Marcus Bursik

professor flerf


PhD, Geology, California Institute of Technology – 1989

413 Hochstetter Hall
(716) 645-4265


Volcanic and geologic hazards, plumes, tephrochronology, tectonics, mapping

Research Interests

I am interested in working with students to help them understand surface processes, mostly volcanic. At the undergraduate level, we often work together on independent study projects that develop a technical expertise, and result in a tangible product that can be added to a resume. At the graduate level, we work together to develop Masters or PhD theses that demonstrate technical expertise and excellence, as well as solve problems important to society. 

Course Offerings

  • GLY 106 – Introduction to Field Mapping
  • GLY 312 – Surface Processes and Hydrology I
  • GLY 326 – Structural Geology and Global Tectonics
  • GLY 407 – Geologic Field Training
  • GLY 477/577 – Geological Fluid Dynamics
  • GLY 478/578 – Advanced Field Methods – Explosive Voclanism of Colima Volcano
  • GLY 499 – Independent Study
  • GLY 599 – Supervised Teaching
  • GLY 633 – Graduate Research
  • GLY 700 – Thesis Guidance

Research Interests

Explosive volcanism, tephra stratigraphy, volcanotectonics, Mono-Inyo Craters; geological fluid dynamics, volcanic plumes, avalanches, pyroclastic flows, Niagara Falls

Current Students

  • Qingyuan Yang – PhD – Development of isopach maps and volume estimates
  • David Hyman – PhD – TBD
  • Radhika Sangani – MS – Seismic reflection study of Mono Lake, CA, USA
  • Khaled Rahimi – MS – TBD
  • Mackenzie Adamson – MS – TBD
  • TJ Scialo – MS – TBD
  • Martin Derby - PhD - TBD - Landslide monitoring using multiple remote sensing technologies

Recent Former Students

  • Matthew Williams – MS (2015) – Pyroclastic flow deposits of volcan Azufral, Colombia.
  • Qingyuan Yang – MS (2015) – Thesis title: “A new method to model thickness distribution and volume of tephra deposits”; Current PhD student
  • Ludi Xiao – MA (2015) – Project title: “Use of hydrothermal alteration in landslide hazard assessment: Mammoth Mountain, California, USA”; Current Changjiang Institute of Surveying, Planning, Design and Research, PRC
  • Leandra Marshall – MA (2015) – Project title: “Geomorphologic investigation and qualitative laboratory analog experiments of the formation of Thousand Lakes Volcano, Shasta County, Northern California”; Current intern, Craters of the Moon Natl. Monument
  • Dr. Solene Pouget – PhD (2014) – Dissertation title: “Tephra: Field, theory and application”; Darwin VAAC†
  • Timothy O’Brien – MS (2013) – Thesis title: “Correlation of lava flows on Cascade volcanoes: Tool development and example from Burney Spring Mountain, California.”; Current PhD student at University of Rochester.
  • Kevin Kersten – MS (2013) – Thesis title: “A disarticulated lava cone, Burney Spring Mountain, Shasta County, USA: implications for extensional tectonics in the southern Cascades.”; Current well site Geologist at Diversified Well Logging LLC.
  • Robert Dennen – MS (2011) – Thesis title: “Dome collapse and block-and-ash flow emplacement, Mono Craters, California.”; Currently a PhD student at University of Texas, Austin.; Also participated in the INVOGE program.
  • Dr. Shannon Kobs-Nawotniak – PhD (2009) – Dissertation title: “Modeling Particle Motion and Near-Vent Deposition in Explosive Volcanic Eruptions.”; Currently employed by Idaho State University as an Assistant Professor (tenure-track).
  • Sara Hanson-Hedgecock – MS (2009) – Thesis title: “Improvement of an intelligent system to aid in lithostratigraphic and geochemical correlation, Mono and Inyo Tephras, California.”; Finished a PhD at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2013).; Currently employed by Schlumberger as a Microseismic Geophysicist.

Recent Publications

Pouget, Solene, Marcus Bursik, and Galina Rogova. “Tephra redeposition and mixing in a Late‐glacial hillside basin determined by fusion of clustering analyses of glass‐shard geochemistry.” Journal of Quaternary Science 29, no. 8 (2014): 789-802.

Stefanescu, E. R., A. K. Patra, M. Bursik, M. Jones, R. Madankan, E. B. Pitman, S. Pouget et al. “Fast Construction of Surrogates for UQ Central to DDDAS–Application to Volcanic Ash Transport.” Procedia Computer Science 29 (2014): 1227-1235.

M. Bursik, K. Sieh, A. Meltzner. Deposits of the most recent eruption in the Southern Mono Craters, California: Description, interpretation and implications for regional marker tephras. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 2014, 275, 114–131.

R. Dennen, M. Bursik, O. Roche. Dome collapse mechanisms and block-and-ash flow em- placement dynamics inferred from deposit and impact mark analysis, Mono Craters, CA. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 2014, 276, 1–9.

M. Marcaida, M. Mangan, J. Vazquez, M. Bursik, M. Lidzbarski. Geochemical fingerprinting of Wilson Creek formation tephra layers (Mono Basin, CA) using titanomagnetite compositions. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 2014, 273, 1-14, DOI: 10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2013.12.008

G. L. Paul ́ın, M. Bursik, J. L. Hubp, L. M. P. Mej ́ıa, F. A. Quesada. A GIS method for landslide inventory and susceptibility mapping in the R ́ıo El Estado watershed, Pico de Orizaba volcano, M ́exico. Natural Hazards 2014, 71(1), 1–13.

