Seth Stein

Seth Stein

Wm. Deering Professor
Email: seth at
Location: Tech F498/F499

Ph.D. Geophysics, California Institute of Technology
M.S. Geophysics, California Institute of Technology
B.S. Earth and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Research Website


My research focuses on investigating plate boundary processes and deformation within the lithosphere using a range of techniques including space-based geodesy, seismology, and marine geophysics. These include ongoing or past studies of the New Madrid seismic zone, the 2001 Bhuj earthquake in India, the 2004 Sumatra earthquake, earthquake recurrence and hazards, and the Andes. Some studies, focusing on the thermal evolution of oceanic lithosphere, are cooperative projects with my wife Carol, who is on the faculty at the University of Illinois, Chicago. We try to do science, teach, advise students, and survive as the working parents of a teenage daughter, which is a bit hectic at times.


EARTH 202: Earth's Interior
EARTH 320: Global Tectonics
EARTH 324: Earthquakes and Tectonics
EARTH 326: Data Analysis for the Earth & Planetary Sciences
EARTH 327: Geophysical Time Series Analysis
EARTH 351: Forming a Habitable Planet

Selected Publications

Stein, C., Stein, S., Merino, M., Keller, G., Flesch, L. and D. Jurdy, Was the Mid-Continent Rift part of a successful seafloor spreading episode? Geophys. Res. Lett., 10.1002/2013GL059176, 2014.

Stein, S. and J.L. Stein, How good do natural hazard assessments need to be?, GSA Today, 23, no. 4/5, doi: 10.1130/GSATG167GW.1, 2013.

Stein, S., R. Geller, and M. Liu, Why earthquake hazard maps often fail and what to do about it, Tectonophysics, 562-563, 1-25, 2012.

Stein, S. and E. Okal, The size of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake needn't have been a surprise, EOS, 92, 227-228, 2011.

Stein, S., M. Liu, E. Calais, and Q. Li, Midcontinent earthquakes as a complex system, Seis. Res. Lett, 80, 553-555, 2009.

Research Interests

  • Plate tectonics
  • seismology
  • space geodesy
August 8, 2017