Brian Stump

SMU seismologist Brian Stump named Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Brian W. Stump, Albritton Professor of Geological Sciences and AAAS Fellow, SMUSMU seismologist Brian Stump has been named an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellow for distinguished contributions to his field, particularly in the area of seismic monitoring in support of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.

AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science. Stump, Albritton Chair of Geological Sciences in the Huffington Department of Earth Sciences of SMU’s Dedman College, is the fifth SMU professor to be recognized as an AAAS Fellow.

> Learn about Dr. Stump’s work at the SMU Research blog

“Dr. Stump is a scientist of the first rank and brings the results of his outstanding research into the classroom, where his students benefit from his example and insights as a scholar,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “He richly deserves the AAAS recognition by his peers and we are proud that he calls SMU home.”

“Brian’s work has been seminal in scientists’ ability to rapidly and accurately discern the difference between an earthquake, a conventional explosion (such as might occur in a mining accident) and a nuclear test,” said James Quick, SMU vice president for research and dean of graduate studies. “His research is tremendously important to all of us, and yet he is equally committed to teaching and serving as a mentor to young faculty.”

> SMU News: SMU-UT study shows “plausible” connection between DFW quakes and saltwater injection well

Stump is well known regionally for his continued work researching the increase of small earthquakes that have been occurring in North Texas since 2008. But his work in detecting ground motion from explosions has for more than 20 years proved invaluable to the United States government in ensuring that the world’s nuclear powers abide by their agreements related to underground nuclear testing. He served as scientific adviser to the U.S. delegation to the Conference on Disarmament from 1994 through 1996 and continues to be called upon frequently to assist the U.S. government in the interpretation of seismic and acoustic data.

“I’m humbled by the recognition by the AAAS that science impacts the society in which we live,” Stump said. “I really believe that. And the work we’ve done at SMU on inducted seismicity in North Texas has that same blend of real science and societal impact.”

> Brian Stump on CBS-11 News: Report looks at drilling wastewater and North Texas earthquakes

For the last five years Stump has chaired the Air Force Technical Applications Center Seismic Review Panel, which provides a review of federally funded efforts in nuclear monitoring. He served as a committee member on the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Seismology and Continental Dynamics from 2007 through 2012, and recently completed a term as board chair for Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS), a consortium of more than 100 universities funded by the National Science Foundation.

Stump joined SMU in 1983 from the Seismology Section of the Air Force Weapons Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico. He graduated summa cum laude from Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon with a bachelor of arts in physics in 1974, received a master of arts from the University of California-Berkeley in 1975 and received his Ph.D. in geophysics from UC-Berkeley in 1979 after completing a thesis titled Investigation of Seismic Sources by the Linear Inversion of Seismograms.

SMU faculty previously named as AAAS Fellows:

  • Volcanologist and research dean James Quick, who was named a Fellow in 2013
  • Environmental biochemistry scholar Paul Ludden, SMU provost and vice president for academic affairs and a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, who was named a Fellow in 2003
  • Anthropologist David Meltzer, Henderson-Morrison Professor of Prehistory in the Department of Anthropology who was named a Fellow in 1998
  • James E. Brooks, provost emeritus and professor emeritus in the Huffington Department of Earth Sciences, who was named a Fellow in 1966.

The AAAS Fellows program began in 1874. AAAS members may be considered for the rank of Fellow if nominated by the steering group of their respective sections, by three Fellows, or by the association’s chief executive officer. Each steering group then reviews the nominations of individuals within its respective section and forwards a final list to the AAAS Council, which votes on the final list of Fellows.

> Read more from SMU News

SMU experts share perspectives on 2011 Japan quake in fund-raising lecture April 12

Japan quake relief T-shirt created for SMU fund-raising effortsTwo SMU faculty members with unique perspectives on the Japanese earthquake will speak at a public fund-raising lecture at 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 12, in Room 123, Fondren Science Building. (The location has been changed from its original venue in McCord Auditorium.)

Dedman College Dean William Tsutsui was in Tokyo at the time of the earthquake as a member of the Japanese American Leadership Delegation. He will be joined by Brian Stump, Albritton Professor of Geological Sciences in Dedman College, a recognized seismology expert who leads a national university consortium funded by the National Science Foundation and works with the U.S. Geological Survey to manage global earthquake data.

Admission to the lecture is $10; SMU students will be admitted free with campus ID. Proceeds will benefit disaster relief efforts in Japan. RSVP online at the Japan Association at SMU (JASMU) website.

