Tom Jordan

University Professor, William M. Keck Foundation Chair in Geological Sciences and Professor of Earth Sciences
Tom Jordan
Email tjordan@usc.edu Office ZHS 267 & 169b Office Phone (213) 821-1237

Research & Practice Areas

Seismology, earthquake dynamics, seismic hazard analysis, mantle dynamics, Geophysics

Center, Institute & Lab Affiliations

  • Southern California Earthquake Center,

Biography

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 dynamics, full-3D waveform tomography, and seismology. He is an author of approximately 260 scientific publications, including two popular textbooks (with J. Grotzinger) Understanding Earth, 7th ed. and The Essential Earth, 2nd ed.

As the director of the Southern California Earthquake Center from 2002 to 2017, Jordan coordinated an international research program in earthquake system science that involved over 1000 scientists at more than 70 universities and research organizations. In 2006, he established the international Collaboratory for the Study of Earthquake Predictability and, since 2006, has been the lead SCEC investigator on projects to create and improve a time-dependent Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast. He is a member of the California Earthquake Prediction Evaluation Council.

He has served as a member of the Council of the National Academy of Sciences (2006-2009) and the Governing Board of the National Research Council (2008-2011). He chaired the NRC 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 (1972-1975) and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (1975-1984) 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. In 2000, he moved from MIT to USC, and in 2004, he was appointed as a USC University Professor.

He has been awarded the Macelwane and Lehmann Medals of the American Geophysical Union, the President’s Medal and Woollard Award 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 a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Geophysical Unionand has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society.

Education

  • Ph.D. , California Institute of Technology, 8/1972
  • M.S. , California Institute of Technology, 6/1970
  • B.S. , California Institute of Technology, 6/1969
  • Tenure Track Appointments

    • University Professor, University of Southern California, 01/01/2004 –
    • Director, Southern California Earthquake Center, 02/01/2002 – 09/12/2017
    • W.M. Keck Foundation Professor of Geological Sciences, University of Southern California, 09/01/2000 –
    • Head, Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences Department, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1988 – 1998
    • Robert R. Shrock Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1984 – 2000
    • Professor, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, 1982 – 1984
    • Associate Professor, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, 1977 – 1982
    • Assistant Professor, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, 1975 – 1977
    • Assistant Professor, Princeton University, 1972 – 1975
  • Summary Statement of Research Interests

    Thomas Jordan is a geophysicist who studies earthquakes, earth structure, and geodynamics. Areas of interest include continental formation and evolution, mantle dynamics, and the science of hazard prediction.

  • Book

    • Grotzinger, J., Jordan, T. H. (2020). Understanding Earth. New York, NY: Macmillan Learning.
    • Grotzinger, J., Jordan, T. H. (2014). Understanding Earth. New York: W. H. Freeman.
    • Jordan, T. H., Grotzinger, J. (2012). The Essential Earth, 2nd Ed. W. H. Freeman.
    • Hamilton, R. M., Andrews, R. A., Bauer, R. A., Bullock, J. A., Chang, S. E., Holmes, W. T., Johnson, L. A., Jordan, T. H., Kreps, G. A., Nishenko, S. P., Rose, A. Z., Tobin, L. T., Whittaker, A. A. (2011). National Earthquake Resilience: Research, Implementation, and Outreach. Washington, DC: National Research Council, National Academies Press.
    • Grotzinger, J., Jordan, T. H. (2010). Understanding Earth, 6th Ed. New York: W. H. Freeman.
    • Grotzinger, J., Jordan, T. H., Press, F., Siever, R. (2005). Understanding Earth, 5th Ed. New York: W.H. Freeman.
    • Jordan (et al.), T. H. (2003). Living on an Active Earth: Perspectives on Earthquake Science. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.
    • Press, F., Siever, R., Grotzinger, J., Jordan, T. H. (2003). Understanding Earth, 4th Ed. New York: W.H. Freeman.
    • Jordan (chair), T. H. (2000). Basic Research Opportunities in Earth Science. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press.

