Vashan Wright is an assistant professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego and a guest investigator at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Wright is a geophysicist who studies tectonics, paleoclimate, paleoseismicity, and earthquake-triggered hazards such as landslides, submarine slides, and tsunamis. He studies these geologic processes and natural hazards by examining sediments and rocks deposited in or beneath oceans, lakes, rivers, and beaches.

Wright examines sediments and rocks using seismic reflection and refraction profiles, which are tools that estimate the properties of the Earth’s subsurface from human-controlled sound waves. He also examines sediments and rocks using cores, aerial imagery, and x-rays. He combines data from these methods with numerical, experimental, and theoretical rock physics, fluid flow, and heat flow models to understand how sediments and rocks change or deform on both macro- (kilometer-scale) and microscopic scales after deposition. He then uses established principles of geology to determine whether any observed post-depositional changes to sediments and rocks are related to tectonic forces, paleoclimatic changes, paleoseismicity, and/or past earthquake-triggered hazards. His studies help us understand how and why the earth and other planets may respond to future hazards.

Wright earned his bachelor’s of science degree in geology and business from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich., and his doctoral degree in geophysics from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.

Updated April 2022