Stanford University

Mary Lou Zoback

Adjunct Professor, Geophysics
Mary Lou Zoback is a seismologist and Consulting Professor in the Geophysics Department at Stanford University. From 2006-2011 she was Vice President for Earthquake Risk Applications with Risk Management Solutions, a private catastrophe modeling firm serving the insurance industry. In that role she utilized the company’s commercial risk models to explore the societal role of earthquake insurance, and to quantify the costs and benefits of disaster management and risk reduction activities.

Zoback previously was a senior research scientist at the USGS in Menlo Park, CA where she served as Chief Scientist of the Western Earthquake Hazards team. Her research interests include the relationship between active faulting, deformation and state of stress in the earth’s crust, quantifying earthquake likelihood, and characterizing natural hazard risk.

Dr. Zoback has served on numerous national committees and panels on topics ranging from increasing the Nation’s resilience to disasters, defining the next generation of Earth observations from space, storage of high-level radioactive waste, facilitating interdisciplinary research, and science education. From 1997-2000 she was a member of the National Research Council’s Board on Radioactive Waste Management. In 2012 she was appointed to the U. S. Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board by President Obama.

In 1995 she was elected a member of the U. S. National Academy of Sciences. She is a member of the American Geophysical Union, the Seismological Society of American, and is a past President of the Geological Society of America. Zoback is also past chair of the Advisory Committee for San Francisco’s Community Action Plan for Seismic Safety (CAPSS) program. She is currently a member of the National Academies' Resilient America Roundtable and the Board on Energy and Environmental Systems.
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