Dr. Walter J. Arabasz

WJA web photo



Research Professor Emeritus of Geology & Geophysics

Former Director, University of Utah Seismograph Stations

Office: FASB 215

Office Phone: 801-581-7410

Email: arabasz <at> seis.utah.edu


B.S. Geology, Boston College, 1964
M.S. Geology, California Institute of Technology, 1966
Ph.D. Geology and Geophysics, California Institute of Technology, 1971


Dr. Walter J. Arabasz has worked as a seismologist at the University of Utah since 1974—after earlier studies and work in California, Chile, and New Zealand. He was the director of the University of Utah Seismograph Stations from 1985 to 2010. His research interests include network seismology, earthquake-hazard analysis, mining-induced seismicity, and tectonics and seismicity of the Intermountain West.

During his career he has been extensively involved in national and state public policy making for seismic monitoring and earthquake risk reduction. Related awards include the Utah Governor’s Medal for Science and Technology in 1996; the U.S. Geological Survey’s John Wesley Powell Award in 2007; the Western States Seismic Policy Council Lifetime Achievement Award in Earthquake Risk Reduction in 2008; the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute’s Alfred E. Alquist Special Recognition Medal in 2015; and the Seismological Society of America’s 2015 Frank Press Public Service Award.

Recent Activities

Since his retirement in 2010, he has continued to work part-time at the University of Utah Seismograph Stations. During 2010 to 2013 he chaired or co-chaired three peer-review panels relating to seismic hazard analyses for nuclear facilities. Recent activities also include serving as a member of a Working Group on Utah Earthquake Probabilities (WGUEP, 2010–2016), organized by the Utah Geological Survey and the U.S. Geological Survey, and serving as a member of a Working Group on a Scenario for a Magnitude 7.0 Earthquake on the Wasatch Fault―Salt Lake City Segment (2014–2015), sponsored by the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, Utah Chapter. As part of his work on the WGUEP he completed a major revision and analysis of Utah’s historical and instrumental earthquake record.


Curriculum Vitae