Andrea Donnellan

Andrea Donnellan, PhD is manager of the Instrument Systems Section at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory where she is also a principal research scientist. She leads NASA’s Surface Topography and Vegetation Study and is principal investigator of the QUAKES stereoimaging instrument suite. She is on the NISAR Science Team. Donnellan studies earthquakes and crustal deformation combining a variety of geodetic imaging techniques with computational modeling and infrastructure. Donnellan is a fellow of the American Geophysical Union, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and The Explorers Club. In 1996 she won the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientist and Engineers. Donnellan was a finalist in the astronaut selection process three times. The Donnellan Glacier in Antarctica was named by Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names in 2006 for her work on the Antarctic continent.

  • Ph.D., Geophysics, California Institute of Technology (1991)
  • M.S., Computer Science, University of Southern California (2003)
  • M.S., Geophysics, California Institute of Technology (1988)
  • B.S., Geology, Ohio State University, with honors and distinction in geology (1986)

Research Interests: 
  • Surface Topography and Vegetation (STV) science and technology maturation
  • Natural hazard assessment using GPS, InSAR, stereoimaging, and numerical modeling.
  • Pattern analysis of geodetic and seismic time series to understand the underlying dynamics of complex earthquake fault systems.
  • Numerical modeling to estimate the rheology of the crust, and fault characteristics and interactions.
  • Collection and interpretation of geodetic imaging data to study plate tectonics crustal deformation, and the earthquake cycle.

Professional Experience: 
  • Jet Propulsion Laboratory (1993–present)
    • Manager Instrument Systems Section (2021–present)
    • Principal Research Scientist (2008–2021)
    • NASA HQ Program Area Co-Lead for Natural Disasters (2009–2010)
    • InSAR Pre-Project Scientist (2005–2008)
    • Deputy Manager, Science Division (2002–2006)
    • Deputy Manager, Exploration Systems Autonomy Section (2001–2002)
    • Supervisor, Data Understanding Systems Group (1999–2001)
    • Satellite Geodesy and Geodynamics Systems Group (1993–1999)
  • Editor AGU Earth and Space Science Journal (2014­ – 2021)
  • California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, Geologic Sciences Lecturer (2018)
  • American Geophysical Union Nonlinear Geophysics Focus Group President/President-Elect (2015–2016/2013–2014)
  • Assistant Adjunct Research Professor, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Southern California (1999-2015)
  • Visiting Associate, Seismological Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, (1995-1996)
  • National Research Council Resident Research Associate, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (1991-1993)

Selected Awards: 
  • Fellow, American Geophysical Union (2021)
  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (2020)
  • QuakeSim 2.0: NASA Software of the Year Award Co-Winner (2012)
  • Simplex V8: NASA Space Act Award (2012)
  • NASA Group Achievement Award for Response to the Gulf Oil Spill (2011)
  • GeoFESTv.4.8 NASA Space Act Award (2009)
  • MUSES California Science Center Foundation, Woman of the Year (2006)
  • Donnellan Glacier, Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names (2006)
  • NASA Space Act awards for QuakeSim, Simplex, and Disloc (2005)
  • Women at Work Medal of Excellence (2004)
  • Team bonus award for QuakeSim Parallel GeoFest development (2004)
  • NASA Space Act Award for GeoFESTv.4.3 finite element software (2004)
  • Women in Aerospace Award for Outstanding Achievement (2003)
  • JPL Lew Allen Award for Excellence (2000)
  • Southern California Earthquake Center Outreach Award for Education (1998)
  • Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (1996)
  • National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship (1991-1993)
  • Outstanding Student Paper Award, Geodesy Section, Fall AGU Meeting (1990)
  • Amoco Scholarship (1985)
  • Undergraduate Research Scholarship, Ohio State University (1985-1986)
  • Ohio State University Field Camp Scholarship (1985)
  • Outstanding Student Award, Ohio State University Field Camp (1985)
  • Antarctic Service Medal (1985)

Selected Publications: 
  • Donnellan, A., J. Suarez, D. Asimaki, C. Goulet, D. McPhillips, Z. Meng, S. Devine, G. Lyzenga, 2022, Toppling of Trona Pinnacles in the 2019 Ridgecrest Earthquake Sequence and subsequent M5.6 Aftershock of June 2020, Seismological Research Letters.
  • Donnellan, A., J.W. Parker, M.B. Heflin, G.A. Lyzenga, L. Grant Ludwig, J.B. Rundle, J. Wang, M. Pierce, 2018, Fracture Advancing Step Tectonics Observed in the Yuha Desert and Ocotillo Following the 2010 M7.2 El Mayor – Cucapah Earthquake, Earth and Space Science.
  • Donnellan, A., B. H. Hager, and R. W. King, 1993, Discrepancy between geologic and geodetic deformation rates in the Ventura basin, Nature, 366, 333–336.
  • Donnellan, A., L. Grant Ludwig, J.W. Parker, J.B. Rundle, J. Wang, M. Pierce, G. Blewitt, S. Hensley, 2015, Potential for a large earthquake near Los Angeles inferred from the 2014 La Habra earthquake, Earth and Space Sci, 2, 378–385, DOI: 10.1002/2015EA000113.
  • Donnellan, A., J. Parker, S. Hensley, M. Pierce, J. Wang, J. Rundle, 2014, UAVSAR Observations of Triggered Slip on the Imperial, Superstition Hills, and East Elmore Ranch Faults Associated with the 2010 M 7.2 El Mayor - Cucapah Earthquake, Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 15, doi: 10.1002/2013GC005120.
  • Grant, L. B., and A. Donnellan, 1994, 1855 and 1991 surveys of the San Andreas fault: Implications for fault mechanics, Bull. Seism. Soc. Am., 84, 241–246.
  • Donnellan, A. and G. A. Lyzenga, 1998, GPS Observations of Fault afterslip and upper crustal relaxation following the Northridge earthquake, J. Geophys. Res., 103, 21,285–21,297.
  • Donnellan, A., and B. Luyendyk, 2004, GPS Evidence for a Coherent Plate and for Postglacial Rebound in Marie Byrd Land, West Antarctica, Global and Planetary Change, 42, 305–311.
  • Donnellan, A., R. Arrowsmith, S. DeLong, accepted. Spatio-Temporal Mapping of Plate Boundary Faults in California using Geodetic Imaging, Special Issue "Advances in Lithological and Structural Mapping Using Earth Observation Data," K. Tansey and S. Grebby eds.
  • DeLong, S.B., A. Donnellan, D.J. Ponti, R.S. Rubin, G. Seitz, D.P. Schwartz, C.S. Prentice, T.E. Dawson, J.J. Lienkaemper, K.W. Hudnut, C. Rosa, A. Pickering, J.W. Parker, 2016, Tearing the terroir: Details and implications of surface rupture and deformation from the 24 August 2014 M6.0 South Napa earthquake, California, Earth and Space Science, 3, 416–430, doi:10.1002/2016EA000176.
Andrea Donnellan
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, CA 91109