Sam Hansen

Samantha E. Hansen

George Lindahl III Endowed Professor
Undergraduate Program Director


  • Ph.D., Geology and Geophysics, The University of California, Santa Cruz, 2007
  • M.S., Geology and Geophysics, The University of Wisconsin, 2002
  • B.S., Geological Engineering, The University of Wisconsin, 2000

Research Areas

  • Geophysics, Tectonics, and Structural Geology


Research Interests

My research is driven by the underlying goal to advance our understanding of fundamental geodynamic processes, such as volcanism, mountain building, continental rifting, and craton formation. To this end, I employ a wide range of geological and geophysical tools emphasizing earthquake seismology, active tectonics, and the analysis of seismic data to investigate structure and to infer associated Earth processes. Past and current research projects have focused on a variety of different geographic locations including Hawaii, Costa Rica, Saudi Arabia, Africa, Greece, and Antarctica.

Research Group Members

  • Ashish Kumar, M.S.
  • Hesam Saeidi, Ph.D.
  • Sarah Carson, M.S. (graduated: December 2018)
  • Jordan Graw, Ph.D. (graduated: May 2017)
  • Greg Brenn, M.S. (graduated: December 2016)
  • Lindsey Kenyon, M.S. (graduated: December 2014)

Courses Taught

  • GEO 101: The Dynamic Earth
  • GEO 407/507: Seismology
  • GEO 435/535/635: Honors and Graduate Seminar in Geology
  • GEO 542: Geodynamics

Selected Publications

See CV at for a full list of publications

  • S.E. Hansen, S.E. Carson, E.J. Garnero, S. Rost, and S. Yu, Investigating Ultra-low Velocity Zones in the Southern Hemisphere using an Antarctic Dataset, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 536, doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2020.116142, 2020. Hansen_etal_EPSL_2020.pdf
  • S.E. Hansen, C.P. Evangelidis, and G.A. Papadopoulos, Imaging Slab Detachment within the Western Hellenic Subduction Zone, Geochem. Geophys. Geosys., 20, 895-912, doi: 10.1029/2018GC007810, 2019. Hansen_etal_Gcubed_2019.pdf
  • Brenn, G.R., S.E. Hansen, and Y. Park, Variable thermal loading and uplift along the Transantarctic Mountains, Antarctica, Geology, 45, doi: 10.1130/G38784.1, 2017.  Brenn_etal_Geology_2017.pdf (420 downloads)
  • Graw, J.H., S.E. Hansen, C. Langston, B. Young, A. Mostafanejad, and Y. Park, Assessment of Crustal and Upper Mantle Velocity Structure by Removing the effect of an ice layer on the P-wave response: An application to Antarctic seismic studies, BSSA, 107, doi: 10.1785/0120160262, 2017. Graw_etal_BSSA_2017.pdf (396 downloads)
  • Graw, J.H. and S.E. Hansen, Upper Mantle Seismic Anisotropy Beneath the Northern Transantarctic Mountains, Antarctica from PKS, SKS, and SKKS Splitting Analysis, Geochem. Geophys. Geosys., 18, doi: 10.1002/2016GC006729, 2017.  Graw_Hansen_G-cubed_2017.pdf (423 downloads)
  • Graw, J.H., A.N. Adams, S.E. Hansen, D.A. Wiens, L. Hackworth, and Y. Park, Upper mantle shear wave velocity structure beneath northern Victoria Land, Antarctica: Volcanism and uplift in the northern Transantarctic Mountains, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 449, 48-60, doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2016.05.026, 2016.  Graw_etal_2016.pdf (614 downloads)
  • Hansen, S.E., L.M. Kenyon, J.H. Graw, Y. Park, and A.A. Nyblade, Crustal Structure beneath the Northern Transantarctic Mountains and Wilkes Subglacial Basin: Implications for Tectonic Origins, J. Geophys. Res., 121, 812-825, doi: 10.1002/2015/JB012325, 2016.  SHansen_JGR_2016.pdf (451 downloads)
  • Ramirez, C., A.A. Nyblade, S.E. Hansen, D.A. Wiens, S. Anandakrishnan, R.C. Aster, A.D. Huerta, P.J. Shore, and T. Wilson, Crustal and Upper Mantle Structure beneath Ice-Covered Regions in Antarctica from S-wave Receiver Functions and Implications for Heat Flow, Geophys. J. Int., 204, 1636-1648, doi: 10.1093/gji/ggv542, 2016. Ramirez_GJI_2016.pdf (471 downloads)
  • Hansen, S.E., A. Reusch, T. Parker, D. Bloomquist, P. Carpenter, J.H. Graw, and G.R. Brenn, The Transantarctic Mountains Northern Network (TAMNNET): Deployment and Performance of a Seismic Array in Antarctica, Seism. Res. Lett., 86, 1636-1644, doi: 10.1785/0220150117, 2015.  SHansen_SRL_2015.pdf (467 downloads)


Graduate Student Position focused on East Antarctic Seismology

I am seeking a motivated student who is interested in pursuing graduate studies in earthquake seismology.  Full-time student support is available starting Fall 2021 to assist with projects focused on East Antarctic tectonics and seismicity (associated with NSF award 1914698).  Possible research topics include, but are not limited to, seismic tomography, methods for Earth model comparison, and seismic event detection.  Ph.D. applicants are preferred, but M.S. applicants are also welcome to apply.  A strong background in mathematics and physics as well as excellent communication skills are required.  Prior research experience and computer programming skills are beneficial.

Interested applicants should send their curriculum vitae and cover letter to  Candidates should also follow the application procedures outlined by the UA Graduate School (, and applications received by January 15, 2021 will receive priority.  Applicants from underrepresented and diverse backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply.