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Lee Liberty


My publications

My research topics at CGISS include

Neotectonics and earthquake hazards
Basin-scale geophysical studies
Marine seismic imaging
New Methodologies
Humanitarian Geophysics

My tools include

Seismic reflection
Gravity and magnetics
Ground penetrating radar


Peer-Reviewed Publications (reverse chronological)

Brothers, D.S., Haeussler, P.J., Liberty, L.M., Finlayson, D., Geist, E., Labay, K., and Byerly, M. (2016). A submarine landslide source for the devastating 1964 Chenega tsunami, southern Alaska, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 438, 112-121.

Gribler, G., Liberty, L. M., Mikesell, T. D., & Michaels, P. (2016). Isolating retrograde and prograde Rayleigh-wave modes using a polarity mute. Geophysics, 81(5), V379-V385.

Finn, S.P., Liberty, L.M., Haeussler, P.J. and Pratt, T.L. (2015). Landslides and megathrust splay faults captured by the late Holocene sediment record of eastern Prince William Sound, Alaska, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 105,5.

Liberty, L.M., Schmitt, D. and Shervais, J. (2015). Seismic imaging through the volcanic rocks of the Snake River Plain: Insights from Project Hotspot, Geophysical Prospecting, 63(4),919-936, doi: 10.1111/1365-2478.12277.

Haeussler, P.J., P.A. Armstrong, L. Liberty, K. Ferguson, S. Finn, J. Arkle, T. Pratt, (2014), Focused exhumation along megathrust splay faults in Prince William Sound, Alaska, Quaternary Science Reviews, 30(1), e15,

Lamb, A. P.; van Wijk, K.; Liberty, L. M.; and Mikesell, T. D. (2014). “The Spatial Cross-Correlation Method for Dispersive Surface Waves”. Geophysical Journal International, 199(1), 1-10.

Haeussler, P., T. Parsons, D. Finlayson, P. Hart, J. Chaytor, H. Ryan, H. Lee, K. Labay, A. Peterson, and L. Liberty (2014), New Imaging of Submarine Landslides from the 1964 Earthquake Near Whittier, Alaska, and a Comparison to Failures in Other Alaskan Fjords, in Submarine Mass Movements and Their Consequences, edited by S. Krastel, J.-H. Behrmann, D. Völker, M. Stipp, C. Berndt, R. Urgeles, J. Chaytor, K. Huhn, M. Strasser and C. B. Harbitz, pp. 361-370, Springer International Publishing, doi:10.1007/978-3-319-00972-8_32.

Liberty, L.M., Finn, S.P., Haeussler, P.J. Pratt, T.L. and Peterson, A. (2013). Megathrust splay faults at the focus of the Prince William Sound asperity, Journal of Geophysical Research, 118, 1–14,

Schmitt, D. R.; Liberty, L. M.; Kessler, J. E.; Kuck, J.; Kofman, R.; Bishop, R.; Shervais, J. W.; Evans, J. P.; Champion, D. E. (2012). The ICDP Snake River Geothermal Drilling Project: Preliminary Overview of Borehole Geophysics, Geothermal Resources Council Transactions, 1017-1022.

Shervais, J.W., Schmitt, D.R., Nielson, D., Evans, J.P., Christiansen, E.J., Morgan, L., Shanks, P., Prokopenko, A., Lachmar, T., Liberty, L.M., Blackwell, D.D., Glen, J.M., Potter, K.E., Kessler, J.E. (2012), First Results from HOTSPOT: The Snake River Plain, Scientific Drilling, 15, 36-45.

Shervais, J. W., Nielson, D. L., Evans, J. P., Lachmar, T., Christiansen, E. H., Morgan, L., … & Freeman, T. G. (2012). Hotspot: The Snake River Geothermal Drilling Project—Initial report. Geothermal Resources Council Transactions, 36, 767-772.

Lamb, A. P.; Liberty, L. M., Blakely, R. J.; Pratt, T. L.; Sherrod, B. L.; and van Wijk, Kasper. (2012). Western Limits of the Seattle Fault Zone and Its Interaction with the Olympic Peninsula, Washington. Geosphere, 8(4), 915-930.

Lamb, A. P., Liberty, L. M., van Wijk, K., Revil, André, and Diggins, Chuck. (2012). Near-Surface Imaging of a Hydrogeothermal System at Mount Princeton, Colorado Using 3D Seismic, Self-Potential, and DC Resistivity Data, The Leading Edge, 31(1), 70-74.

