Justine Overacker smiling for a photo.

Justine Overacker

Ph.D. student, Geophysics


Justine Overacker graduated with her BS in Geophysics from the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) in May 2012 with academic minors in Geology, Hydrogeology, and Mathematics. After a short internship, she was recruited by the oil industry as a Field Geophysicist. She spent over 300 days a year aboard seismic vessels exploring for oil and gas resources offshore East Africa, West Africa, Nova Scotia, and the Gulf of Mexico, and training in exotic locations like Abu Dhabi, Norway, and Houston.  Justine returned home to Reno after the 2015 downturn, and transitioned into the role of electromagnetic geophysical technician collecting near-surface geophysical data for mineral and geothermal resources.  She returned to UNR in Fall 2016 to pursue her PhD in Geophysics.

At UNR, Justine works with Dr. Bill Hammond and the Nevada Geodetic Laboratory to study vertical crustal deformation in the United States using GPS data. Her research primarily uses a technique called GPS Imaging to resolve anomalous signals in the Pacific Northwest and Great Plains regions of the country.  She incorporates climatic, hydrologic, and near-surface geophysical data to further understanding of vertical crustal motions in these study areas.

As a graduate student, Justine has accepted two summer internships in geophysics. At UNAVCO in 2018, Justine’s project focused on GPS time series steps, testing various offset estimation strategies, and working to build a comprehensive step table using Plate Boundary Observatory and Nevada Geodetic Laboratory data.  At the Bureau of Reclamation in 2019, Justine acquired electromagnetic and seismic data in the field for dam and levee safety, conducted viability studies, and experimented with new remote sensing crack detection techniques.   Justine is an active member of the professional geoscience community, and is the president of the Nevada Resource Geoscientists, the joint student chapters of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists and the Society of Exploration Geophysicists.

Research interests

Geophysics, Geodesy, Near-Surface Geophysics, Plate Tectonics, Crustal Loading/Unloading, Hydrogeology


  • BS in Geophysics, University of Nevada-Reno, 2012