Shad O’Neel

Shad O’Neel

INSTAAR Affiliate

  • Research Geophysicist, USGS


  • PhD: University of Colorado Boulder, 2006

Contact Information


Glacier-climate interactions and sea level rise; small glaciers; glacier-generated seismicity; photogrammetry.

Research Interests

Glacier-climate interactions and sea level rise: Melting of glaciers and ice-sheets provides the largest eustatic contribution to global sea level rise. Terrestrial glaciers respond to temperature changes, but nonlinear dynamic processes at marine-terminating glaciers are important, yet poorly constrained. Such dynamic instabilities allow rapid flow and even faster iceberg calving, complicating estimates of sea level contributions.

Small glaciers: The world’s glaciers and ice caps, not the great ice sheets, are changing most rapidly and will have the largest and most immediate impact on Earth’s population.

Glacier-generated seismicity: Information pertaining to both flow and calving are stored in the seismograms produced by glaciers, yet these signals are poorly understood. Automatic event detection and time-series development, analysis of site and path effects, frequency-magnitude distributions are underway and serve to clarify the source physics of iceberg calving.

Photogrammetry: Dynamical information can be extracted from images acquired from spaceborne, airborne and terrestrial photography. Time-lapse sequences provide robust time series of change, and I am working on automatic processing algorithms to streamline data acquisition.




Åström, J. A., Vallot, D., Schäfer, M., Ethan WeltyShad O’Neel, Bartholomaus, T. C., Liu, Y., Riikilä, T. I., Zwinger, T., Timonen, J., Moore, J. C. 2014: Termini of calving glaciers as self-organized critical systems. Nature Geoscience, 7: 874-878. DOI: 10.1038/ngeo2290

McNabb, R. W., Hock, R., Shad O’Neel, Rasmussen, L. A., Ahn, Y., Braun, M., Conway, H., Herreid, S., Joughin, I., W. Tad Pfeffer, Smith, B. E., Truffer, M. 2012: Using surface velocities to calculate ice thickness and bed topography: A case study at Columbia Glacier, Alaska, USA. Journal of Glaciology, 58(212): 1151-1164. DOI: 10.3189/2012JoG11J249

West, M. E., Larsen, C. F., Truffer, M., Shad O’Neel, LeBlanc, L. 2010: Glacier microseismicity. Geology, 38(4): 319-322. DOI: 10.1130/G30606.1

Shad O’Neel, Larsen, C. F., Rupert, N., Hansen, R. 2010: Iceberg calving as a primary source of regional-scale glacier-generated seismicity in the St. Elias Mountains, Alaska. Journal of Geophysical Research Earth Surface, 115: F04034. DOI: 10.1029/2009JF001598

Walter, F., Shad O’Neel, McNamara, D., W. Tad Pfeffer, Bassis, J. N., Fricker, H. A. 2010: Iceberg calving during transition from grounded to floating ice: Columbia Glacier, Alaska. Geophysical Research Letters, 37: L15501. DOI: 10.1029/2010GL043201

Brunt, K. M., Fricker, H. A., Padman, L., Scambos, T. A., Shad O’Neel 2010: Mapping the grounding zone of the Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica, using ICESat laser altimetry. Annals of Glaciology, 51(55): 71-79.

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Theses & Dissertations