Schmitt, D.R., Liberty, L.M., Kessler, J.E., Kuck, J., Kofman, R., Bishop, R. Shervais, J.W., Evans, J.P., and Champion, D.E. (2012), The ICDP Snake River Geothermal Drilling Project: Preliminary Overview of Borehole Geophysics Geothermal Resource Council Transactions 2012, 8 p.

Shervais, J.W., Nielson, D., Evans, J.P., Lachmar, T., Christiansen, E.J., Morgan, L., Shanks, P., Delahunty, C., Schmitt, D.R., Liberty, L.M., Blackwell, D.D., Glen, J.M., Kessler, J.E., Potter, K.E., Jean, M.M., Sant, C.J., and Freeman, T.G. (2012), Hotspot: The Snake River Geothermal Drilling Project — Initial Report, Geothermal Resource Council Transactions 2012, 9 p.

Liberty, L. M., (2011), Hammer seismic reflection imaging in an urban environment, The Leading Edge, v. 30, no. 2, p. 936-941.

Liberty, L. M., Wood, S.H., vanWijk, K., Hinz, E.A., Mikesell, D., Singharajawarapan, F., Shragge, J. (2011) The establishment of a geophysics Field camp in northern Thailand, The Leading Edge, v. 30, no. 4, p. 414-420.

Liberty, L. M., Pratt, T.L., Lyle, M.W., and Madin, I.P. (2009), Neotectonic analysis of Upper Klamath Lake, Oregon: new insights from seismic reflection data, in Late Cenozoic Structure and Evolution of the Great Basin – Sierra Nevada Transition, Oldow, J.S. and Cashman, P., eds., Geological Society of America Special Volume 447, doi: 10.1130/2009.2447(05).

Bradford, J.H., Dickins, D.F., and Liberty, L. M., (2008), Locating oil spills under sea ice using ground-penetrating radar: The Leading Edge, 27, 1424-1435.

Liberty, L.M.,and Pratt, T.L. (2008), Structure of the Eastern Seattle Fault Zone, Washington State: New Insights from Seismic Reflection Data: Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 98(4), 1681-1695, doi: 10.178/0120070145.

Nelson, A. R., Personius, S. F., Sherrod, B. L., Buck, J., Bradley, L., Henley, G., II, Liberty, L. M., Kelsey, H. M., Witter, R. C., Koehler, R. D., Schermer, E. R., Nemser, E. S., Cladouhos, T. T. (2008) Field and Laboratory Data From an Earthquake History Study of Scarps in the Hanging Wall of the Tacoma Fault, Mason and Pierce Counties, Washington, US Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map: 3060.

Sherrod, B.L., Blakely, R.J., Weaver,, C.S., Kelsey, H.M., Barnett, E., Liberty, L. M., Meagher, K.L., and Pape, K. (2008), Finding concealed active faults Extending the southern Whidbey Island fault across the Puget Lowland, Washington, Journal of Geophysical Research, 113, B05313, doi:10.1029/2007JB005060.

Bradford, J. H., Liberty, L. M., Lyle, M. W., Clement, W. P., & Hess, S. (2006). Imaging complex structure in shallow seismic-reflection data using prestack depth migration. Geophysics, 71(6), B175-B181.

Rea, D.K., Lyle, M.W., Liberty, L.M., Hovan, S.A., Bolyn, M.P., Gleason, J.D., Hendy, I.L., Latimer, J.C., Murphy, B.M., Owen, R.M., Paul, C.F., Rea, T.H.C., Stancin, A.M., and Thomas, D.J., (2006), Broad region of no sediment in the southwest Pacific Basin: Geology, v. 34, p. 873–876.

Best, H., McNamara, J.P., and Liberty, L.M., (2005), Using ground-penetrating radar to investigate rela­tionships between ice and hydraulic geometry in an Arctic river, Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research, 37 (2), 157-162.

Janik, A., Lyle, M. W., and Liberty, L. M. (2004). Seismic expression of Pleistocene paleoceanographic changes in the California Borderland from digitally acquired 3.5 kHz subbottom profiles and Ocean Drilling Program Leg 167 drilling. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth (1978–2012), 109(B7).

Liberty, L. M., Hemphill-Haley, M. A., & Madin, I. P. (2003). The Portland Hills Fault: uncovering a hidden fault in Portland, Oregon using high-resolution geophysical methods. Tectonophysics, 368(1), 89-103.

Mitchell, N., Lyle, M., Knappenberger, M., and Liberty, L. M. (2003). The Lower Miocene to Present stratigraphy of the Equatorial Pacific sediment bulge and carbonate dissolution anomalies: Paleoceanography, 18(2).

