Michael W. Hamburger

Michael W. Hamburger

Professor, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences


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

About Michael W. Hamburger

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 arc, based on seismicity, earthquake focal mechanisms, GPS measurements, and satellite imagery
This figure shows a tectonic model of the northern Philippine island arc, 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. 

The OIINK seismic experiment is the product of a collaborative research effort between Indiana University, Purdue University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the Indiana and Illinois state geological surveys. The project seeks to apply state-of-the-art seismic monitoring and data analysis techniques to understand the deep geological structure and seismic activity in North America's continental interior. The project will help us to better understand the basic geological processes that were involved in the assembly and evolution of our continent, as well as the processes that are continually modifying its structure. Ultimately, the research will help us better understand and better prepare for the hazards associated with future earthquakes in our region. The project is part of a national scientific initiative, dubbed "EarthScope" which includes the deployment of "USArray," the largest seismic network in the nations history.

Recent student theses

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., 2012)
Interaction between magmatic and faulting processes in the Long Valley caldera, California. (Joint with Kaj Johnson)

Anna Nowicki (M.S., 2013)
Logistic Regression for Seismically Induced Landslide Predictions: Using Uniform Hazard and Geophysical Layers as Predictor Variables continuing as Ph.D. student


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 has served as interim chair of the Department of Earth and Atmospheric 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.