People photo

Rick Aster

Professor and Department Head


Contact Information:

Office: 322E Smith Natural Resource Bldg
Phone: (970) 491-7606


I am a geoscientist with interests in geophysics, seismological imaging and source studies, and Earth processes encompassing earthquake, volcano, ocean, and glaciological processes. My work has included significant field research in western North America, Italy, and Antarctica. I have strong teaching and research interests in geophysical inverse and signal processing methods and am the lead author on the widely used reference volume and textbook "Parameter Estimation and Inverse Problems" (Aster, Borchers, and Thurber, 2012).

Area of Expertise:

I am a geophysicist with interests in seismic imaging and source studies applied to diverse Earth processes that encompass deep structure, earthquakes, volcanos, and glaciers.

Interests & Studies:

Earthquake and Volcano Seismology, Seismic Imaging, Inverse Problems, Signal Processing, Cryospheric and Fluvial seismology, Antarctic Geophysics, Seismological Instrumentation.


Ph.D. in Earth Science from University of California , San Diego, CA , 1991

B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering, Additional Major in Physics from University of Wisconsin , Madison, WI , 1983

M.S. in Geophysics from University of Wisconsin , Madison, WI , 1986

Awards, Honors, Grants:

New Mexico Tech Distinguished Research Award , 2010

IRIS/SSA Distinguished Lecturer , 2009-2010

President, Seismological Society of America , 2009-2011

New Mexico Tech Faculty Award , 2005

IRIS Leadership Award , 2014

NSF Antarctic Service Medal , 1999

Seismological Society of America Board of Directors , 2008-2014

Distinguished Alumnus Award, University of Wisconsin , 2017

Google Scholar Profile



Glacial Seismology
Reports On Progress in Physics, in press , 2017
Aster, R., & Winberry, J.

Spatiotemporal evolution of the 2011 Prague, Oklahoma, aftershock sequence revealed using subspace detection and relocation
Geophysical Research Letters, n/a–n/a 1944-8007 , 2017
McMahon, N., Aster, R., Yeck, W.McNamara, D., & Benz, H.

Tsunami and infragravity waves impacting Antarctic ice shelves
Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans 2169-9291 , 2017
Bromirski, P., Chen, Z., Stephen, R., Gerstoft, P., Arcas, D., Diez, A.,... Nyblade, A.

The uppermost mantle seismic velocity and viscosity structure of central West Antarctica
Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 472, 38 - 49 0012-821X , 2017
O’Donnell, J., Selway, K., Nyblade, A., Brazier, R., Wiens, D., Anandakrishan, S.,... Winberry, J.

Strong seismic scatterers near the core-mantle boundary north of the Pacific Anomaly
Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors, 253, 21-30 0031-9201;1872-7395 , 2016
Ma, X., Sun, X., Wiens, D., Wen, L., Nyblade, A., Anandakrishnan, S.,... Wilson, T.

Selected Articles:

Upper mantle structure of central and West Antarctica from array analysis of Rayleigh wave phase velocities
J. Geophys. Research , 10.1002/2015JB012616 , 2016
Heeszel, D., Wiens, D., Nyblade, A., Aster, R., Huerta, A., Wilson, T., Kanao, M., An, M., Zhao, Y.

Reactivated faulting near Cushing Oklahoma: increased potential for a triggered earthquake in an area of United States strategic infrastructure
Geophys. Res. Lett. , 10.1002/2015GL064669 , 2015
McNamara, D., Hayes, G., Benz, H., Williams, R., McMahon, N., Aster, R.C., Holland, A., Sickbert, T., Herrmann, R., Briggs, R., Smoczyk, G., Bergman, E., Earle, P.,

The seismic noise environment of Antarctica
Seism. Res. Lett. , 86, 10.1785/0220140109 , 2015
Anthony, R., Aster, R.C., Wiens, D., Nyblade, A., Anandakrishnan, S., Huerta, A., Winberry, J., Wilson, T., Rowe, C.

Efforts to monitor and characterize the recent increasing seismicity in central Oklahoma
The Leading Edge , 10.1190/tle34060628.1 , 2015
McNamara, D., Rubinstein, J. L., Myers, E., Smoczyk, G., Benz, H., Williams, R., Hayes, G. P., Wilson, D., Herrmann, R. B., McMahon, N., Aster, R., Bergman, E., Holland, A., Earle, P. S.

Ross ice shelf vibrations
Geophys. Res. Lett. , 10.1002/2015GL065284 , 2015
Bromirski, P., Diez, A., Gerstoft, P., Stephen, R., Bolmer, T., Wiens, D., Aster, R., Nyblade, A.

