Portrait of Brian Atwater

Brian Atwater

Affiliate Professor

Earth & Space Sciences

Brian Atwater is a U.S. Geological Survey scientist based for the past three decades at the University of Washington. He began his research career with studies of sea-level changes and tidal-marsh vegetation at San Francisco Bay, and with studies of crystalline rocks and glacial-lake deposits near Grand Coulee Dam. Since moving to Seattle he has focused on earthquake and tsunami hazards. His findings hastened consensus that the Pacific Northwest is subject to earthquakes as large as magnitude 9. His comparative studies on other shores clarified earthquake and tsunami history in Japan, Chile, the northeast Indian Ocean, and the Caribbean. His collaborative publications include a monograph on Japanese clues to the 1700 Cascadia tsunami, public-safety booklets on tsunami survival in Chile and Indonesia, and an anthology of testimony from tsunami eyewitnesses in Oman, Iran, Pakistan, and India. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a fellow of the American Geophysical Union, and a Franklin medalist.