At the event, JASMU will sell a fund-raising T-shirt designed by its members (pictured right), priced at $20. The shirt features images of a crane and Mt. Fuji, both symbols of Japan, with a large wave symbolizing the recent disaster. “We hope that Japanese people will find a way to recover from the 2011 Japan earthquake just like cranes rising into the sun,” the students wrote on the JASMU homepage.

Half Price Books donated the assistance of its design team and covered the cost of the T-shirts and production, ensuring that all money raised through the T-shirts can go directly to relief efforts in Japan. The money will be given to the American Red Cross through SMU’s Institute for the Study of Earth and Man (ISEM).

The shirts will also be available from SMU’s booth at the 2011 Earth Day Dallas event, April 22-23 in the Dallas Arts District.

For more information, visit the Japanese Association at SMU website or call Yuri Kimura at 214-909-0786.

SMU community raises funds for Japan earthquake and tsunami victims

Japan quake relief T-shirt created for SMU fund-raising effortsThe Japanese Association at Southern Methodist University (JASMU) will raise funds for victims of the Japan earthquake and tsunami through an upcoming lecture and T-shirt sales.

The newly formed organization is led by Yuri Kimura, a Ph.D. candidate in the Huffington Department of Earth Sciences in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences; Noritoshi Hiyama, who is pursuing an M.B.A. in the Cox School of Business; and Isaac Saito, who is pursuing an M.S. in systems engineering in Lyle School of Engineering.

“We hated seeing what was happening in our country, and we wanted to do something to help as quickly as possible,” Kimura says. “We hope others on the SMU campus and around Dallas will join us in our quest to raise funds for those in need in Japan.”

Two SMU faculty members with unique perspectives on the Japanese earthquake will speak at a public fund-raising lecture at 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 12, in Room 123, Fondren Science Building.

Dedman College Dean William Tsutsui was in Tokyo at the time of the earthquake as a member of the Japanese American Leadership Delegation. He will be joined by Brian Stump, Albritton Professor of Geological Sciences in Dedman College, a recognized seismology expert who leads a national university consortium funded by the National Science Foundation and works with the U.S. Geological Survey to manage global earthquake data.

Admission to the lecture is $10; SMU students will be admitted free with campus ID. Proceeds will benefit disaster relief efforts in Japan. RSVP online at the JASMU website.

In addition, JASMU will sell a fund-raising T-shirt designed by its members, priced at $20. The shirt features images of a crane and Mt. Fuji, both symbols of Japan, with a large wave symbolizing the recent disaster. “We hope that Japanese people will find a way to recover from the 2011 Japan earthquake just like cranes rising into the sun,” the students write on the JASMU homepage.

Half Price Books donated the assistance of its design team and covered the cost of the T-shirts and production, ensuring that all money raised through the T-shirts can go directly to relief efforts in Japan. The money will be given to the American Red Cross through SMU’s Institute for the Study of Earth and Man (ISEM).

The SMU community can buy the T-shirts for the first time during the Cox School of Business 7th Annual International Festival. Sales will take place 5:30-8:30 p.m. March 25 in the James M. Collins Executive Education Center.

Additional shirt sales will take place March 28, 29 and 31, and on April 1 and 8 from 11 a.m. to noon at the Hughes-Trigg Student Center. The shirts will go on sale from 2-6 p.m. April 9-10 at the Half Price Books Dallas flagship store, 5803 East Northwest Highway.

The shirts will also be available at the April 12 campus lecture and from SMU’s booth at the Earth Day Dallas event, April 22-23 in the Dallas Arts District.

For more information on the upcoming events, visit the Japanese Association at SMU website, or call Yuri Kimura at 214-909-0786.

Written by Christina Voss

SMU scientist Brian Stump leads global seismology consortium

SMU's Albritton Professor of Earth Sciences Brian StumpBrian Stump, Albritton Professor of Earth Sciences in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, has been elected chair of the board of directors for a university-based consortium that operates facilities for the acquisition, management and open distribution of seismic data.

The programs of the Incorporated Research Institutes for Seismology (IRIS) contribute to scholarly research, education, earthquake hazard mitigation and verification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.

IRIS was founded in 1984 with support from the National Science Foundation. The late Eugene T. Herrin Jr., who held the Shuler-Foscue Endowed Chair in the University’s Huffington Department of Earth Sciences, was a founding member. IRIS facilities primarily are operated through its more than 100 member universities and in cooperation with the U.S. Geological Survey.

