Douglas Toomey

Douglas Toomey profile picture
  • Title: Professor
  • Phone: 541-346-5576
  • Office: 105A Cascade Hall
  • Interests: Seismology, tectonics, midocean ridges, subduction zones, oceanic hotspots, critical zone geophysics
  • Website: Website


B.S., 1981, Pennsylvania State University; Ph.D., 1987, MIT/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program


Current Students:

  • Brandon vanderBeek, Ph.D. candidate
  • Gillean Arnoux, Ph.D. candidate
  • Joe Byrnes, Ph.D. candidate
  • Miles Bodmer, Ph.D. candidate
  • Ben Heath, current

Former Students:

  • Andrew Barclay, Ph.D., 1998, currently at LDEO
  • Robert Dunn, Ph.D., 1999, currently at University of Hawaii
  • Ulrich Faul, Ph.D., 1994, currently at Boston University
  • Bill Hammond, Ph.D., 2000, currently at University of Nevada
  • Darwin Villagomez, Ph.D., 2010, currently at CSI, San Diego, California
  • Troy Durant. Ph.D., 2011, currently at Exxon Mobile, Houston, Texas
  • Anne Wells. M.Sc., 2012, currently at Chesapeake Energy, Oklahoma City, OK 
  • Matt Beachly, M.Sc., 2011, currently at Symantec, Eugene, OR
  • Kohtaro Araragi, M.Sc., 2012, currently Ph.D. student at Univ. of Tokyo


Research:  Our lab’s research focus is on tectonic plate boundaries and hotspots, where we have pioneered the use of ocean bottom seismology to study earthquake and volcanic processes. We have led scientific expeditions in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Mediterranean oceans, the Galápagos Archipelago, and the Oman ophiolite. Our study sites include spreading centers (e.g., East Pacific Rise, Juan de Fuca Ridge, Mid-Atlantic Ridge), hotspots (Iceland, Galápagos), continental volcanoes (Newberry, Oregon), and more recently subduction zones (Cascadia Initiative, Santorini Volcano).  We use a wide variety of seismic methods (body and surface wave tomography, seismicity, ambient noise) and we are actively developing imaging methods for strongly heterogeneous and anisotropic media. Our research has been published widely in Nature, Science, Geology, Nature Geoscience, and specialty journals.

Applied Science: Our work also represents the University of Oregon’s growing role in seismic monitoring in the PNW, for which we have led a push for additional onshore and offshore earthquake monitoring stations to be incorporated into a full West Coast Earthquake Early Warning System ( We support the Oregon component of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network (, a cooperative operation between the University of Oregon and University of Washington to monitor earthquake and volcanic activity in the Pacific Northwest. 

Geophysics Website