Jackie Caplan-Auerbach, PhD

She/Her/Hers, Associate Dean / Professor


Jackie is the Associate Dean of the college, as well as a professor in the Geology department.  Jackie’s undergraduate years were spent at Yale University where she earned degrees in both Physics and English.  She then spent six years as a high school physics teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area before moving to Honolulu to pursue graduate study.  In 2001 Jackie earned her Ph.D. in geophysics from the University of Hawai`i at Mānoa, after which she spent five years working for the Alaska Volcano Observatory, first at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and then as a Mendenhall Postdoc with the U.S. Geological Survey.  She has been at Western since 2006, teaching about topics ranging from introductory geology to earthquake seismology to mantle convection.  Her research focuses on the seismic and acoustic signals generated by volcanoes and landslides.  Most of the volcanoes she studies are in the undersea domain, and she is happiest when on the water. 

Educational & Professional Experience:

Ph.D. - University of Hawai`i at Mānoa, 2001

B.A. Physics and B.A. English - Yale University, 1989

Areas of Expertise

Seismology and acoustics of volcanic systems; marine geophysics; landslide seismicity.

Courses Taught

  • Introduction to Geophysics
  • Introduction to Seismology
  • Mantle Processes
  • Earthquakes
  • Geological Oceanography
  • Physical Geology
  • Introduction to Geology

Recent M.S. Students

Joel Brann:  The Mechanisms of Reversing Multiplets
Jesse Hutchinson:  Relocation and analysis of the 2007 Nechako, B.C., seismic swarm: Evidence for magmatic intrusion in the lower crust
Chelsea Mack: Quantifying submarine eruption flux from interpretation of hydroacoustic signals, West Mata Volcano
Dara Merz:  Seismicity and Velocity Structure of Lo'ihi Submarine Volcano, Hawai'I
Anton Ypma:  Combining gravity and seismic data to constrain Cascadia forearc structure

Research Advising Category