Indiana University Bloomington

Michael W. Hamburger

Michael W. Hamburger

Professor of Geological Sciences
Interim Chair, 2009-2010

Geophysics, Seismology, and Tectonics

Office:   GY415
Phone:   812-855-2934

Educational Background

  • Ph.D., 1986, Cornell University
  • M.Sc., 1982, Cornell University
  • B.A., 1975, Wesleyan University

Research Interests

Michael Hamburger's major research interests are in seismotectonics, dynamics of earthquake and volcanic processes, and application of satellite geodetic measurements to geodynamic problems. He currently has active research programs in the subduction zone environment of the Philippine island arc, as well as in zones of continental extension in the Long Valley Caldera region of California and the intraplate environment of the central U.S. Major field research projects include: (1) analysis of earthquake distribution, focal mechanisms, and deformation patterns associated with subduction and intra-arc deformation in the Philippines; (2) study of crustal deformation using Global Positioning System (GPS) measurements near Taal volcano, Luzon, Philippines; (3) studies of seismicity and crustal deformation in the U.S. midcontinent (Wabash Valley seismic zone of southern Indiana and Illinois); (4) application of GPS measurements to study coupled tectonic and volcanic processes in the Long Valley Caldera of eastern California.

This figure shows a tectonic model of the northern Philippine island Figurearc, based on seismicity, earthquake focal mechanisms, GPS measurements, and satellite imagery. The island arc lithosphere is modeled as a series of elastic blocks, which accommodate large-scale tectonic motions between the Philippine Sea Plate (PHSP) and the Sundaland Block of Eurasia (SUND). The major plate motion is accommodated by deformation along a series of arc-bounding and intra-arc faults that accumulate elastic strain between major earthquakes.

Courses Taught

Dr. Hamburger is involved in teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Along with Professor James Brophy, he teaches an undergraduate course for non-science majors entitled "Earthquakes and Volcanoes" (G141). He also teaches the field-based introductory course "Volcanoes of the Eastern Sierra Nevada" (G188), which includes an intensive 2-week field trip to the Eastern Sierra Nevada region of California. At the graduate level, he teaches "Fundamentals of Plate Tectonics" (G554), "Analysis of Earthquake Seismograms" (G515), together with Gary Pavlis, and together with the other geophysics faculty conducts an annual "Seminar in Tectonics"(G637) and "Advanced Geophysics Seminar" (G633) each year.

Graduate Student Projects

Student Theses

Swanson, William Alfred, II (M.Sc., 1988) Seismicity and crustal structure of the Pamir-Alai region in Soviet Central Asia.

Thomas, Margaret Wynn (M.Sc., 1989) Temporal distribution of seismic activity within the Soviet Regional Earthquake Catalog, Central Asia.

Ramos, Emmanuel G. (M.Sc., 1992) Seismic expression of faults within and around the Peter The First Range, Tadjikistan.

Zheng, Bingjun (M.Sc., 1993) Evidence for precursory seismicity changes preceding moderate and large earthquakes in the Garm Region, central Asia.

Mellors, Robert John (Ph.D., 1995) Two studies in central Asian seismology: a teleseismic study of the Pamir/Hindu Kush seismic zone and analysis of data from the Kyrgyzstan broadband seismic network.

Ramos, Emmanuel G. (Ph.D., 1995) Seismicity and magmatic intrusion processes at Pinatubo Volcano, Philippines.

Ghose, Sujoy (Ph.D., 1997) Seismotectonics in an active intracontinental orogen: The Tien Shan of central Asia.

Krueger, Alex (M.Sc., 1998), Seismicity and the State of Stress in the Pamir-Tien Shan Zone.

Tomida, Michiru (M.Sc., 1998), Tectonics of Incipient Subduction at the East Luzon Trough, Philippines.

Millen, David (Ph.D., 2000), Tectonics of the northernmost Tonga subduction zone and a comparative study of the tectonics of subduction zone terminations.

Rybakov, Vladmir (M.S., 2001) Intraplate Deformation and Seismic Activity in the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone.

Bartel, Beth (M.Sc., 2002) Magma Dynamics at Taal volcano, Philippines, from Continuous GPS measurements.

Neelambari Save (B.Sc., 2002): Analysis of Continuous GPS data from Taal Volcano, Philippines.

Galgana, Gerald (M.Sc., 2005) Crustal deformation associated with volcanic activity at Taal volcano, Philippines.

Galgana, Gerald (Ph.D., 2008) Geodetic Investigations of Active Crustal Deformation in the Philippine Plate Boundary Zone and the Intraplate Region of the Central United States.

Enneking, Abbie (M.Sc., in progress) Interaction between magmatic and faulting processes in the Long Valley caldera, California. (Joint with Kaj Johnson)

Representative Publications

Galgana, G., M. Hamburger, R. McCaffrey, E. Corpuz and Q. Chen (2007). Analysis of Crustal Deformation in Luzon, Philippines using Geodetic Observations and Focal Mechanisms, Tectonophysics, 432, 63-87.

Eager, K.C., G.L. Pavlis, and M.W. Hamburger (2006), Evidence of Possible Induced Seismicity in the Wahash Valley Seismic Zone from Improved Microearthquake Locations, Bull. Seism. Soc. Amer., 96, 1718-1728.

Poland, M.P., M.W. Hamburger, and A. Newman (2006), The changing shapes of active volcanoes: History, evolution, and future challenges for volcano geodesy, J. Volc. Geotherm. Res., 150:1-3, 1-13.

Bartel, B.A., M.W. Hamburger, C.M. Meertens, A.R. Lowry, and E. Corpuz, (2003), Dynamics of active magmatic and hydrothermal systems at Taal Volcano, Philippines, from continuous GPS measurements, J. Geophys. Res., 108(B10), doi:10.1029/2002JB002194, #2475.

Beavan, J.,D. Silcock, M. Hamburger, E. Ramos, C. Thibault, and R. Feir, (2001), Geodetic constraints on postseismic deformation following the 1990 Ms 7.8 Luzon earthquake, and implications for Luzon tectonics and Philippine Sea plate motion, Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems., 2, [Paper no. 2000GC000100].

Lowry, A.R., M.W. Hamburger, C. Meertens, and E.G. Ramos (2001), GPS Monitoring of crustal deformation at Taal Volcano, Philippines, J. Volc. & Geotherm. Res., 105, 35-47.

Hamburger, M.W., V.P. Rybakov, A.R. Lowry, B. Shen-Tu, and J.A. Rupp (2001), Preliminary Results from a GPS Geodetic Network in the Southern Illinois Basin, Seis. Res. Lett., 73, 762-775.

Millen, D.W. and M.W. Hamburger (1998), Seismological Evidence for tearing of the Pacific Plate in northernmost Tonga, Geology, 26, 659-662.


Over the past several years, Hamburger has been active in a number of professional organizations. He has currently served on the Steering Committee of the UNAVCO (GPS) Consortium, as an associate editor of the Journal of Geophysical Research, and was elected a Fellow of the Geological Society of America. He is also heavily involved in science outreach programs. Together with Dr. Gary Pavlis and faculty from the IU School of Education he has been a leader in the IU PEPP Earthquake Science Program (, part of a nationwide project to bring seismology research into the public school curriculum. He has also been heavily involved in university and community service. Professor Hamburger is currently serving as Interim Chair of the Department of Geological Sciences, following a four-year term as associate Dean of the Faculties (now Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs), during which time he led a campus-wide sustainability initiative ( He currently serves as Co-chair of the Campus Sustainability Advisory Board.