    Book Chapter

    • Bose, M., Allen, R., Brown, H., Gua, G., Fisher, M., Hauksson, E., Heaten, T., Hellweg, M., Liukis, M., Neuhauser, D., Maechling, P., Solanki, K., Vinci, M., Henson, I., Khainovski, O., Kuyuk, S., Carpio, M., Meier, M. A., Jordan, T. H. (2014). CISN ShakeAlert: An earthquake early warning demonstration system for California, Early Warning for Geological Disasters, ed. Advanced Technologies in Earth Sciences pp. 49-69. Springer-Verlag. doi:10.1007/978-3-642-12233-0_3
    • Cui, Y., Olsen, K., Chourasia, A., Moore, R., Maechling, P., Jordan, T. H. (2008). The TeraShake Computational Platform for Large-Scale Earthquake Simulations, Advances in Geocomputing. (Vol. 119) pp. 229-278. Lecture Notes in Earth Sciences.
    • Jordan, T. H. (2007). Enabling very-large scale earthquake simulations on parallel machines, advancing science and society through computation. Part 1 (Vol. Series 4487) pp. 46-53. Lecture Notes in Computer Science.
    • Maechling, P., Deelman, E., Zhao, L., Graves, R., Mehta, G., Gupta, N., Mehringer, J., Kesselman, C., Callaghan, S., Okaya, D., Francoeur, H., Gupta, V., Cui, Y., Vahi, K., Jordan, T. H., Field, E. (2006). SCEC CyberShake Workflows Automating Probabilistic Seismic Hazard Analysis and Calculations. pp. 96-120. Workflows for e-Science: Scientific Workflows for Grids.
    • McGuire, J. J., Jordan, T. H., Lin, J. (2002). Complexities of Transform Boundaries in the Oceans. pp. 219-242. American Geophysical Union: Plate Boundary Zones.
    • Minster, J. B., Jordan, T. H., Hager, B. H., Agnew, D. C., Royden, L. H. (1990). Implications of precise positioning. pp. 23-52. National Academies Press, Washington, DC: Geodesy in the Year 2000.
    • Jordan, T. H., Lerner-Lam, A. L., Kreager, K. C. (1989). Seismic imaging of boundary layers and deep mantle convection. pp. 97-201. Gordon and Breach, New York: Mantle Convection.
    • Agnew, D. C., Burke, K., Cazenave, A., Dixon, T., Hager, B. H., Heirtzler, J. R., Jordan, T. H., Minster, J. B., McNutt, M. K., Royden, L. H., Sandwell, D. T., Turcotte, D. L. (1989). Long-term dynamics of the solid Earth. pp. 43-102. Springer-Verlag: The Interdisciplinary role of Space Geodesy, Lecture Notes in Earth Sciences.
    • Orcutt, J. A., Jordan, T. H. (1985). MSS and OBS data from the Ngendei experiment in the southwest Pacific. pp. 758-770. DARPA: The VELA Program.
    • Minster, J. B., Jordan, T. H. (1984). Vector constraints on Quarternary deformation of the western United States east and west of the San Andreas Fault. pp. 1-16. Pacific Sect., Soc. Econ. Paleontologists and Mineralogists: Tectonics and Sedimentation Along the California Margin.
    • Minster, J. B., Jordan, T. H. (1980). Present-day plate motions: A summary. pp. 109-124. Editions du Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris: Source Mechanism and Earthquake Prediction.
    • Jordan, T. H. (1979). Mineralogies, densities and seismic velocities of garnet lherzolites and their geophysical implications. pp. 1-14. American Geophysical Union, Washington, DC: The Mantle Sample: Inclusions in Kimberlites and Other Volcanics.
    • Jordan, T. H., Minster, J. B. (1972). Application of a stochastic inverse to the geophysical inverse problem. (Vol. 150) pp. 36-47. NASA Tech. Memorandum, NASA TM X-62: The Mathematics of Profile Inversion.
    • Anderson, D. L., Sammis, C., Jordan, T. H. (1972). Composition of the mantle and core. pp. 41-66. The Nature of the Solid Earth.

    Book Review

    • Jordan, T. H. (1976). Secrets of the Earth’s core. Nature. pp. 95.