Seismic tomography of the Colorado Rocky Mountains upper mantle from CREST: Lithosphere-asthenosphere interactions and mantle support of topography
EPSL , 10.1016/j.epsl.2014.402, 03.063, 107-119 , 2014
MacCarthy, J. K., Aster, R., Dueker, K., Hansen, S., Schmandt, B., Karlstrom, K.

Antarctic icequakes triggered by the 2010 Maule earthquake in Chile
Nature Geoscience , 10.1038/NGEO2212 , 2014
Peng, Z., Walter, J., Aster, R., Nyblade, A., Wiens, D., Anandakrishnan, S.

The mantle transition zone beneath West Antarctica: Seismic evidence for hydration and thermal upwellings
Geochem. Geophys. Geosys., , 15, 10.1002/ 2014GC005588 , 2014
Emry, E., Nyblade, A., Julia, J., Anandakrishnan, S., Aster, R.C., Wiens, D.A., Huergta, A.D., Wilson, T.

Multiple scattering from icequakes at Erebus Volcano, Antarctica; Implications for imaging at glaciated volcanoes
J. Geophys. Research , 10.1002/2014JB011278 , 2014
Chaput, J., Campillo, M., Aster, R.C., Roux, P., Kyle, P.R., Knox, H.,

Imaging mantle structure and geodynamic processes beneath Antarctica using adaptively parameterized P-wave tomography
EPSL , Earth and PlanetaryScience Letters 408, 66-78 , 2014
Hansen, S., Graw, J., Kenyon, L., Nyblade, A., Wiens, D., Aster, R., Huerta, A., Anandakrishnan, S., Wilson, T.

The crustal thickness of West Antarctica
J. Geophys. Research , 119, 10.1002/2013JB010642 , 2014
Chaput, J., Aster, R., Huerta, A., Sun, X., Lloyd, A., Wiens, D., Nyblade, A., Anandakrishnan, S., Winberry, J.P., Wilson, T.

Upstairs-Downstairs: Supercontinents and large igneous provinces, are they related?
Int. Geol. Rev. , 10.1080/00206814.2014.963170 , 2014
Condie, K., Davaille, A., Aster, R., Arndt, N.

Upper mantle seismic anisotropy beneath the West Antarctic Rift System and surrounding region from shear wave splitting analysis
Geophys. J. Int. , 198, 414-429 , 2014
Accardo, N., Wiens, D., Hernandez, S., Aster, R., Nyblade, A., Huerta, A., Anandakrishnan, S., Wilson, T., Heeszel, D.

Multiple fluvial processes detected by riverside seismic and infrasound monitoring of a controlled flood in the Grand Canyon
Geoph. Res. Lett. , 40 Issue 18 , 2013
Schmandt, B., Aster, R., Scherler, D., Tsai, V., Karlstrom, K.

Internal structure of Erebus volcano, Antarctica imaged by high-resolution active-source seismic tomography and coda interferometry
J. Geophys. Research , 118 Issue 3 , 2013
Zandomeneghi, D., Aster, R., Kyle, P., Barclay, A., Chaput, J., Knox, H.

Parameter Estimation and Inverse Problems
Elsevier Academic Press , 360 pp. , 2013
Aster, R., Borchers, B., Thurber, C

Seismic detection of an active subglacial magmatic complex in Marie Byrd Land, Antarctica
Nature Geoscience , 6, 1031–1035 , 2013
Lough, A., Wiens, D., Barcheck, C.G., Anandakrishnan, S., Aster, R., Blankenship, D., Huerta, A., Nyblade, A., Young, D., Wilson, T.

Episodic zircon age spectra of orogenic granitoids: The supercontinent connection and continental growth
Precambrian Research , 180, Issues 3–4, 227-238 , 2010
Condie, K., Aster, R.

The great Sumatra-Andaman earthquake of 26 December 2004
Science , 308 no. 5725 pp. 1127-1133 DOI: 10.1126/science.1112250 , 2005
Lay, T., Kanamori, H., Ammon, C., Nettles, M., Ward, S., Aster, R., Beck, S., Bilek, S., Brudzinski, M., Butler, R., DeShon, H., Ekstrom, G., Satake, K., Sipkin, S.

Lithospheric structure of the Rio Grande rift
Nature , 433, 10.1038/nature03297 , 2005
Wilson, D., Aster, R., West, M., Ni, J., Grand, S., Gao, W., Baldridge, W.S., Semken, S.

Very long period oscillations of Mount Erebus Volcano
J. Geophys. Research , 108 Issue B11 , 2003
Aster. R., Mah, S., Kyle, P., McIntosh, W., Dunbar, N., Johnson, J., Ruiz, M., McNamara, S.


International Glaciological Society

American Association for the Advancement of Science

American Geophysical Union

Geological Society of America

Seismological Society of America