Earth and Environmental Sciences Faculty

John E. Ebel


Senior Research Scientist, Weston Observatory


My research interests are in the areas of earthquake hazard, earthquake source mechanisms, earthquake forecasting, wave propagation studies and determination of lithospheric structure.  Since 1981 I have supervised the operations of the New England Seismic Network of Weston Observatory of Boston College, which spans the six New England states and is used to detect, locate, catalog and study all earthquakes that occur in New England and vicinity. My research has focused on studying the causes and effects of earthquakes in New England and vicinity, although I have also published papers on earthquake activity in other parts of the eastern United States and Canada, California, Europe, Mexico and the southwest Pacific. I also conduct extensive research on methods for earthquake hazard computation and earthquake forecasting. These research efforts have resulted in the publication of one book and over 80 scientific papers, over 150 professional talks, and with numerous technical reports submitted to government agencies or private firms. My current and recent students have conducted research on earthquake source mechanisms, new methods for earthquake depth computations, earthquake statistics and earthquakes induced by oil and gas production.

Current Graduate Students and Projects
  • Yueqian Wang: 
  • Hong Cai: An Analysis of the Fractal Dimensions of Fault Ruptures and Earthquake Magnitudes (M.S.)
Recent M.S. Alumni and Projects
  • Sean Kondas: A Study of the 2015 Plainfield, CT Earthquake Swarm: A Possible Case of Quarry-Induced Earthquake Activity (M.S.)
  • Ian Cooper: Analyzing Seismic Waveforms at Regional Seismic Stations to Find the Focal Depths of Earthquakes in New England and Vicinity (M.S.)
  • Nawa Dahal: Field and microstructural constraints on deformation conditions and shear zone kinematics in the Burlington Mylonite Zone, Massachusetts (Ph.D. in Physics, 2019)
Selected Recent Publications (*BC student co-authors)
  • Ebel, J.E., M.C. Chapman, W.-Y. Kim and M. Withers, Current status and future of regional seismic network monitoring in the central and eastern United States, Seism. Res. Lett.,, 2020.
  • Jacobi, R.D., and J.E. Ebel, Seismotectonic implications of the Berne earthquake swarms west-southwest of Albany, New York, Lithosphere,, 2019.
  • Ebel, J.E., New England Earthquakes: The Surprising History of Seismic Activity in the Northeast, Globe-Pequot Press, Guilford, Connecticut, 291 pp., ISBN 978-1-4930-3577-9, 2019.
  • Ebel, J.E., and J.C. Starr*, A geophysical and field survey in central New Hampshire to search for the source region of the 1638 earthquake, Seism. Res. Lett.,, 2018.
  • Monecke, K., F.G. McCarthy, B. Hubeny, J.E. Ebel, D.J. Brabander, S. Kielb, E. Howey, G. Janigian, and J. Pentesco, The 1755 Cape Ann earthquake recorded in lake sediments of eastern New England – an interdisciplinary paleoseismic approach, Seism. Res. Lett.,, 2018.
  • Napoli, V.J.*, and J.E. Ebel, Relative location analysis and moment tensor inversion of the 2012 Gulf of Maine Earthquake Swarm, Seism. Res. Lett.,, 2017.