    Journal Article

    • Marzocchi, W., Jordan, T. H. (2017). A unified probabilistic framework for seismic hazard analysis. Bulletin Seismological Society of America. Vol. 107, pp. 1-7.
    • Field, E. H., Jordan, T. H., Page, M. T., Milner, K. R., Shaw, B. E., Dawson, T. E., Biasi, G. P., Parsons, T., Hardebeck, J. L., Michael, A. J., Weldon, R. J., Powers, P. M., Johnson, K. M., Zeng, Y., Bird, P., Felzer, K. R., van der Elst, N., Madden, C., Arrowsmith, R., Werner, M. J., Thatcher, W. R. (2017). A Synoptic View of the Third Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast (UCERF3). Seismological Research Letters. Vol. 88, pp. 1259-1267.
    • Small, P., Gill, D., Maechling, P. J., Taborda, R., Callaghan, S., Jordan, T. H., Olsen, K. B., Ely, G. P., Goulet, C. (2017). The SCEC Unified Community Velocity Model software framework. Seismological Research Letters. Vol. 88, pp. 1539-1552.
    • Field, E. H., Milner, K. R., Hardebeck, J. L., Page, M. T., van der Elst, N., Jordan, T. H., Michael, A. J., Shaw, B. E., Werner, M. J. (2017). A spatiotemporal clustering model for the Third Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast (UCERF3-ETAS) – Toward an operational earthquake forecast. Bulletin Seismological Society of America. Vol. 107, pp. 1049-1081.
    • Song, X., Jordan, T. H. (2017). Stochastic representations of seismic anisotropy: Transversely isotropic effective media models. Geophysical Journal International. Vol. 209, pp. 1831-1850.
    • Field, E. H., Jordan, T. H., Jones, L. M., Michael, A. J., Blanpied, M. L., Workshop Participants, O. (2016). The potential uses of operational earthquake forecasting. Seismological Research Letters. Vol. 87, pp. 313-322.
    • Cui, Y., Chorasia, A., Moore, R., Olsen, K., Jordan, T. H., Maechling, P. (2009). The TeraShake computational platform, advances in geocomputing. Lecture Notes in Earth Sciences. Vol. 119, pp. 229-278.
    • Zhao, L., Chen, P., Jordan, T. H. Strain Green’s tensors, reciprocity, and their applications to seismic source and structure studies. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.. Vol. 96. 5 2006:1753-1765
    • Jordan, T. H. (1989). Chemical boundary layers of the mantle and core. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series A-Mathematical Physical and Engineering Sciences. Vol. 328 (1599), pp. 441-442.
    • Anderson, D. L., Sammis, C., Jordan, T. H. (1971). Composition and evolution of the mantle and core. Science. Vol. 171, pp. 1103-1112.

    Research Report

    • Jordan, T. H. (2010). Operational Earthquake Forecasting: State of Knowledge and Guidelines for Implementation, Final Report of the International Commission on Earthquake Forecasting for Civil Protection. Special Publication of Dipartimento della Protezione Civile.
    • Jordan, T. H. (2009). Operational Earthquake Forecasting: State of Knowledge and Guidelines for Implementation. Report of the International Commission on Earthquake Forecasting for Civil Protection.
    • Field, E., Jones, L., Jordan, T. H., Benthien, M., Wald, L. (2001). Earthquake shaking-finding the hotspots. U. S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 001-01.
    • Jordan, T. H. (1977). Seismicity and deep structure of the continental margin. Geodynamics Project: U.S. Progress Report – 1977 / National Academy of Sciences.
    • Jordan, T. H. (1976). Lithospheric and asthenospheric structure. Geodynamics Project: U.S. Progress Report – 1977 / National Academy of Sciences.
    • Hanks, T. C., Jordan, T. H., Minster, B. (1971). Precise locations of aftershocks of the San Francisco Earthquake 2300 (GMT) Feb 10 – 1700 Feb 11, 1971. U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 733.
    • Kamb, B., Silver, L. T., Abrams, M. J., Carter, B. A., Jordan, T. H., Minster, B. (1971). Pattern of faulting and nature of fault movement in the San Fernando Earthquake. U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 733.

