Michael West

Alaska Earthquake Center
307C Elvey
Michael West is the State Seismologist for Alaska and director of the Alaska Earthquake Center. The center reports on roughly 30 thousand earthquakes each year under authorizations from the Alaska legislature and the U.S. Geological Survey. On average this includes a magnitude 5 or larger earthquake every week. West is based at the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He is a Research Associate Professor and maintains a research program with a strong emphasis on graduate student training. His research is rooted in observational methods with applications to earthquake swarms, volcanoes, earth structure and glaciers. West received a Ph.D. with distinction from Columbia University in 2001. He holds an undergraduate degree in Physics from Colorado College and attributes his teaching and outreach style to his years spent teaching high school. He serves on several professional committees tied to the Advanced National Seismic System, the Alaska Seismic Hazards Safety Commission, the Seismological Society of America and the IRIS academic seismology consortium. He and his wife, Krista, have three young boys and spend their free time taking advantage of the unique outdoor opportunities of interior Alaska.
Current Positions: 
State Seismologist, Research Associate Professor