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Andrea Donnellan's Picture
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
M/S 183-501
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, CA 91109

Andrea Donnellan
QuakeSim Principal Investigator

Andrea Donnellan is a geophysicist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Adjunct Assistant Professor (Research) of Earth Sciences at the University of Southern California. Andrea studies earthquakes and crustal deformation by integrating satellite technology with high performance computer models. She is Principal Investigator of NASA's QuakeSim project, as well as supercomputing, earthquake modeling, and UAVSAR projects. QuakeSim won NASA's Software of the Year Award in 2012. Donnellan has been Deputy Manager of the JPL's Science Division, Pre-Project Scientist of a mission to study natural hazards, ice sheets, and ecosystems, and NASA's Applied Sciences Program Area Co-Lead for Natural Disasters. She has conducted field studies in California, in Antarctica, on the Altiplano of Bolivia, in Mongolia, and on Variegated Glacier in Alaska. She has been a geophysicist at JPL since 1993. She received a bachelor's degree from the Ohio State University in 1986, with a geology major and mathematics minor. She received her master's and Ph.D. in geophysics from Caltech's Seismological Laboratory in 1988 and 1991 respectively and held a National Research Council postdoctoral fellowship at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. Donnellan received an M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Southern California in 2003. She was a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award, the MUSES of the California Science Center Woman of the Year Award, four NASA Space Act Awards, the Antarctic Service Medal, and was a finalist in the astronaut selection process three times.

  • Ph.D., Geophysics, California Institute of Technology (1991)
  • M.S., Computer Science, University of Southern California (2003)
  • M.S., Geophysics, California Institute of Technology (1988)
  • B.S., Geology, Ohio State University, with honors and distinction in geology (1986)

Research Interests
  • Natural hazard assessment using GPS and InSAR space technologies, and numerical modeling.
  • Pattern analysis of geodetic and seismic time series to understand the underlying dynamics of complex earthquake fault systems.
  • Numerical modeling to estimate the rheology of the crust, and fault characteristics and interactions using viscoelastic finite element and analytic elastic models.
  • Collection and interpretation of GPS data with incorporation of InSAR data to study plate tectonics crustal deformation, and the earthquake cycle.


QuakeSim Icon QuakeSim
Cyberinfrastructure for integrated modeling and analysis of geodetic imaging and other earthquake related data for understanding earthquake processes.

UAVSAR, a reconfigurable, polarimetric L-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR), is specifically designed to acquire airborne repeat track SAR data for differential interferometric measurements.

Professional Experience
  • Jet Propulsion Laboratory (1993-present)
    • Principal Research Scientist (2008-present)
    • NASA HQ Program Area Co-Lead for Natural Disasters (2009-2010)
    • QuakeSim Principal Investigator (2001-present)
    • Lead Scientist, InSAR, (2005-2007); DESDynI Science Lead (2007-2008)
    • Deputy Manager, Science Division (2002-2006)
    • Deputy Manager, Exploration Systems Autonomy Section (2000-2002)
    • Principal Researcher, Information and Computer Science, Advanced Technology R&D (2000-2000)
    • Supervisor, Data Understanding Systems Group (1999-2001)
    • Senior Researcher, Information and Computer Science, Advanced Technology R&D (1999-2000)
    • Research Scientist, Satellite Geodesy and Geodynamics Systems Group (1997-1999)
    • Member of Technical Staff, Satellite Geodesy and Geodynamics Systems Group (1993-1997)
  • Research Professor, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Southern California (1999-present)
  • Visiting Associate, Seismological Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, (1995-1996)
  • National Research Council Resident Research Associate, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (1991-1993)

Selected Awards
  • QuakeSim 2.0: NASA Software of the Year Award Co-Winner (2012)
  • Simplex V8: NASA Space Act Award (2012)
  • NASA Group Achievement Award for Response to the Gulf Oil Spill (2011)
  • GeoFESTv.4.8 NASA Space Act Award (2009)
  • MUSES California Science Center Foundation, Woman of the Year (2006)
  • Donnellan Glacier, Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names (2006)
  • NASA Space Act awards for QuakeSim, Simplex, and Disloc (2005)
  • Women at Work Medal of Excellence (2004)
  • Team bonus award for QuakeSim Parallel GeoFest development (2004)
  • NASA Space Act Award for GeoFESTv.4.3 finite element software (2004)
  • Women in Aerospace Award for Outstanding Achievement (2003)
  • JPL Lew Allen Award for Excellence (2000)
  • Southern California Earthquake Center Outreach Award for Education (1998)
  • Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (1996)
  • National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship (1991-1993)
  • Outstanding Student Paper Award, Geodesy Section, Fall AGU Meeting (1990)
  • Amoco Scholarship (1985)
  • Undergraduate Research Scholarship, Ohio State University (1985-1986)
  • Ohio State University Field Camp Scholarship (1985)
  • Outstanding Student Award, Ohio State University Field Camp (1985)
  • Antarctic Service Medal (1985)

Selected Publications
  1. Donnellan, A., J. Parker, S. Hensley, M. Pierce, J. Wang, J. Rundle, UAVSAR Observations of Triggered Slip on the Imperial, Superstition Hills, and East Elmore Ranch Faults Associated with the 2010 M 7.2 El Mayor - Cucapah Earthquake, Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 15, doi:10.1002/2013GC005120, 2014.
  2. Donnellan, A, J Parker, E De Jong, M Pierce, G Fox, D McLeod, J Rundle, L Grant Ludwig, A Distributed Approach to Computational Earthquake Science: Opportunities and Challenges, Computing In Science And Engineering, 2012.
  3. Rundle, J.B., J.R. Holliday, M. Yoder, M.K. Sachs, A. Donnellan, D.L. Turcotte, K.F. Tiampo, W. Klein, L.H. Kellogg, Earthquake precursors: activation or quiescence, Geophys. J. Int., 187, 225-236, DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-246X.2011.05134.x, 2011.
  4. Donnellan, A. and B. Luyendyk, GPS Evidence for a Coherent Plate and for Postglacial Rebound in Marie Byrd Land, West Antarctica, Global and Planetary Change 42, 305-311, 2004.
  5. Granat, R., and A. Donnellan, Deterministic annealing hidden Markov models for geophysical data exploration, PAGEOPH, 2271-2284, 2002.
  6. Donnellan, A. and G. A. Lyzenga, Fault afterslip and upper crustal relaxation following the Northridge earthquake, J. Geophys. Res., 103, 21,285-21,297, 1998.
  7. Bawden, G., A. Donnellan, L. Kellogg, D. Dong, J. Rundle, Geodetic measurements of seven decades of hortizontal strain near the White Wolf fault, Kern County California: I. Observations, J. Geophys. Res., 102, 4957-4976, 1997.
  8. Grant, L. B., and A. Donnellan, 1855 and 1991 surveys of the San Andreas fault: Implications for fault mechanics, Bull. Seism. Soc. Am., 84, 241-246, 1994.
  9. Bills, B. G., S. L. de Silva, D. R. Currey, R. S. Emenger, K. D. Lillquist, A. Donnellan, and C. B. Worden, Hydro-isostatic deflection and tectonic tilting in the central Andes: Initial results of a GPS survey of Lake Minchin, Geophys. Res. Lett., 21, 293-296, 1994.
  10. Donnellan, A., B., H. Hager, and R. W. King, Discrepancy between geologic and geodetic deformation rates in the Ventura basin, Nature, 366, 333-336, 1993.

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