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Joshua Russell

Joshua Russell

Joshua Russell

Pronouns: he/him
Assistant Professor of Seismology


Earth and Environmental Sciences
215 Heroy Geology Laboratory


Ph.D. Earth & Environmental Sciences, Columbia University, 2021

M.Phil. Earth & Environmental Sciences, Columbia University, 2019

M.A. Earth & Environmental Sciences, Columbia University, 2017

B.S. Physics (minor: Mathematics), University of Missouri – Columbia, 2015

Social/Academic Links

Courses Taught

EAR 105 – Earth Science

Biographic Overview

Joshua Russell is an Assistant Professor of seismology in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. His research utilizes measurements of ground vibrations from seismic waves to image Earth’s interior, illuminating its structure, composition, and dynamics. This involves collecting new datasets from unexplored reaches of the globe as well as developing leading-edge computational and analytical tools for imaging Earth’s properties. He teaches courses in Earth Science, earthquake seismology, and geophysical imaging and is a member of Syracuse University’s Energy and Environment Research Cluster.

Research Interests

My research involves using seismic waves to image the crust and mantle to investigate Earth’s tectonic processes. My work targets fundamental questions regarding:

- structure and evolution of tectonic plates

- dynamics of extensional environments (mid-ocean ridges, continental rifts)

- scale/vigor of mantle convection and its impact on the lithosphere

- abundance of melt and volatiles in Earth’s mantle and their role in tectonic processes

To address these questions, my group collects new datasets from unexplored regions of the world to map temperature, composition, and flow in the mantle beneath. Much of this work takes place in the oceans, which cover most of our planet and span the entire plate lifecycle but are only sparsely instrumented. My group develops open-source tools for imaging seismic wavespeed, attenuation, and anisotropy that incorporate information from disciplines such as mineral physics and petrology to quantify the state of the mantle and its dynamics. State-of-the-art high performance computing facilities at SU support this work, and students in my group develop computational and analytical skills that are highly valued by industry.

In addition to broadband seismology, I also have interest in collecting seismic data from fiber-optic cables and high-density nodal arrays and using those observations in innovative ways to investigate the interactions between the hydrosphere, cryosphere, atmosphere, and solid earth.

Research Specializations

Geophysics, seismic imaging, tectonics, ocean-bottom seismology, inverse theory

Honors and Awards

National Science Foundation EAR Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2021–2022

AGU Outstanding Student Presentation Award, 2019

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, 2015–2018