Lyle, M., Liberty, L.M., T.C. Moore Jr., and D.K. Rea, (2002). Development of a seismic stratigraphy for the Paleogene sedimentary section, central equatorial Pacific Ocean, Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, Initial Reports, 199, 1-20.

Moore, T. C.; Rea, D. K.; Lyle, M.; Liberty, L. M.,  Equatorial ocean circulation in an extremely warm climate,  Paleoceanography, V. 17, No. 1, pp. 5-1 – 5-6, 2002.

Blakely, R. J., Wells, R. E., Tolan, T. L., Beeson, M. H., Trehu, A. M., and Liberty, L. M.   (2000). New aeromagnetic data reveal large strike-slip (?) faults in the northern Willamette Valley, Oregon. Geological Society of America Bulletin, 112(8), 1225-1233.

Wong, I.G., Hemphill-Haley, M.A., Liberty, L.M., and Madin, I.P., The Portland Hills fault: An earthquake generator or just another old fault?, Oregon Geology, v. 63, no. 2, pp. 39-50, 2001.

Mix, A., N. Pisias, C. Goldfinger, M. Lyle, L.M. Liberty, A. Janik, N.-S. Party, D. Hebbeln, G. Wefer, and F. Lamy, Site Survey Data Package 4, to accompany JOIDES Drilling Proposal 465-ADD1: Southeast Pacific Paleoceanographic Depth Transects, Oregon State University, Corvallis OR, 2000.

Liberty, L. M., Trehu, A. M., Blakely, R. J., and Dougherty, M. E. (1999). Integration of high resolution seismic and aeromagnetic data for earthquake hazards evaluations: An example from the Willamette Valley, Oregon, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, v. 89, pp. 1473-1483.

Liberty, L. M. (1998). Seismic reflection imaging of a geothermal aquifer in an urban setting. Geophysics, 63(4), 1285-1294.

Liberty, L. M., Heller, P.L., and Smithson, S. B. (1994). Seismic reflection evidence for two-phase development of tertiary basins from east-central Nevada, Geological Society of America Bul­letin, v. 106, pp. 1621-1633.

Stewart, D.B., Wright, B.E., Unger, J.D., Phillips, J.D., Hutchinson, D.R., Luetgert, J.H., Bothner, W.A., Klitgord, K.D., Liberty, L.M., Spencer, C., Glocal Geoscience Transect 8, Quebec-Maine-Gulf of Maine Transect, Southeastern Canada, Northeastern U.S.A.: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 91-0353, 34 p., 1991.

Unger, J.D., Liberty, L.M., Phillips, J.D., and Wright, B.E., Creating a Three-Dimensional Transect of the Earth’s Crust from Craton to Ocean Basin. GIS: Three Dimensional Applica­tions in Geographic Information Systems. Ed. Raper, J., Chapter 10 pp. 137-148. (Taylor and Francis Ltd.) London, England, 1989.