    Proceedings

    • Crouse, C. B., Jordan, T. H. (2016). Development of new ground-motion maps for Los Angeles based on 3-D numerical simulations and NGA West2 equations. Irvine, CA. Proceedings of the SMIP17 Seminar on Utilization of Strong Motion Data.
    • Cui, Y., Olsen, K. B., Jordan, T. H., Lee, K., Zhou, J., Small, P., Roten, D., Ely, G., Panda, D. K., Chourasia, A., Levesque, J., Day, S. M., Maechling, P. (2010). Scalable Earthquake Simulation on Petascale Supercomputers. Proceedings of the Conference on High Performance Computing Networking, Storage and Analysis.
    • Cui, Y., Olsen, K. B., Jordan, T. H., Lee, K., Zhou, J., Small, P., Roten, D., Ely, G., Panda, D. K., Chourasia, A., Levesque, J., Day, S. M., Maechling, P. (2010). Scalable Earthquake Simulation on Petascale Supercomputers. Proc. Conf. High Performance Computing Networking, Storage and Analysis.
    • Jordan, T. H. (2008). Opportunities for international collaboration in earthquake system science. In G. Schweitzer, Y. Sobouti (Ed.), pp. 101-128. Science as a Gateway to Understanding: International Workshop Proceedings of the National Research Council.
    • Graves, R., Callaghan, S., Deelman, E., Field, E., Gupta, N., Jordan, T. H., Juve, G., Kesselman, C., Maechling, P., Mehta, G., Meyers, D., Okaya, D., Vahi, K. (2008). Physics-based probabalistic seismic hazard calculations for Southern California. Beijing. Proceedings of the 14th World Conference on Earthquake Engineering.
    • Deelman, E., Callaghan, S., Field, E., Francoeur, H., Graves, R., Gupta, N., Gupta, V., Jordan, T. H., Kesselman, C., Maechling, P., Mehringer, J., Mehta, G., Okaya, D., Vahi, K., Zhao, L. (2006). Managing Large-Scale Workflow Execution from Resource Provisioning to Provenance tracking: The Cyber-Shake Example. Proceedings of the 2nd IEEE International Conference on e-Science and Grid Computing.
    • Jordan, T. H., Gaherty, J. B., van Genabeek, O. (1996). Regional upper-mantle strucures and their interpretation in terms of small-scale, anistropic heterogeneities. pp. 361-370. Phillips Laboratory, Massachusetts. Proceedings of the 18th Annual Seismic Research Symposium, PL-TR-96-2153.
    • Jordan, T. H., Gaherty, J. B. (1995). Stochastic modeling of small-scale, anistropic structures in the continental upper mantle. pp. 433-451. Phillips Laboratory, Massachusetts. Proceedings of the 17th Annual Seismic Research Symposium, PL-TR-95-2108.
    • Jordan, T. H., Gaherty, J. B. (1994). Polarization anistropy and small-scale structure of the continental upper mantle. Phillips Laboratory, Massachusetts. Proceedings of the 16th Annual Seismic Research Symposium, PL-TR-94-2217.
    • Jordan, T. H. (1989). Some speculations on continental evolution. In S.R. Hart and L. Gulen (Ed.), pp. 259-276. Crust/Mantle Recycling at Convergent Zones, Proceedings of NATO ARW.
    • Jordan, T. H., Minster, J. B. (1988). Beyond Plate Tectonics: Looking at plate deformation with space geodesy. In M.J. Reid and J.M. Moran (Ed.), Dortrecht. The Impact of VLBI on Astrophysics and Geophysics, Proceeedings of the IAU Symposium 129.
    • Jordan, T. H. (1980). Earth structure from seismological observations. In A.M. Dziewonski and E. Boschi (Ed.), pp. 1-40. Soc. Italiana de Fisica, Bologna. Physics of the Earth’s Interior: Proceedings of the International School of Physics “Enrico Fermi,” Course LXXVII.
    • President’s Medal, Geological Society of America, 2014
    • Fellow, 2012
    • American Geosciences Institute Award for Outstanding Contribution to Public Understanding of the Geosciences, 2012
    • USC Associates Award For Creativity In Research And Scholarship, 2011
    • Inge Lehman Medal of the American Geophysical Union, 2005
    • USC University Professor, 2004
    • Member, 2002
    • National Associate Award, National Academy of Sciences, 2001
    • William M. Keck Foundation Chair in Geological Sciences, 2000
    • Member, 1998
    • George P. Woollard Award of the Geological Society of America, 1998
    • Member, 1995
    • American Geophysical Union, 1983
    • James B. Macelwane Award of the American Geophysical Union, 1983
    • Robert R. Shrock Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences, 1984-2000
    • Alfred P. Sloan Fellow (Physics), 1980-1982
  • Professional Offices

    • Past President, Seismological Society of America”, 2013-2015
    • President, Seismological Society of America”, 2012-2014