Ken Smith

Associate Director of the Nevada Seismological Laboratory


Dr. Smith received bachelor’s degrees in earth science from Indiana University and Boise State University and a Ph.D. in Geophysics/Earthquake-Seismology at UNR in 1991. His research and grad students have focused on the seismicity, earthquake source processes, and tectonics of the western Great Basin of Nevada and eastern California.

Dr. Smith manages the Nevada Seismic Network, mostly located in western Nevada and much eastern California. The network currently consists of about 200 seismograph stations integrated with a UNR owned high-speed wireless microwave communications network. Dr. Smith is PI of NSL’s statewide microwave full digital IP upgrade. He is responsible for fundraising to maintain network operations (State and USGS support provide only about 50% of the seismic network’s ~$1.25M/yr operational needs). He is the lead on NSL’s Department of Energy ‘Source Physics Experiment’ program; a DOE project to develop physics-based models of explosion sources for nuclear weapons discrimination.

Dr. Smith is Co-PI on many NSL technical programs (e.g., ESPCoR, Knowledge Fund, BLM Fire Monitoring, NSF Drone Research) and is lead in developing communications strategies for NV Remote Telemedicine initiatives with the UNR Med School and NV Tribal Members. He was the project manager for UNR’s Yucca Mountain Seismic Monitoring effort until that project ended in 2010, and if familiar with all aspects of the Yucca Mountain regulatory and science goals. Dr. Smith was a member of the Expert Panel convened to assess the Seismic Hazard at Yucca Mountain.

Professional certifications

  • Ph.D. Geophysics and Earthquake-Seismology, University of Nevada, Reno, 1991