Scientists from member institutions participate in IRIS management through an elected nine-member board, eight regular committees and ad hoc advisory groups. Stump’s term of office as chair of the board is for three years, and will expire at the end of 2013.

“IRIS was formed because it was realized that we needed to support the global seismic network and needed the free exchange of information and ideas,” Stump said. “Instrumentation is so expensive that the seismic community needed to find a way to make equipment available to anyone who needs it for research, regardless of the size or funding capability of their parent institution.”

More than 4,000 portable monitors are available through the IRIS/PASSCAL Instrument Center at New Mexico Tech in Socorro. These instruments proved invaluable to Stump and his SMU team in researching a series of small earthquakes that occurred in North Texas between October 30, 2008, and May 16, 2009. The ability to quickly place monitors at the site of the original quakes allowed scientists to record 11 earthquakes between Nov. 9, 2008, and Jan. 2, 2009, that were too small to be felt by area residents.

“The monitors available to IRIS members are well-used assets,” Stump said. “They’re constantly in service, like library books that fly off the shelves. We never have enough equipment.”

Stump also is one of two distinguished lecturers sponsored this year by IRIS and the Seismology Society of America.

The Global Seismographic Network consists of more than 150 permanent stations around the world. It is operated by IRIS in cooperation with the USGS Geological Survey and allows seismologists to examine large events occurring anywhere to determine if they were caused by natural events such as earthquakes, or man-made events such as mine explosions or nuclear tests.

> Read more from SMU News
> Visit the IRIS website at iris.edu

Renowned SMU seismologist Gene Herrin dies

Eugene T. Herrin Jr.Eugene T. Herrin Jr., an internationally respected seismologist and holder of the Shuler-Foscue Endowed Chair in SMU’s Roy M. Huffington Department of Earth Sciences, died of a heart attack on Nov. 20, 2010.

An SMU professor since 1956, Herrin is known for his pioneering work in nuclear surveillance. He discovered that certain wave generators, including explosions and earthquakes, create not only seismic waves but also infrasound waves. Based on that discovery, Herrin was one of the first proponents of using seismo-acoustic analysis to distinguish the difference between mining explosions, earthquakes and nuclear weapons tests.

Early in his career, he made seminal contributions in the areas of heat flow and earthquake seismology, including the development of the fundamental regional travel time curves still in use by the seismological community.

He played a significant scientific role in the development of infrasound detection of atmospheric tests and the design and implementation of a global seismic network for test ban verification and earthquake detection. He also made contributions to national security through successful and enforceable nuclear proliferation negotiations. In addition, he played an important role in the development of plate tectonic theory and the creation of array seismology to detect small earthquakes at great distances.

“Dr. Herrin’s work has played a critical role in establishing accurate worldwide monitoring of nuclear tests,” said Brian Stump, Claude C. Albritton Jr. Chair in the Huffington Department of Earth Sciences in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. “His research was fundamental in creating the international monitoring network that enforces the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.”

As a consultant to Teledyne-Geotech for more than 50 years, Herrin played an important part in a successful university-industry relationship, said Jack Hamilton, retired Teledyne-Geotech CEO and engineer. “Dr. Herrin played an indispensable part in our company’s development of instruments used in nuclear test monitoring.”

Herrin’s first breakthrough in experimental seismology occurred in 1963 when he determined that the earth’s mantle is not laterally homogeneous as previously thought. He won the Grove Karl Gilbert Award from the Geological Society of America for this contribution.

A devoted teacher, Herrin supervised 25 Ph.D. candidates during his years at SMU. His students now play important research roles worldwide in the monitoring of nuclear tests, Stump said.

“I owe everything I am as a scientist to Dr. Herrin,” said Jessie Bonner, a senior scientist at Weston Geophysical who earned his Ph.D. in geology in 1997 from SMU. “The best thing about Dr. Herrin as a mentor is that he wouldn’t do the work for you. He would come down to the geophysics lab, grab a chair and we would work on the problem together. He would give me just enough information to solve the problem on my own.”

Dr. Herrin was honored with a chiming of the bells at SMU at noon on Nov. 29. A celebration of his life will take place at a later date.

> Read more about Gene Herrin from SMU News

Research Spotlight: Study connects DFW quakes with injection well

SMU scientists with monitoring equipmentA study of seismic activity near Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport by researchers from SMU and UT-Austin reveals that the operation of a saltwater injection disposal well in the area was a “plausible cause” for the series of small earthquakes that occurred in the area between Oct. 30, 2008, and May 16, 2009.

