C. Witter. 2012. The March 2011 Tohoku tsunami and its impacts along the U.S. West Coast. Journal of Coastal Research 28(5):1142-1153. doi:10.2112/JCOASTRES-D-11-00115.1 [Details] [Full Publication]

Witter, R. C., B. Jaffe, Y. J. Zhang, and G. R. Priest. 2012. Reconstructing hydrodynamic flow parameters of the 1700 tsunami at Cannon Beach, Oregon, USA. Natural Hazards. doi:10.1007/s11069-011-9912-7 [Details] [Full Publication]

Kelson, K., R. C. Witter, A. Tassara, I. Ryder, C. Ledezma, G. Montalva, D. Frost, N. Sitar, R. Moss, and L. Johnson. 2012. Coseismic tectonic surface deformation during the 2012 Maule, Chile, Mw 8.8 earthquake. Earthquake Spectra 28(S1):S39-S54. doi:10.1193/1.4000042 [Details] [Full Publication]

Pilarczyk, J. E., B. P. Horton, R. C. Witter, C. H. Vane, C. Chague-Goff, and J. Goff. 2012. Sedimentary and foraminiferal evidence of the 2011 Tōhoku-oki tsunami on the Sendai coastal plain, Japan. Sedimentary Geology 282:78-89. doi:10.1016/j.sedgeo.2012.08.011 [Details] [Full Publication]

Richmond, B., W. Szczucinski, C. Chague-Goff, K. Goto, D. Sugawara, R. C. Witter, D. R. Tappin, B. Jaffe, S. Fujino, Y. Nishimura, and J. Goff. 2012. Erosion, deposition and landscape change on the Sendai coastal plain, Japan, resulting from the March 11, 2011 Tohoku-oki tsunami. Sedimentary Geology 282:27-39. doi:10.1016/j.sedgeo.2012.08.005 [Details] [Full Publication]

Zhang, Y. J., R. C. Witter, and G. R. Priest. 2011. Tsunami-tide interaction in 1964 Prince William Sound tsunami. Ocean Modeling 40:246-259. [Details]

Goto, K., C. Chague-Goff, S. Fujino, J. Goff, B. Jaffe, Y. Nishimura, B. Richmond, D. Suguwara, W. Szczucinski, D. R. Tappin, R. C. Witter, and E. Yulianto. 2011. New insights of tsunami hazard from the 2011 Tohoku-oki event. Marine Geology 290:46-50. [Details]

Horton, B. P., Y. Sawai, A. D. Hawkes, and R. C. Witter. 2011. Sedimentology and paleontology of a tsunami deposit accompanying the great Chilean earthquake of February 2010. Marine Micropaleontology 79(3-4):132-138. [Details]

Priest, G. R., C. Goldfinger, K. Wang, R. C. Witter, Y. J. Zhang, and A. M. Baptista. 2009. Confidence levels for tsunami-inundation limits in northern Oregon inferred from a 10,000-year history of great earthquakes at the Cascadia subduction zone. Natural Hazards. doi:10.1007/s11069-009-9453-5 [Details] [Full Publication]

Carver, G., J. Sauber, W. R. Lettis, R. C. Witter, and B. Whitney. 2008. Active faults on northeastern Kodiak Island. Geophysical Monograph Series 179:167-184. [Details]

Witter, R. C., R. W. Givler, and R. J. Carson. 2008. Two post-glacial earthquakes on the Saddle Mountain West fault, southeastern Olympic Peninsula, Washington. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America 98(6):2894-2917. [Details]

Baldwin, J. N., R. C. Witter, J. D. Vaughn, J. B. Harris, J. L. Sexton, M. Lake, S. L. Forman, and A. D. Barron. 2006. Geological characterization of the Idalia Hill fault zone and its structural association with the Commerce geophysical lineament, Idalia, Missouri. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America 96(6):2281-2303. [Details]

Nelson, A. R., H. M. Kelsey, and R. C. Witter. 2006. Great earthquakes of variable magnitude at the Cascadia subduction zone. Quaternary Research 65:354-365. [Details]

Witter, R. C., K. L. Knudsen, J. M. Sowers, C. M. Wentworth, R. Koehler, III, C. E. Randolph, S. K. Brooks, and K. D. Gans. 2006. Maps of Quaternary deposits and liquefaction susceptibility in the central San Francisco Bay region, California. USGS Open-File Report 2006-1037. [Details] [Full Publication]

