Donald Turcotte


I study the probabilities of occurrence and precursory warnings for a range of natural hazards including earthquakes, wild fires, floods, landslides, and avalanches.

In my view current approaches to the probabilistic assessment of these hazards are seriously flawed. For example, 100-year floods occur far more often than at about 100 year intervals.

Over the last 10 years the major discovery has been the application of the concepts of fractals and chaos to these problems. The holy grail is to have reasonably accurate earthquake forecasts.

About Don


EMAIL  turcotte (at) geology (dot) ucdavis (dot) edu

OFFICE 3rd floor Physics/Geology Building

PHONE  530-752-6808


MAIL  Dept of Geology, University of California at Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616


  1. 1.Self-organized criticality and scaling theory

  2. 2.Applied dynamical systems

  3. 3.Crustal deformation, seismicity, topography, and forest fires

  4. 4.Geodynamics

  5. 5.Mantle convection

  6. 6.Seismicity, volcanism, and mountain building

  7. 7.Planetary geology and geophysics


  1. 1.National Academy of Sciences

  2. 2.American Geophysical Union; William Bowie Award

  3. 3.Complexity Sciences Center: Faculty