Daniel O'Hara

Daniel O'Hara profile picture


Dan grew up in Ebensburg, a small town in west-central Pennsylvania located along the Allegheny Mountains. He received dual B.S. degrees in Geology and Computer Science at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP). At IUP, Dan became interested in neotectonic and computer modelling research, which involved a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) internship at the Virginia Insititute of Marine Science (VIMS), and an international internship at Academia Sinica (Taiwan). As a first-generation student, Dan was also a McNair Scholar at IUP, and has continued to mentor for the program.

Upon attending the University of Oregon for his PhD, Dan shifted his research focus into the field of volcanic geomorphology, studying the impact volcanic processes can have on long-term landscape evolution and analyzing the signature of intrusive magmatism on surface topography. Dan is excited about all things surface- and modelling-related, and has produced fruitful research results that led to an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship (GRF), multiple publications, and an internship with the USGS. Dan is also pationate about undergraduate teaching, and has participated in multiple workshops geared towards effective teaching strategies.


Ph.D. Earth Science – University of Oregon (UO), Department of Earth Sciences. Eugene, OR. Spring 2020 (Expected)
B.S. Geology; Computer Science – Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP), Department of Geoscience/Department of Computer Science. Indiana, PA. May 2014 (Summa Cum Laude). GPA: 4.00


  • Spring 2019: Earth Science Department, Volcanoes and Earthquakes
  • Winter 2019: Earth Science Department, Exploring Earth’s Environment
  • Fall 2018: Geography Department, Geomorphology
  • Spring 2017: Earth Science Department, Structural Geology
  • Winter 2017: Earth Science Department, Environmental Geology and Landform Development
  • Fall 2016: Earth Science Department, Introduction to Hydrogeology

Honors and Awards


  • UO Department of Earth Science Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award
  • Geological Society of America Cordilleran Section Best Student Paper Award Honorable Mention


  • UO Department of Earth Science Research Excellence Award
  • UO Graduate Research Forum First Place Poster Award


  • UO Baldwin Scholarship, Travel Award


  • Barry M. Goldwater Scholar
  • IUP Outstanding Research Award in Geoscience


  • IUP Scholarships – Creating Opportunities in Applied Mathematics (S-COAM) Scholar


  • IUP Dean’s Scholarship for Early Career in Geoscience
  • McNair Scholar




  • O’Hara, D., Karlstrom, L., and Ramsey, D. W. (submitted). Time-evolving surface and subsurface signatures of Quaternary volcanism in the Cascades. Geology.
  • Lerner, A., O’Hara, D., Karlstrom, L., Ebmeier, S.K., Hurwitz, S., Anderson, K.R. (in progress). Links between magma flux, reservoir position, and topography at arc. Nature Geoscience.
  • O’Hara, D., Karlstrom, L., and Roering, J. J. (2019). Distributed landscape response and the fragility of steady states. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 506, 243-254. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2018.11.006


  • Karlstrom, L., Richardson, P. W., O'Hara, D., and Ebmeier, S. K. (2018). Magmatic landscape construction. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface. 123 (8), 1710-1730. https://doi.org/10.1029/2017JF004369


  • Hooft, E. E., Nomikou, P., Toomey, D. R., Lampridou, D., Getz, C., Christopoulou, M. E., O’Hara, D., Arnoux, G. M., Bodmer, M., Gray, M., Heath, B. A., and VanderBeek, B. (2017). Backarc tectonism, volcanism, and mass wasting shape seafloor morphology in the Santorini-Christiana-Amorgos region of the Hellenic Volcanic Arc. Tectonophysics, 712, 396-414. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tecto.2017.06.005


  • Lewis, J. C., O'Hara, D. J., and Rau, R.-J. (2015). Seismogenic strain across the transition from fore‐arc slivering to collision in southern Taiwan. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 120(6), 4539-4555. https://doi.org/10.1002/2015JB011906


Present: Graduate Research Assistant – University of Oregon
                Collaborator: Drs. K. Fauria and L. Karlstrom
                Project: 1D numerical model development and analysis of surface evolution associated with
                     lithologic changes to understand bedrock effects on drainage divide migration.
2017 – Present: Graduate Research Assistant – University of Oregon
                Collaborator: Dr. L. Karlstrom
                Project: Numerical modeling and analysis of surface uplift associated with magmatic
                     intrusions to understand effects of intrusion geometry, depth, and
                     magnitude-frequency on topographic signature.
2017 – Present: Graduate Research Assistant – University of Oregon
                Collaborators: A. Lerner, Drs. L. Karlstrom, S. Ebmeier, K. Anderson, and S. Hurwitz
                Project: Comparison of global geophysically-derived magma chamber locations to
                     topographic centroids of overlying edifices to determine the amount of offset
                     between topography and magma plumbing systems.
2016 – Present: NSF GRIP Research Scholar – Cascades Volcano Observatory
               Collaborators: D.W. Ramsey (USGS) and Dr. L. Karlstrom
               Project: Identification and volume extraction of volcanic edifices within the Cascades Arc to
                     estimate volcanic flux and analyze the relationship between topography and crustal
                     magmatic structure. Funded by NSF award 1309047.
2014 – 2018: Graduate Research Assistant – University of Oregon
              Collaborators: Drs. L. Karlstrom and J. Roering
              Project: Modeling and analysis of landscape disruption and evolution induced by localized
                     surface uplift to understand effects of small-scale perturbations on topographic form.
                     Funded by NSF award 1309047.
2015 – 2016: Graduate Research Assistant – University of Oregon
             Collaborators: Drs. E. Hooft and D. Toomey
             Project: Tomographic study to analyze and image the magma chamber under Santorini,
                     Greece. Project included a three-week expedition on the research vessel Marcus
                     Langseth to deploy/retrieve ocean bottom seismometers and collect seismic travel
                     times. Funded by NSF award OCE1459794.
2013: Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow – Academia Sinica
             Collaborator: Dr. J.-C. Lee
             Project: Strain analysis of the northern Luzon Arc and Coastal Range (Taiwan) to understand
                     deformation through the main stages of arc-continent collision (pre-collision, syn-collision
                     and waning collision).
2011: REU Research Scholar – College of William and Mary
            Collaborators: Drs. C. Harris and T. Kniskern
            Project:  Testing the functionality of an algorithm implemented into the Regional Ocean
                     Modeling System (ROMS) numerical model to calculate the occurrence of underwater
                     gravity flows within the wave-boundary layer.
2010 – 2014: Undergraduate Research Assistant – Indiana University of Pennsylvania
            Collaborator: Dr. J. Lewis
            Project: Modeling contemporary strain in southeast Taiwan using focal mechanism solutions
                     across the subduction-to-collision boundary of the Philippine Sea and Eurasian Plates.
                     Funded by NSF awards EAR0738953 and EAR120317.