Department of Geosciences

School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Faculty & Resarch

John F. Ferguson


B.Sc., Wofford College, 1973
M.S., University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, 1975
Ph.D., Southern Methodist University, 1981

Research Interests

Dr. Ferguson has a broad range of interests in seismology, potential fields, tectonics, and the application of numerical modeling, signal processing and inverse modeling techniques. In recent years, these have involved:

  • The development of a new inversion method for seismic refraction data
  • Boundary integral modeling of elastic waves in complex, layered models
  • Inversion of gravity data for fluid movement in hydrocarbon reservoirs
  • Applications of geophysics to archaelogy
  • Geology and tectonics of the Rio Grande Rift in northern New Mexico
  • Geologic signal detection in well logs and outcrops

He is a founding member of the SAGE geophysical field camp, a consortium of academic geophysicists and the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Starting in 1983, SAGE has had over 500 students from institutions around the world. In addition, the faculty and students on a regular basis publish research on the Rio Grande Rift. In 1998 SAGE won the American Geophysical Union Excellence in Geophysical Education Award.

Industrial Interactions

BP, Inc. Development of new methods for monitoring fluid movement in hydrocarbon reservoirs using precision gravity methods. (Since 1993)

Dissertations and Theses Supervised

Tianyou Chen, PhD, 2004. Applications of high accuracy gravity and space geodesy methodologies.

Tracey Henderson, MS, 2002. Integrated seismic and gravity study in offshore Oman.

Zhou Yu, PhD, 2002. WaveletFebruary 29, 2008

Ioannis Thavoris, MS, 2001. Geophysical survey of MDA-B waste disposal site at DP Mesa, Los Alamos, NM.

David Smith, MS, 2000. Constrained inversion of seismic refraction data and re-mapping of quaternary deposits in Dallas County, Texas.

Jennifer Hare, PhD, 1998. High resolution geodetic techniques for monitoring fluid levels over time.

Amy Searcy, MS (Mathematics), 1998. Geologic surface evolution modeling: Numerical solutions using diffusion-type equations.

Hayrullah Karabulut, PhD, 1996. Application of boundary element method and simulated annealing to seismic data.

Sharon K. Reamer, MS, 1986. Improvements to the Fourier gravity inversion method with applications.

Dennis L. Harry, PhD, 1989. Lithospheric flexure: Applications of geophysical inverse theory and empirical studies of rock deformation.

David R. Hersey, MS, 1986. Geophysical investigations of the eastern margin of the Espanola Basin, New Mexico.

Eric A. Madtson, MS, 1990. Seismic polarization analysis.

Herbert D. Axilrod, MS, 1996. SH wave scattering from a sinusoidal grating - An evaluation of four discrete wave number methods.

James R. Grotte, MS, 1985. The development and application of the Werner deconvolution and 2-D filtering to gravity and magnetic data in S.E. Virginia.

Russell Joseph Heidesch,, MS, 1987. A wide angle seismic investigation of Pahute Mesa, Nevada.


Tianyou Chen, John F. Ferguson, Carlos L.V. Aiken, and Jerry Brady, 2005. Real-time data acquisition and quality control for gravity surveys. The Leading Edge, 24, 702-704.

Zhou Yu, George A. McMechan, Phil D. Anno, and John F. Ferguson, 2004. Wavelet transform-based prestack multiscale Kirchoff migration. Geophysics 69, 6, 1505-1512.

Daniel J. Koning, John F. Ferguson, Patricia Jackson Paul, and W. Scott Baldridge, 2004. Geologic structure of the Velarde Graben and the Southern Embudo Fault System, North-Central, NM. New Mexico Geological Society Guidebook, 55th Field Conference, Geology of the Taos Region, 158-171.

Zhou Yu, George A. McMechan, John F. Ferguson, and Phil D. Anno, 2002. Adaptive Wavelet Filtering of Seismic Data in the Wavelet Transform Domain. Journal of Seismic Exploration 11, 223-246.

John S. Oldow, Carlos L. V. Aiken, Jennifer L. Hare, John F. Ferguson and R. F. Hardyman, 2001. Active displacement transfer and differential block motion within the central Walker Lane, western Great Basin. Geology, 29, 19-22.

Hayrullah Karabulut and John F. Ferguson, 2001. An analysis of the indirect boundary element method for seismic modeling. Geophysics Journal International 147, 68-76.

Jennifer L. Hare, John F. Ferguson, Carlos L. V. Aiken, and John S. Oldlow, 2001. Quantitative characterization and elevation estimation of Lake Lahontan shoreline terraces from high-resolution digital elevation models. Journal of Geophysical Research 106, B11, 26761-26774.

D.N. Smith and John F. Ferguson, 2001. Constrained inversion of seismic refraction data using the controlled random search. Geophysics 65, 1622-1630.

  • Updated: February 29, 2008