Aubreya Adams - Geology - Colgate University Skip Navigation

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2010 Ph.D. Geoscience - Pennsylvania State University
2004 B.S. Geology - University of Florida

Prior Professional Experience

  • Washington University in Saint Louis - Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences
  • 2014-2015 Research Associate; Lecturer
  • 2012-2014 Postdoctoral Research Associate
  • Chevron
  • 2010-2013 Development Geophysicist
  • 2006 Geophysical Intern

Teaching Interests

I teach classes about geology, natural hazards, plate tectonics, geophysics, the deep-Earth interior, and seismology.  Class I have taught at Colgate are listed below.

CORE176 - Natural Disasters: Science, Media, and Movies
GEOL105 - Megageology
GEOL190 - Evolution of Planet Earth
GEOL235 - Tectonics and Earth Structure
GEOL311 - Environmental and Exploration Geophysics
GEOL420 - Solid Earth: Geophysics
GEOL420 - Solid Earth: Plumes

Research Interests

My research interests include studying earthquake characteristics and studying the structure of Earth's crust and mantle using seismic waves created by earthquakes.  Much of my published works focus on areas of active deformation and volcanism in eastern and western Africa, as well as the structure of stable cratons in southern Africa.

My current projects include investigation of African tectonics and volcanism, studies of seismicity and structure in Alaska, imaging subduction near Fiji and Tonga, and characterization of seismicity in the New York.  I am also interested in working with students to investigate the shallow structure and geologic history of the central New York area.

Research Field Work

Seismic (ground motion) data is gathered using networks of instruments called seismometers.  Seismometers can measure movements of the ground even smaller than a nanometer, and can detect earthquakes from across the world!  During field work, my students, collaborators, and I bury these sensitive instrument in many locations across the area we are studying.  The seismometers then make continuous records of ground motion for a year or longer.

For my previous projects, I have conducted field work in Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, South Africa, Antarctica (South Pole Station and McMurdo Station), the Alaskan Peninsula, and the Adirondack Mountains.  Other projects require data collection from the bottom of the ocean, so I have also conducted field work aboard the NSF Research Vessel (RV) Oceanus, deploying Ocean Bottom Seismometers. 

In summer 2019, I will conduct field work on Kodiak Island and off-shore of the Alaskan Peninsula aboard the NSF RV-Skuliaq.  For details on field seasons, see my C.V..

Research station in the snow 1 Ol Doinyo Lengai, Tanzania Team members at station on Fishtail Point, Antarctica  Burying a seismometer Testing equipment with community members in Uganda Students making gravity measurements in South Africa   Aboard the Oceanus Preparations of an Ocean Bottom Seismometer Deployment of an Ocean Bottom Seismometer


A. Adams, J. Miller*, and N. Accardo* (2018), Relationships between lithospheric structures and rifting in the East African Rift System: A Rayleigh wave tomography study, ​Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, Vol. 19, 10, 3793-3810.

Graw, J.*, ​A. Adams​, S. Hansen, D. Wiens, L. Hackworth*, and Y. Park (2016), Upper mantle shear wave velocity structure beneath northern Victoria Land, Antarctica: Volcanism and uplift in the northern Transantarctic Mountains, ​Earth and Planetary Science Letters​, Vol. 449, 48-60.

Adams, A., D. Wiens, A. Nyblade, G. Euler, P. Shore, and R. Tibi (2015), Lithospheric instability and the source of the Cameroon Volcanic Line: Evidence from Rayleigh wave phase velocity tomography, Journal of Geophysical Research - Solid Earth, Vol. 120, 1708-1727.

O’Donnell, J. P., 
A. Adams, A. A. Nyblade, G. D. Mulibo*, and F. Tugume* (2013), The uppermost mantle shear wave velocity structure of eastern Africa from Rayleigh wave tomography: constraints of rift evolution, Geophysical Journal International, Vol. 194, iss. 2, 961-978.

Adams, A., Nyblade, A., and D. Weeraratne (2012), Upper mantle shear wave velocity structure beneath the East African Plateau: evidence for a deep, plateau-wide low velocity anomaly, Geophysical Journal International, Vol. 189, 123-142.

Adams, A. and A. Nyblade (2011), Shear wave velocity structure of the southern African upper mantle with implications for the uplift of southern Africa, Geophysical Journal International, Vol. 186, iss. 2, 808-824.
Adams, A. (2010), A seismic investigation of crust and upper mantle structure beneath the Zagros Mountains and the Southern and East African Plateaus, Ph.D. Dissertations, Pennsylvania State University.
Adams, A., R. Brazier, A. Nyblade, A. Rodgers, and A. Al-Amri (2009), Source Parameters for Moderate Earthquakes in the Zagros Mountains with Implications for the Depth Extent of Seismicity, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, Vol. 99, 2044-2049.

* indicates an undergraduate or graduate co-author