John Bradford
Center for Geophysical Investigation of the Shallow Subsurface
Department of Geosciences
Boise State University
1910 University Drive
Boise, Idaho  83725
voice: 208-426-3898
fax:    208-426-3888

Curriculum Vitae

Class Resources

Geophysics 300: Lecture slides

Files for Data Analysis and Geostatics


The study of shallow earth systems relies on a broad group of sub-disciplines spanning a  range of earth sciences and engineering.  Objectives of geophysical characterization of shallow earth systems vary by application. The common goal is measuring the spatial distribution of solids and/or fluids in the subsurface.  My primary research interest is centered around quantitative analysis of wave propagation based geophysical data, particularly seismic reflection and ground-penetrating radar (GPR).  This includes developing an understanding of what physical properties it is possible to quantify, developing data analysis tools to make those measurements, and integrating physical property estimates in the solution of more general earth science problems.  I work on applying these quantitative methodologies to a broad range of problems including detecting contaminants in shallow groundwater systems, glacier hydrology, snow characterization, sea ice imaging, permafrost dynamics, surface water hydrology, basin stratigraphy, and shallow hydrothermal systems.  My research combines a rigorous computational approach with a comprehensive field study program.  Combining this basic framework with the interdisciplinary nature of my work provides graduate students with a variety of opportunities.  Additionally, I encourage and involve undergraduate students in many of my research projects.


Student Opportunity

I am currently looking for students to work on integration, modeling, imaging, and inversion of 3D seismic reflection, ground-penetrating radar, and electrical resistivity data at our field laboratory, the Boise Hydrogeophysical Research Site.  Objectives include developing new methods to remotely measure hydrologic parameters such as porosity and permeabilty.  Within this context, we are working to advance modeling, imaging, and data analysis methods for shallow geophysical investigations more generally.  Student projects include a strong theoretical component with the opportunity to participate in and conduct field research.

Additional opportunities may be found in the projects listed below.  

Current Projects

Cryosphere Geophysics Research Group

Hydrogeophysical data integration, imaging, and inversion


Joel Brown, PhD candidate, "Using georadar to non-destructively map the in-situ hydrologic properties of snow, firn, and glacial ice"
Emily Hinz, PhD candidate, "Defining fundamental aquifer properties and contaminant detection through geophysical imaging"
Shannon Murray, PhD aspirant, "MEGA broadband electrogmagnetic inversion and material property characterization"
Emily Park, MS candidate, "Delineating subsurface controls on water flow in permafrost terrain using GPR"

Josh Nichols, MS 2010, "Characterization of englacal voids using radar velocity anisotropy"
Troy Brosten, PhD 2008, "Ground-penetrating radar and thermal modeling methodologies for active layer thaw estimates beneath arctic streams"
Scott Hess, MS, 2005, "Characterization of an active fault zone using the three-dimensional reflection seismic method"
Jake Deeds, MS (University of Wyoming), 2002, "Amplitude variation with offset (AVO) analysis of ground penetrating radar data for detection of organic contaminants"


Complete list of publications

Recent Publications (published or in press)

Harper, J.T., Bradford, J.H., and Humphrey, N.F., in press, Vertical extension of the subglacial drainage system into basal crevasses: Nature.

Haney, M.M., Decker, K.T., Bradford, J.H., in press, Group velocity and permittivity structure derived from guided GPR pulses: in Miller, R.D, Bradford, J.H., Holliger, K., eds., Advances in Near Surface Seismology and Ground-Penetrating Radar, Society of Exploration Geophysicists, Tulsa, OK.

Bradford, J.H., in press, Integrated hydrostratigraphic interpretation of 3D seismic reflection and pseudo 3D ground-penetrating radar data: in Miller, R.D, Bradford, J.H., Holliger, K., eds., Advances in Near Surface Seismology and Ground-Penetrating Radar, Society of Exploration Geophysicists, Tulsa, OK.

Hinz, E.A, and J.H. Bradford, in press, Ground-penetrating radar reflection attenuation tomography with an adapative mesh: Geophysics.

Bradford, J.H., Dickins, D.F., and Brandvik, P.J., 2010, Assessing the potential to detect oil spills in and under snow using airborne ground-penetrating radar:  Geophysics, 75, G1-G12, doi:10.1190/1.3312184.

Hess, S., Fairley, J.P., Bradford, J.H., Lyle, M., Clement, W., 2009, Evidence for composite hydraulic architecture in an active fault system based on 3D seismic reflection, time-domain electromagnetics, and temperature data: Near Surface Geophysics, 7, 341-352.

Martin, A.J., Wyld, S.J., Wright, J.E., Bradford, J.H., 2009, The Lower Cretaceous King Lear Formation, northwest Nevada: Implications for Mesozoic orogenesis in the western U.S. Cordillera: Geological Society of America Bulletin, doi:10.1130/B26555.1.

Bradford, J.H., Harper, J.T., and Brown, J., 2009, Complex dielectric permittivity measurements from ground-penetrating radar data to measure liquid water content in snow in the pendular regime: Water Resources Research, 45, W08403, doi:10.1029/2008WR007341.

Brown, J.M., Harper, J.T., Bradford, J.H., 2009, A radar transparent layer in a temperate valley glacier: Bench Glacier, Alaska: Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 34, 1497-1506.

Brosten, T.R., Bradford, J.H., McNamara, J.P., Gooseff, M.N., Zarnetske, J.P., Bowden, W.B., and Greenwald-Johnston, M.E.,2009, Estimating 3D variation in active-layer thickness beneath arctic streams using ground-penetrating radar: Journal of Hydrology, 373, 479-486.

Brosten, T.R., Bradford, J.H., McNamara, J.P., Gooseff, M.N., Zarnetske, J.P., Bowden, B.W., Johnston, M.E., 2009, Multi-offset GPR methods for hyporheic zone investigations: Near Surface Geophysics, 7, 244-257.

Bradford, J.H., Nichols, J., Mikesell, D., Harper, J., 2009, Continuous multi-fold acquisition and analysis of ground-penetrating radar data for improved characterization of glacier structure and water content:  Annals of Glaciology, 50, 1-9.

Brown, J., Nichols, J., Steinbronn, L., and Bradford J., 2009, Improved GPR interpretation through resolution of lateral velocity heterogeneity:  Example from an archaeological site investigation: Journal of Applied Geophysics, 68, 3-8, doi:10.1016/j.jappgeo.2008.08.014.

Bradford, J.H., Clement, W., and Barrash, W., 2009, Estimating porosity with ground-penetrating radar reflection tomography: A controlled 3D experiment at the Boise Hydrogeophysical Research Site: Water Resources Research,  45, WOOD26, doi:10.1029/2008WR006960.

What else is there?

My contributions to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons

This counts as work, right?

Worthy causes

Lance Armstrong Foundation

Susan G. Komen Foundation

Make-a-Wish Foundation