The incidents under study occurred in an area of North Texas where the vast Barnett Shale geological formation traps natural gas deposits in subsurface rock.

Production in the Barnett Shale relies on the injection of pressurized water into the ground to crack open the gas-bearing rock, a process known as “hydraulic fracturing.” Some of the injected water is recovered with the produced gas in the form of waste fluids that require disposal.

A state tectonic map prepared by the Texas Bureau of Economic Geology shows a northeast-trending fault intersects the Dallas-Tarrant county line approximately at the location where the DFW quakes occurred. The study concludes, “It is plausible that the fluid injection in the southwest saltwater disposal well could have affected the in situ tectonic stress regime on the fault, reactivating it and generating the DFW earthquakes.”

The earthquakes do not appear to be directly connected to the drilling, hydraulic fracturing or gas production in the Barnett Shale, the study concludes. However, re-injection of waste fluids into a zone below the Barnett Shale at the nearby saltwater disposal well began in September 2008, seven weeks before the first DFW earthquakes occurred.

No earthquakes were recorded in the area after the injection well stopped operating in August 2009.

An SMU team led by seismologists Brian Stump and Chris Hayward placed portable, broadband seismic monitoring equipment in the area after the earthquakes began.

The seismographs recorded 11 earthquakes between Nov. 9, 2008, and Jan. 2, 2009, that were too small to be felt by area residents. Cliff Frohlich and Eric Potter of UT-Austin joined the SMU team in studying the DFW-area sequence of “felt” earthquakes as well as the 11 “non-felt” earthquakes. Their study, “Dallas-Fort Worth earthquakes coincident with activity associated with natural gas production,” appears in the March issue of The Leading Edge, a publication of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists.

Stump and Hayward caution that the DFW study raises more questions than it answers.

“What we have is a correlation between seismicity, and the time and location of saltwater injection,” Stump said. “What we don’t have is complete information about the subsurface structure in the area – things like the porosity and permeability of the rock, the fluid path and how that might induce an earthquake.”

“More than 200 saltwater disposal wells are active in the area of Barnett production,” the study notes. “If the DFW earthquakes were caused by saltwater injection or other activities associated with producing gas, it is puzzling why there are only one or two areas of felt seismicity.”

Further compounding the problem, Hayward said, is that there is not a good system in place to measure the naturally occurring seismicity in Texas: “We don’t have a baseline for study.”

(Above, SMU scientists place monitoring equipment at a North Texas site. Photo by Hillsman S. Jackson.)

Read more from the SMU Research blog

Faculty in the News: Summer 2009

Brian StumpScientists in SMU’s Seismology Research Program deployed monitoring stations in North Texas during summer 2009 to gather data on a series of earthquakes that began hitting the area in May. Brian Stump (right) and Chris Hayward, Huffington Department of Earth Sciences, Dedman College, are providing expertise to local and national media outlets for ongoing coverage, including the following stories:

Cal Jillson, Political Science, Dedman College, talked with the media regarding several state and national political stories during the summer, including:

William LawrenceWilliam Lawrence (right), Dean, Perkins School of Theology, provided commentary on the health care reform debate and other issues, including:

Bruce Bullock, Maguire Energy Institute, Cox School of Business, spoke with several media outlets about fuel prices, the Congressional climate change bill and other energy issues for these stories:

Scott MacDonald, Southwest Graduate School of Banking, Cox School of Business, talked about distressed banks taking the cost-cutting measure of closing branch locations with CNNMoney.com Aug. 12, 2009.

Ruben Habito, World Religions, Perkins School of Theology, talks about the increasing acceptance of Buddhism among Christians and Jews who infuse Eastern spiritual insights and practices into their own religions with The Denver Post Aug. 9, 2009.

Kathy Hargrove, Gifted Students Institute, Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, spoke about the need for specialized training for teachers of the gifted and talented with The Dallas Morning News Aug. 9, 2009.

Al Armendariz, Environmental and Civil Engineering, Lyle School of Engineering, discussed air quality problems in Denton County with The Denton Record-Chronicle Aug. 2, 2009. In addition, he wrote an op-ed on the failure of the North Texas clean-air plan and its consequences for The Dallas Morning News, published July 13, 2009.

Jeff TalleyJeff Talley (at right in photo, with Gen. David Petraeus), Environmental and Civil Engineering, Lyle School of Engineering, was the subject of a feature detailing his ideas for using engineering to fight global poverty. It appeared in The Fort Worth Star-Telegram July 29, 2009.

