Department of Geology and Geophysics
1000 E. University Ave.
Laramie, WY 82071-2000
Office Phone: (307) 766-2427
Lab Phone: (307) 766-3363 Fax Phone: (307) 766-6679
1000 E. University Ave
Laramie, Wyoming 82071 Office Room No: ESB 3016
Geophysics, PhD, Stanford University, 1989
Geophysics, MS, Stanford University, 1985
Geoscience, BS, Pennsylvania State University, 1982
(*indicates graduate or post-doc advisee first author on project initiated under my supervision)
*Hornbach, M.J., D. Saffer, W.S. Holbrook, A.R. Gorman, H. Van Avendonk, and D. Lizarralde, 3D seismic imaging of the Blake Ridge methane hydrate province: evidence for large concentrated zones of gas hydrate and morphologically driven advection, Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 113, B07101, doi:10.1029/2007JB005392.
*Páramo, P., W. S. Holbrook, H. E. Brown, D. Lizarralde, J. Fletcher, P. Umhoefer, G. Kent, A. Harding, A. Gonzalez, and G. Axen, 2008, Seismic structure of the southern Gulf of California from Los Cabos block to the East Pacific Rise, J. Geophys. Res., 113, B03307, doi:10.1029/2007JB005113.
Wood, W.T., W.S. Holbrook, M.K. Sen, and P.L. Stoffa, Full waveform inversion of reflection seismic data for ocean temperature profiles, 2008, Geophysical Research Letters, 35, L04608, doi:10.1029/2007GL032359.
Lizarralde, D., G.J. Axen, H.E. Brown, J.M. Fletcher, A. González-Fernández, A.J. Harding, W.S. Holbrook, G.M. Kent, P. Paramo, F. Sutherland, and P.J. Umhoefer, 2007, Variation in styles of rifting in the Gulf of California, Nature, v. 448, p. 466–469 (26 July 2007), doi: 10.1038/nature06035.
Paull, C.K., W. Ussler III, and W.S. Holbrook, Assessing methane release from the colossal Storegga submarine landslide, 2007, Geophysical Research Letters 34(4), Art. No. L04601.
*Brown, H.E., W.S. Holbrook, M.J. Hornbach, and J. Nealon, 2006, Role of gas hydrate phase boundary in Storegga Slide, Norway, Marine Geology, v. 229, p. 179-186.
Holbrook, W.S., and I. Fer, Ocean internal wave spectra inferred from seismic reflection transects, 2005, Geophysical Research Letters, v. 32, L15604, doi:10.1029/2005GL023733.
*Nandi, P., W.S. Holbrook, S. Pearse, P. Páramo, and R.W. Schmitt, 2004, Seismic reflection imaging of Norwegian Sea water mass boundaries, Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 31, L23311, doi:10.1029/2004GL021325.
Holbrook, W.S., P. Páramo, S. Pearse, and R.W. Schmitt, 2003, Thermohaline fine structure in an oceanographic front from seismic reflection profiling, Science, v. 301, p. 821-824.
Hornbach, M.J., D.M. Saffer, and W.S. Holbrook, Critically Pressured Free Gas Reservoirs Below Gas Hydrate Provinces, Nature, v. 427, 142 - 144 (08 January 2004).
Nandi, P., W.S. Holbrook, S. Pearse, P. Páramo, and R.W. Schmitt, 2004, Seismic reflection imaging of Norwegian Sea water mass boundaries, Geophys. Res. Lett., vol. 31, L23311, doi:10.1029/2004GL021325.
Holbrook, W.S., P. Páramo, S. Pearse, and R.W. Schmitt, 2003, Thermohaline fine structure in an oceanographic front from seismic reflection profiling, Science, v. 301, p. 821-824. (See accompanying “Perspective” article by B. Ruddick, “Sounding out ocean fine structure,” on p. 772-773 of same issue.)
Holbrook, W.S., D. Lizarralde, I.A. Pecher, A.R. Gorman, K.L. Hackwith, M. Hornbach, and D. Saffer, 2002, Methane gas escape through sediment waves in a large methane hydrate province, Geology, v. 30, p. 467–470.
Holbrook, W.S., D. Lizarralde, S. McGeary, N. Bangs, and J. Diebold, 1999, Structure and composition of the Aleutian island arc and implications for continental crustal growth, Geology, vol. 27, pp. 31-34.
Geol 2005 – Introduction to Geophysics
Geol 2070 – Introduction to Oceanography
Geol 5180 – Reflection Seismology
Earth scientists have known for decades that two fundamentally different types of crust form the outer shell of the Earth: oceanic crust, that is thin, young, and topographically low, and continental crust, that is thick, old and topographically high. What we have not begun understanding until more recently is the structure of the Earth’s crust at the boundaries between continents and oceans. These transition zones - continental magins - are sculpted by plate tectonic processes. Important tectonic, magmatic and sedimentary processes occur at continental margins with consequences of direct human interest. For example, large subduction earthquakes, stratovolcanos in arcs, flood basalts on rifted margins, and sedimentary basins that contain much of the Earth’s fossil fuel reserves. In addition, continental margins host a large reservoir of potentially mobile carbon in the form of methane hydrate -- a solid form of methane gas + water that forms under high pressures and low temperatures, conditions common beneath the seafloor on margins.
Through our research, my students and I aim to elucidate those processes using geophysical methods. Our principal focus is on acquisition and analysis of marine and onshore reflection and refraction seismic data, but we work closely in interdisciplinary partnerships with colleagues specializing in geochemistry, petrology, geodynamics, and physical oceanography. At sea we acquire seismic reflection, ocean-bottom seismic refraction, gravity, magnetic, and bathymetric data across a continental margin. We analyze the data in the lab to create models of the deep structure and composition of the margin. Then interpret those models in terms of the relevant magmatic, tectonic, and/or oceanographic processes. Future projects will offer opportunities for field work both at sea and onshore, as well as the chance to learn and develop quantitative data analysis techniques.
Some of our recent expeditions include: