Brandon Schmandt

Brandon Schmandt
University of New Mexico

2015 Young Scientist Award (Donath Medal)

Presented to Brandon Schmandt

Citation by Alan Levander

Brandon Schmandt is an extraordinary young seismologist as well as an engaging, dynamic, and generous colleague. His interests, which nearly span the Earth sciences, include seismic signal processing and imaging, geologic and geodynamic interpretation of 3D Earth structure, and volcanic and geomorphic processes. Brandon has a deep understanding of the power of large seismic arrays for investigating the Earth’s interior. Using USArray, Brandon has tomographically imaged the upper mantle seismic velocity structure of the entire U.S. With his colleagues, he has used these and other images to decipher the processes and physical state of the secondary convection system that forms the upper mantle beneath the western U.S. orogenic plateau. Among the topics he has addressed are the evolution of the western North American plate boundary, the Rockies and the Colorado Plateau, convective drips and delamination, the effects and remnants of the Laramide flat-slab, and the structure of the Yellowstone Plume from the crust through the mantle transition zone.

2015 Donath Medal — Response by Brandon Schmandt

Thanks Alan for your generous citation. As much as I love seismology that is only because it enables me to explore Earth’s incredible range of active processes and record of geologic history. So it is truly an honor to be recognized by GSA, and I thank Dr. and Mrs. Donath for sponsoring this award.

As a young scientist any success I’ve had largely reflects upon the qualities of my mentors and peers. Gene Humphreys and my University of Oregon officemates, Leland O’Driscoll, Haiying Gao, and Max Bezada, provided an outstanding environment to grow as a scientist and graciously suffered my enthusiasm. Beyond geophysics, Gene taught me to consider the bigger geologic picture and work collaboratively, paving the way for my first opportunities to collaborate externally, synthesize new projects, and extend my mentors to include Ken Dueker, Alan Levander, Karl Karlstrom, and Don Forsyth. As a Caltech postdoc, I benefitted greatly from interactions with Rob Clayton, Fan-Chi Lin, Victor Tsai, and Don Helmberger.

I owe a lot to the seismology community. They’re a remarkably constructive group and great supporters of young scientists.

Finally, I thank my wife, Eileen, for her encouragement. She is the best evidence of my good luck in life.