Dr. Robert B. Smith

RBS web photo


Professor Emeritus of Geology and Geophysics

Office: FASB 243

Office Phone: 801-581-7129

Email: robert.b.smith <at> utah.edu

Professor Smith has a distinguished career in geophysics working on earthquake, crustal deformation and education and outreach throughout his career. BS and MS Utah State Univ. PhD University of Utah, Post Doc Columbia University, Visiting Professorships Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and Cambridge University. Early in his career Bob served as Director of the University of Utah Seismograph Stations and implemented the first UUSS dedicated real-time computer system. Commissioned Officer USAF, graduated in first USAF all-jet pilot training class of 62G and conducted geophysical and geodetic surveys of the world in support of USAF missile guidance systems. Bob’s research in Yellowstone began in 1956 and he was present for the 1959 M7.5 Hebgen Lake, MT, earthquake, an experience that triggered his interest into a career in geophysics. Bob works on observations and modeling of lithospheric structure, earthquakes and volcanoes, GPS studies of crustal motion, seismicity and evolution of the Yellowstone hotspot, seismicity of Utah, etc. He has conducted pioneering geophysics investigations of the Yellowstone hotspot, the Basin-Range Province, Wasatch Front and Swiss-French-Italian Alps and Mediterranean studies followed by national evaluations of earthquake and volcano hazard of nuclear facilities. His devotion to education has resulted in the supervision of 69 graduate students, 17 Post Docs and 8 senior student theses. In addition Bob and his colleagues’ research has resulted in over 200 scientific papers and hundreds of presentations at scientific meetings worldwide. He has received numerous honors including receipt of the U.S. Antarctic Medal in 1965; the The Distinguished University of Utah Research Award; the Utah Geological Association, Hintze Award; the USGS John Wesley Powell Award; the GSA George Woollard Award; and the AGU Paul G. Silver Award. His book with co-author Lee Siegel, “Windows Into the Earth: The Geologic Story of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks”, is the most popular public document on this subject. Bob has been a member of numerous boards and foundations including co-founder of the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology, IRIS; co-founder, University geodetic and GPS Consortium for Geoscience Research, UNAVCO; chairperson of the Southern California Earthquake Center, SCEC; and co-founder and chair of EarthScope, the first national earth science research program. And Bob has given multiple presentations for the U.S. Congress on Advancing Science In America.


Research Activities:


University of Utah Seismology and Active Tectonics Research Group: Yellowstone, Wasatch and Teton Research: www.uusatrg.utah.edu/