S. Pouget, M. Bursik, J. A. Cort ́es, C. Hayward. Use of principal component analysis for identification of Rockland and Trego Hot Springs tephras in the Hat Creek Graben, northeastern California, USA. Quaternary Research 2014, 81, 125–137.

M. Bursik, K. Sieh. Digital database of the Holocene tephras of the Mono-Inyo craters, California. USGS Digital Data Series 758 2013.

T. O’Brien, K. Kersten, M. Bursik, D. Champion. Paleomagnetism: A geophysical tool for bedrock mapping and the assessment of fault kinematics in volcanic terrains, experience from Burney Spring Mountain, NE California.  In 26th Symposium on the Application of Geophysics to Engineering and Environmental Problems 2013 (SAGEEP 2013), Environmental and Engineering Geophysical Society, Curran Associates, Inc., Red Hook, NY, p. 515—522

R. Madankan, S. Pouget, P. Singla, M. Bursik, J. Dehn, M. Jones, A. Patra, M. Pavolonis, E. Pitman, T. Singh, et al.. Computation of probabilistic hazard maps and source parameter estimation for volcanic ash transport and dispersion. Journal of Computational Physics 2013, 271, 39-59.

A. K. Patra, M. Bursik, J. Dehn, M. Jones, R. Madankan, D. Morton, M. Pavolonis, E. B. Pitman, S. Pouget, T. Singh, et al.. Challenges in Developing DDDAS Based Methodology for Volcanic Ash Hazard Analysis–Effect of Numerical Weather Prediction Variability and Parameter Estimation. Procedia Computer Science 2013, 18, 1871–1880.

G. L. Paulin, M. Bursik, M. Ram ́ırez-Herrera, J. Lugo-Hubp, J. Z. Orozco, I. Alc ́antara- Ayala, Landslide Inventory and Susceptibility Mapping in the R ́ıo Chiquito-Barranca Del Muerto Watershed, Pico de Orizaba Volcano, Mexico in Landslides: Global Risk Preparedness, Springer, 2013, pp. 277–287.

G. L. Paul ́ın, M. Bursik, M. T. Ram ́ırez-Herrera, T. Contreras, M. Polenz, J. L. Hubp, L. M. P. Mej ́ıa, L. A. Salinas. Landslide inventory mapping and landslide susceptibility modeling as- sessment on the SW flank of Pico de Orizaba volcano, Puebla-Veracruz, Mexico. Zeitschrift fu ̈r Geomorphologie 2013, 57, 371–385.

G. L. Paul ́ın, M. Bursik, M. Ram ́ırez-Herrera, J. Lugo-Hubp, J. Z. Orozco, I. Alc ́antara-Ayala, Landslide Inventory and Susceptibility Mapping in a Mexican Stratovolcano in Landslide Sci- ence and Practice, Springer, 2013, pp. 141–146.

G. L. Paul ́ın, M. Bursik, S. Pouget, C. Serdar, J. L. Hubp. Mapping landforms for landslide hazards assessment on the SW flank of Pico de Orizaba volcano, Puebla-Veracruz, Mexico. 2013.

G. L. Paul ́ın, M. Bursik, J. L. Hubp, An Overview of a GIS Method for Mapping and Assessing Landslide Hazards in Landslide Science and Practice, Springer, 2013, pp. 379–385.

S. Pouget, M. Bursik, P. Webley, J. Dehn, M. Pavolonis. Estimation of eruption source parameters from umbrella cloud or downwind plume growth rate. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 2013, 258, 100–112.

M. Bursik, M. Jones, S. Carn, K. Dean, A. Patra, M. Pavolonis, E. B. Pitman, T. Singh, P. Singla, P. Webley, et al.. Estimation and propagation of volcanic source parameter uncer- tainty in an ash transport and dispersal model: application to the Eyjafjallajokull plume of 14–16 April 2010. Bulletin of Volcanology 2012, 74, 2321–2338.

A. S. Jayko, M. Bursik. Active transtensional intracontinental basins: Walker Lane in the western Great Basin. Tectonics of Sedimentary Basins: Recent Advances 2012, 226–248.

R. Madankan, P. Singla, A. Patra, M. Bursik, J. Dehn, M. Jones, M. Pavolonis, B. Pitman, T. Singh, P. Webley. Polynomial chaos quadrature-based minimum variance approach for source parameters estimation. Procedia Computer Science, 2012, 9, 1129–1138.

A. Patra, M. Bursik, J. Dehn, M. Jones, M. Pavolonis, E. B. Pitman, T. Singh, P. Singla, P. Webley. A DDDAS framework for volcanic ash propagation and hazard analysis. Procedia Computer Science, 2012, 9, 1090–1099. 8

E. Stefanescu, M. Bursik, G. Cordoba, K. Dalbey, M. Jones, A. Patra, D. Pieri, E. Pitman, M. Sheridan. Digital elevation model uncertainty and hazard analysis using a geophysical flow model. Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Science, 2012, 468, 1543–1563.

E. Stefanescu, M. Bursik, A. Patra. Effect of digital elevation model on Mohr-Coulomb geo- physical flow model output. Natural Hazards, 2012, 62, 635–656.