Select Funded Projects

  • 2014-2015, Play Fairway Analysis of Snake River Plain, Idaho, U.S. Department of Energy/Utah State
  • 2013-2014, Development of land streamer technologies for estimating shear wave velocities in an urban environment, U.S. Geological Survey NEHRP program
  • 2013-2014, Near surface expression of megathrust splay faults, western Gulf of Alaska, U.S. Geological Survey NEHRP program
  • 2012-2013, Retrieval, Processing, Interpretation and Cataloging of Legacy Seismic Reflection Data, Gulf of Alaska, U.S. Geological Survey NEHRP program
  • 2011-2012, Project Gnome seismic imaging: faulting and sediment influence on groundwater flow, U.S. Department of Energy
  • 2011-2012, Near surface expression of megathrust splay faults, Prince William Sound area, Alaska, U.S. Geological Survey NEHRP program
  • 2011-2012, Geophysical Exploration Technologies: Joint Inversion of Geophysical Techniques for subsurface imaging at Neal Hot Springs, Oregon, U.S. Department of Energy, Collaborating Institute: Colorado School of Mines, K. vanWijk (co-PI).
  • 2010-2012, The Snake River Geothermal Drilling Project: Innovative approaches to geothermal exploration, U.S. Department of Energy,  Lead institute Utah State University
  • 2009-2012, Component Technologies R&D: Joint inversion of electrical and seismic data for Fracture characterization and Imaging of Fluid Flow in Geothermal Systems, U.S. Department of Energy, Lead institute: Colorado School of Mines, K. vanWijk (co-PI).
  • 2009-2011, The advancement of humanitarian geophysics in Southeast Asia: a student-based approach, SEG Foundation – Geoscientists Without Borders (First Recipient),  K. vanWijk (co-PI)
  • 2009-2011, Geophysical characterization at the North Ada and East Ada sites, Idaho Department of Water Resources
  • 2009-2010, Humanitarian geophysics: establishment of a new undergraduate sub-discipline at Boise State University, Boise State University International Program, K. vanWijk (co-PI).
  • 2009-2010, High resolution imaging of megathrust splay faults in Prince William Sound, Alaska, U.S. Geological Survey NEHRP Program
  • 2009-2010, Seismic reflection imaging of the Mount Rose fault zone, Reno, Nevada, U.S. Geological Survey NEHRP Program, Collaborating Institute: University of Nevada, Reno.
  • 2008-2009, Seismic reflection imaging of the western portions of the Seattle fault, U.S. Geological Survey NEHRP Program
  • 2007-2008, Seismic reflection imaging across the eastern portions of the Tacoma fault zone, U.S. Geological Survey NEHRP Program
  • 2007-2008, Hydrostratigraphic and structural characterization using seismic methods at the Central Nevada Test Area, U.S. Department of Energy
  • 2006-2007, Seismic characterization of the Seattle and southern Whidbey Island fault zones in the Snoqualmie River Valley, Washington, U.S. Geological Survey NEHRP program
  • 2005-2006, Vibroseis seismic profiling of the Tacoma Fault, Washington, U.S. Geological Survey NEHRP program
  • 2004-2005, Seismic profiling of the Seattle fault, Lake Sammamish Region, Washington, U.S. Geological Survey NEHRP program
  • 2004-2006, CCI Pahsimeroi Surface water/Groundwater Savings and Restoration Project, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, J. McNamara (co-PI).
  • 2004-2006, New and innovative equipment and technologies for the remote sensing and surveillance of oil under ice, Mineral Management Services, Load institute: D. Dickens and Associates, J. Bradford (co-PI).
  • 2004-2006, Collaborative Research: A Drilling Site Survey for the South Pacific Paleogene Latitudinal Transect: Paleoceanography of the Eocene sub-Antarctic Ocean, National Science Foundation,  collaborator: University of Michigan, M. Lyle (PI).
  • 2003-2004, East Bank Fault geophysical characterization investigation, Portland, Oregon: Collaborative Research with Boise State University and Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, U.S. Geological Survey NEHRP Program
  • 2003-2005, Alvord Desert Biocomplexity Project, National Science Foundation, M. Lyle (PI).
  • 2003  Long Valley seismic project, Donnelly ID, Skyline Corp
  • 2001-2003, Procurement and reprocessing of an industry marine seismic reflection profile from the Columbia River, Oregon and Washington, U.S. Geological Survey NEHRP Program
  • 2001-2002, Paleoseismic Investigation of the Portland Hills fault near Clackamas, Oregon:  Collaborative Research with Humboldt State University and Boise State University, U.S. Geological Survey NEHRP Program
  • 2001-2002, Treasure Valley Seismic Reflection project, Idaho Department of Water Resources
  • 1999-2002, A study to investigate Pleistocene millennial-scale carbonate deposition events along the California margin and their links to paleoceanography and paleoclimate, National Science Foundation, M. Lyle (PI)
  • 2000-2001, Portland Hills and East Bank Faults source characterization investigation, Portland, Oregon, U.S. Geological Survey NEHRP Program, collaborators: URS, Humboldt State
  • 1999-2002, Ice-Age and Millennial-Scale Changes of Pacific Intermediate Waters: Ventilation from the Southern Ocean? , National Science Foundation,  M. Lyle (PI).
  • 1999-2000, Upper Klamath Lake Seismic Project, Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries
  • 1998-1999, Geophysical Imaging of the Grande Ronde Basin, LaGrande, Oregon, Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries
  • 1998-2000, Pliocene Climate: Testing the possible link between global warmth and upwelling intensity along the California margin, National Science Foundation, M. Lyle (PI).
  • 1996-1999, Geophysical and Hydrological Investigation in Birch Creek Valley, Idaho, W. Barrash (PI).
  • 1996-1999, A Paleogene equatorial Pacific transect: A Collaborative study with University of Michigan, National Science Foundation,  M. Lyle (PI).
  • 1996-1997, Geological and Geophysical Framework of the Treasure Valley Aquifer System, Idaho Department of Water Resources
  • 1996, Boise Geothermal seismic project, U.S. Department of Energy, collaborator: Montgomery Watson.


American Geophysical
Union (AGU)

Engineering and Environmental Society

Geological Society of
America (GSA)

Seismological Society of America (SSA)

Society of Exploration Geophysicists

Other Items

Geoscientists Without Borders