Jon Major

My research focuses on hydrological hazards associated with volcanic eruptions and landscape responses to large inputs of sediment, including from dam removals. Projects focus on: (1) identifying hydrogeomorphic processes altered by volcanic disturbance; (2) evaluating hydrogeomorphic consequences; and (3) quantifying characteristic hydrogeomorphic response times and durations.


Google scholar profile:



  • University of Dayton, B.S., 1980, Geology
  • The Pennsylvania State University, M.S., 1984, Geology
  • University of Washington, Ph.D., 1996, Geology


Professional Experience

  • Scientist-in-Charge, USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory, 2021–present
  • Research hydrologist, USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory, 1997–2021
  • Hydrologist, USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory, 1993–1997
  • Geologist, USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory, 1984–1993
  • Hydrologic field assistant, technician, USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory, 1982–1984


Professional Society Memberships:

  • Geological Society of America
  • American Geophysical Union
  • International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of Earth's Interior (IAVCEI)
  • American Avalanche Association (Member affiliate)



  • Fellow, Geological Society of America (GSA)
  • E.B. Burwell Award, GSA, 1991
  • University of Dayton Alumni Special Achievement Award, 1999
  • Kirk Bryan Award, GSA, 2008
  • DOI Superior Service Award, 2018



  • Associate editor, Geological Society of America Bulletin, 2000-2011
  • Associate editor, Journal of Geophysical Research–Earth Surface, 2010-2014
  • Review editor, Frontiers in Volcanology, 2014-present
  • Co-editor, Geological Society of America Special Paper 375, Natural Hazards in El Salvador
  • Co-editor, Debris Flow Hazards Mitigation--Mechanics, Prediction, and Assessment: Proceedings of 4th International Conference on Debris Flow Hazards Mitigation (Millpress)
  • Chief guest editor, Andean Geology issue focused on eruption of Chaitén Volcano (2013, v. 40(2))


Other professional service:

  • Panel member, GSA Quaternary Geology and Geomorphology (QG&G) Division, 2002-2004
  • Secretary, GSA QG&G Division, 2006-2012
  • Member, International Organizing Committee, International Debris Flow Hazards Mitigation Conferences (DFHM), 2008-2015
  •    Chair, DFHM IOC, 2008-2012
  • Co-chair of local planning committee for IAVCEI 2017 Scientific Assembly, Portland, OR.



My research publications can be parsed among various disciplinary studies. A full listing can be found on my Google Scholar profile (see link above) and under the publications tab listing below. Publication topics include:

  • Landslides, debris flows, and slurry rheology
  • Volcanic eruptions and volcaniclastic processes (lahars, pyroclastic flows)
  • Hydrogeomorphic responses to eruptions
  • Geomorphic and ecologic responses to dam removals
  • Photogrammetric analyses of eruptive processes