Kelsey, H. M., A. R. Nelson, E. Hemphill-Haley, and R. C. Witter. 2005. Tsunami history of an Oregon coastal lake reveals a 4,600 yr record of great earthquakes on the Cascadia subduction zone. Geological Society of America Bulletin 117(7):1009-1032. [Details]

Johnson, S. Y., A. R. Nelson, S. F. Personius, R. E. Wells, H. M. Kelsey, B. L. Sherrod, K. Okumura, R. Koehler, III, R. C. Witter, L. Bradley, and D. J. Harding. 2004. Evidence for Late Holocene Earthquakes on the Utsalady Point Fault, Northern Puget Lowland, Washington. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America 94(6):2299-2316. [Details]

Witter, R. C., H. M. Kelsey, and E. Hemphill-Haley. 2003. Great Cascadia earthquakes and tsunamis of the past 6,700 years, Coquille River estuary, southern coastal Oregon. Geological Society of America Bulletin 115(10):1289-1306. [Details]

Johnson, S. Y., A. R. Nelson, S. F. Personius, R. E. Wells, H. M. Kelsey, B. L. Sherrod, K. Okumura, R. Koehler, III, R. C. Witter, L. Bradley, and D. J. Harding. 2003. Maps and data from a trench investigation of the Utsalady Point fault, Whidbey Island, Washington. USGS Miscellaneous Field Studies Map 2420, 1 plate. [Details]

Kelsey, H. M., R. C. Witter, and E. Hemphill-Haley. 2002. Plate-boundary earthquakes and tsunamis of the past 5,500 years, Sixes River estuary, southern Oregon. Geological Society of America Bulletin 114(3):298-314. [Details]

Knudsen, K. L., R. C. Witter, C. E. Garrison-Laney, J. N. Baldwin, and G. A. Carver. 2002. Past earthquake-induced rapid subsidence along the northern San Andreas Fault--A new paleoseismological method for investigating strike-slip faults. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America 92(7):2612-2636. [Details]

Lettis, W. R., J. Bachhuber, R. C. Witter, C. Brankman, C. E. Randolph, A. Barka, W. D. Page, and A. Kaya. 2002. Influence of releasing step-overs on surface fault rupture and fault segmentation--Examples from the 17 August 1999 Izmit earthquake on the north Anatolian fault, Turkey. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America 92(1):19-42. [Details]

Witter, R. C., H. M. Kelsey, and E. Hemphill-Haley. 2001. Pacific storms, El Niño and tsunami--Competing mechanisms for sand deposition in a coastal marsh, Euchre Creek, Oregon. Journal of Coastal Research 17(3):563-583. [Details]

Lettis, W. R., J. Bachhuber, A. Barka, C. Brankman, P. Somerville, and R. C. Witter. 2000. Seismicity, Fault Rupture, and Tsunami - Geology and Seismicity, in Youd, L.T., Bardet, J.-P., and Bray, J.D., 1999 Kocaeli, Turkey, earthquake reconnaissance report. Earthquake Spectra Supplement A 16:1-19. [Details]

Witter, R. C., W. R. Lettis, J. Bachhuber, A. Barka, E. Evren, Z. Cakir, W. D. Page, J. V. Hengesh, and G. G. Seitz. 2000. Paleoseismic trenching study across the Yalova segment of the North Anatolian fault, Hersek Peninsula, Turkey, in A. Barka, O. Kazaci, S. Akyüz, and E. Altunel (eds.). The 1999 Izmit and Düzce earthquakes--Preliminary results. Istanbul Technical University:329-339. [Details]

Lettis, W. R., J. Bachhuber, R. C. Witter, A. Barka, J. Bray, W. D. Page, F. Swan, and et al. 2000. Seismicity, fault rupture, and tsunami-Surface fault rupture, in Youd, L.T., Bardet, J.-P., and Bray, J.D., 1999 Kocaeli, Turkey, earthquake reconnaissance report. Earthquake Spectra Supplement A 16:11-53. [Details]

Lettis, W. R., J. Bachhuber, A. Barka, R. C. Witter, and C. Brankman. 2000. Surface fault rupture and segmentation during the Kocaeli earthquake, in A. Barka, O. Kozaci, S. Akyüz, and E. Altunel, eds., The 1999 Izmit and Düzce earthquakes--Preliminary results. Istanbul Technical University:31-54. [Details]

Kelsey, H. M., R. C. Witter, and E. Hemphill-Haley. 1998. Response of a small Oregon estuary to coseismic subsidence and post-seismic uplift in the last 300 years. Geology 26:231-234. [Details]

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