Biographical Information for Peter L. Ward
Peter L. Ward was educated at Noble & Greenough School (1961), Dartmouth College (BA in Geophysics, 1965) and Columbia University (Ph.D. in Seismology, 1970). He began working on active volcanoes in 1963 in Alaska. His Ph. D. thesis was on a new interpretation of the geology of Iceland based on studies of small earthquakes and on the relationship of these earthquakes to volcanoes and geothermal power sources. He worked 27 years with the United States Geological Survey on volcanoes, earthquakes, and plate tectonics. In the early 1970s he developed a prototype global volcano surveillance system using the ERTS satellite to collect data from ground instruments on volcanoes through-out the western U.S., Central America, and Iceland. In 1975, he became chief of the Branch of Seismology, a group of 140 scientists and staff. He helped sell to Congress, develop and guide the new U. S. National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program in 1977-1978. In 1990, he wrote and produced a 24-page magazine about living safely with earthquakes. Editions in English, Spanish, Chinese and Braille were distributed primarily in 41 Sunday-morning newspapers throughout Northern California to 3.3 million people, winning him two national awards. His major publications in the 1990s explored the relationship between volcanoes and other geologic features of western North America with the motion of plates in the northeastern Pacific Ocean. This led to significant new ideas about the origins and nature of volcanoes, granites, silicic volcanic provinces, flood basalts, and volcanic hot spots. He currently lives in Jackson, Wyoming, continuing his research on the effects of volcanoes on man. See www.tetontectonics.org for more detail.