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Geological Sciences and Engineering
College of Science

Graham Kent, Ph.D.

Professor & Director, Nevada Seismological Laboratory

Kent Graham

Contact Information


  • Ph.D. 1992, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, San Diego, CA
  • B.S. 1985, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA


Dr. Graham M. Kent is the Director of the Nevada Seismological Laboratory and Professor in the Department of Geological Sciences and Engineering at the University of Nevada, Reno. Previously, Graham was a Research Geophysicist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and had been Director of the Visualization Center at Scripps from 2001-2009.

Dr. Kent is a native of Lake Tahoe, California, where he graduated from South Tahoe High School in 1980. He attended San Diego State University, where he studied Geophysics and graduated Valedictorian of the Class of 1985. Sooner thereafter, he entered graduate school at Scripps Institution of Oceanography receiving his Ph.D. in 1992.

After a 4-year-long appointment at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Graham returned to Scripps to continue his work in geophysics, with an emphasis toward seismic studies of extensional tectonics, ranging from magma chambers beneath mid-ocean ridges to fault hazards at Lake Tahoe.

More recently, he led an effort to use advanced visualization techniques to study faulting and volcanic systems. He is married to Stephanie Kent, a Tahoe native, and has two children, Matthew and Christine. Graham was also a NASA Astronaut Finalist, Class of 1996.

Honors & Awards

  • Valedictorian, Class of ‘85, San Diego State University
  • Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, 1985
  • Post Doctoral Scholar, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 1992
  • Finalist, NASA Astronaut Candidate, 1995/6

Major Research Interests

Seismic Reflection Techniques, Seismic Instrumentation (OBSIP), 3-D Visualization, Mid-Ocean Ridge Dynamics, Rifted Continental Margins, Walker Lane Tectonics, Lake Tahoe Geology/Climate/Hydrology

Research and/or Professional Experience

  • 2009-present: Director, Nevada Seismological Laboratory, UNR
  • 2009-present: Professor, DGSE, Mackay School of Earth Sciences and Engineering, UNR
  • 2002-2009: Director, Visualization Center at Scripps, IGPP/UCSD
  • 2002-2009 Research Geophysicist, IGPP/UCSD
  • 2000-2002: Associate Research Geophysicist, IGPP/UCSD
  • 1998-present: Assistant Research Geophysicist, IGPP/UCSD
  • 1996-present: Assistant Project Scientist/IGPP Scholar, UCSD
  • 1994-1996: Assistant Scientist, Department of Geology & Geophysics, WHOI
  • 1992-1996: Postdoctoral Scholar, Department of Geology & Geophysics, WHOI
  • 1987-1992: Assistant Researcher, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD
  • 1985: Geophysicist (summer-hire), UNOCAL, Ventura, CA
  • 1984: Geophysicist (summer-hire), Getty Oil Company, Bakersfield, CA

Synergistic Activities:

Director, Visualization Center at Scripps; Member, Marcus Langseth Steering and Oversight Committee (UNLOS); Member, Lithosphere PPG Committee (ODP). Member, Future of Marine Multichannel Seismics for the Next Decade, NSF

Recent Collaborators & Other Activities:

Gary Axen, Jeff Babcock, Neal Driscoll, John Fletcher, Antonio Gonzalez, Alistair Harding, Steve Holbrook, Dan Lizarralde, John Orcutt, Satish Singh, Larry Smarr, Paul Umhoefer, Stephen Arrowsmith, Robert Karlin, Gordon Seitz, Rob Baskin, Danny Brothers, Debi Kilb, Ken Smith, John Louie, and Glenn Biasi.

Doctoral Advisors:

John Orcutt, University of California, San Diego; Alistair Harding, University of California, San Diego

Postdoctoral Advisor:

Robert S. Detrick, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Ph.D. Students Advised:

Stephen A. Hussenoeder (WHOI), Eric Hallenborg (Scripps/UCSD), Fiona Sutherland (Scripps/UCSD), Allison Jacobs-Dingler, Jeffrey Dingler (Scripps/UCSD), Danny Brothers (Scripps/UCSD).


  • Brothers, D. S., N. W. Driscoll, G. M. Kent, A. J. Harding. J. M. Babcock and R. L. Baskin, Tectonic evolution of the Salton Sea inferred from seismic reflection data, Nature Geosciences, DOI:10.1038/NGEO590, 1-4, 590, 2009.
  • Dingler, J., G. Kent, N. Driscoll, G. Seitz, J. Babcock, A. Harding, B. Karlin, and C. Goldman, A high-resolution seismic CHIRP investigation of active normal faulting across the Lake Tahoe basin, California-Nevada, Bull. Geol. Soc. Am., pp. 1089-1107, v. 121, doi:10.1130/B26244.1 , 2009.
  • Lizarralde, D., G. J. Axen, H. E. Brown, J. M. Fletcher, A. Gonzalez-Fernadez, A. J. Harding, W. S. Holbrook, G. M. Kent, P. Paramo, F. Sutherland and P. J. Umhoefer, Variations in styles of rifting in the Gulf of California, Nature, 466-469, doi:10.1038/nature06035, 2007
  • Kent, G. M., J. A. Babcock, N. W. Driscoll, A. J. Harding, G. G. Seitz, J. A. Dingler, J. V. Gardner, C. R. Goldman, A. C. Heyvaert, P. Gayes, R. Karlin, L. A. Mayer, C. W. Morgan, L. A. Owen, R. C. Richards, A 60 k.y. record of extension across the western boundary of the Basin and Range Province: Estimate of slip rates from offset shoreline terraces and a catastrophic slide beneath Lake Tahoe, Geology, 33, 365-368, 2005.
  • Kent, G. M., Singh, S. C., Harding, A. J., Sinha, M. C., Orcutt, J. A., Barton, P. J., White, R. S., Bazin, S., Hobbs, R. W., Tong, C. H., and Pye, J. W., Evidence from three-dimensional seismic reflectivity images for enhanced melt supply beneath mid-ocean-ridge discontinuities, Nature, 614-618, 406, 2000.

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