Tom Mayo, Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility, provided expertise for a story on health care rationing and the author’s 91-year-old father that appeared in Politics Daily July 29, 2009.

William Maxwell, Finance, Cox School of Business, talked about the state of the American auto industry with The Dallas Morning News July 13, 2009.

John Attanasio, Dean, Dedman School of Law, discussed why Dallas’ law practices have managed to avoid the downsizing occurring at many large national practices with The Dallas Morning News July 6, 2009.

Nathan Cortez, Dedman School of Law, discussed the legal and regulatory uncertainties of “medical tourism” – seeking affordable health care abroad – with Diversity: Issues in Higher Education June 25, 2009.

Darab Ganji and Robert Jordan, Tower Center for Political Studies, Dedman College, wrote an op-ed on the post-election uprising in Iran that was published in The Dallas Morning News June 22, 2009.

Fred Schmidt, Christian Spirituality, Perkins School of Theology, discussed the June 2009 meeting of representatives from Episcopal congregations and dioceses to create a new denomination for a story published by The Fort Worth Star-Telegram June 22, 2009.

Glenn Griffin, Advertising, Meadows School of the Arts, discussed the advantages and drawbacks of the state opening its new “Don’t Mess With Texas” video contest to the public with The Dallas Morning News June 17, 2009

Research Spotlight: N. Texas earthquakes not unexpected

SMU Professor Brian StumpGeologists in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences are deploying 10 portable seismic stations in North Texas to study the increasingly frequent rumbling of earthquake activity in the Metroplex.

But the recent quakes that have occurred near Dallas-Fort Worth and Cleburne are not unexpected: They illustrate the earth’s natural dynamic nature, says Brian Stump (right), Albritton Professor of Geological Sciences in the Huffington Department of Earth Sciences and a faculty member in its Seismology Research Program.

Rocks in the earth’s crust store energy that is relieved when faults slip; that motion generates the waves that are felt or recorded during an earthquake. And even in a stable continental region such as North Texas, “we expect to see small events,” Stump told WFAA-TV. “But we’ve seen a whole series of small events, and what intrigues us now is to try and understand that series of events.” The monitoring stations his team will use to collect data are on loan from the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology and supported by the National Science Foundation.

Recent oil and gas production in the Barnett Shale has raised questions about whether the North Texas quakes are related to those activities. Current information cannot provide a definitive answer, but improved monitoring of the earthquake locations and a deeper understanding of how the earthquake sequences form and vanish may provide some insight, Stump says.

Find an ongoing recap of media coverage at SMU News

By | 2009-06-12T12:45:00+00:00 June 12, 2009|Categories: Research|Tags: , , , , , , |

Faculty in the News: May 27, 2009

Brian Stump on Fox 4 NewsMaria Minniti, Strategy and Entrepreneurship, Cox School of Business, provided expertise for a BusinessWeek story on her research with Moren Levesque of the University of Waterloo and Dean Shepherd of Indiana University, which uses a mathematical model to weigh the risks and benefits of entering the market early. The article appeared in the May 19, 2009 edition.

Brian Stump (left), Huffington Department of Earth Sciences, Dedman College, talked with Fox 4 News about an earthquake that hit North Texas May 16, 2009. video

Dan Howard, Marketing, Cox School of Business, talked about the chances of success for Hallmark’s new singing envelopes for greeting cards with The Cleveland Plain Dealer May 15, 2009.

Fred Moss, Dedman School of Law, provided expertise to The Dallas Morning News for a story about a Frisco man being tried on assault charges for allegedly knowingly infecting women with HIV. The article was published May 19, 2009.

Cal Jillson, Political Science, Dedman College, discussed why Texas Republican politicians are unlikely to switch to the Democratic Party to hold onto elected office in an article published in The Fort Worth Star-Telegram May 10, 2009.

Three faculty members named Distinguished University Citizens

Three faculty members were honored with SMU’s annual Distinguished University Citizen Award at the Faculty Breakfast held May 16 before Commencement. The 2009 recipients:

Barbara Hill Moore, Music, Meadows School of the Arts
David Meltzer, Anthropology, Dedman College
Brian Stump, Huffington Department of Earth Sciences, Dedman College

The award, given by the Provost’s Office, honors three faculty members each year for service and activities that benefit students and the University’s academic mission. “It’s a chance to say ‘thank you’ to people who have given so much of themselves to SMU,” said Ellen Jackofsky, associate provost for faculty and administrative affairs. “The recipients truly have distinguished themselves as good University citizens.”

More from SMU’s 94th Commencement

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