Dr. Donald Argus

  • Ph.D. Geophysics, Northwestern University (1990)
  • M.S. Geophysics, Northwestern University (1986)
  • B.S. Geophysics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1983)

Research Interests: 
  • Earthquake strain accumulation and water resources in metropolitan Los Angeles and California
  • Current plate motions, continental deformation, and tectonics
  • Earth’s elastic and viscous response to ice sheet unloading
  • Changes in water resources in California and North America
  • Velocity of Earth’s center and wander of Earth’s spin axis
  • Space geodesy: Global Positioning System, Very Long Baseline Interferometry, Satellite Laser Ranging, Doppler Orbitography and Radiopositioning Integrated by Satellite, Interferometric SAR, and GRACE

Professional Experience: 
  • Principal Scientist, Jet Propulsion Laboratory  (2005–Present)
  • Research Scientist, Jet Propulsion Laboratory  (1997–2005)
  • Member Technical Staff, Jet Propulsion Laboratory  (1992–1997)
  • Postdoctorate Research Associate, National Academy of Sciences (1990–1992)


Selected Awards: 
  • John P. Woollard Award, Geological Society of America, 2020
  • Fellow, American Geophysical Union 2018
  • Fellow, Geological Society of America 2017
  • Ed Stone Award for Outstanding Research Publication 2017 and 2005
  • Highly Cited Researcher, Institute for Scientific Information (http://isihighlycited.com/)
  • AGU Editor's Citation for Excellence in Refereeing, Geophysical Research Letters 2015.
  • Editor’s Choice, Highlight of Recent Literature, Tolerant to a Fault [Science v. 294, p. 2431, 2001]

Selected Publications: 
  1. Argus, D. F., W. R. Peltier, G. Blewitt, and C. Kreemer (2021), The vicosity of the top third of the lower mantle estimated using GPS, GRACE, and relative sea level measurements of glacial isostatic adjustment, Journal of Geophysical Research Solid Earth 126, doi:10.1029/2020Jb021537   
  2. Argus, D. F., B. Ratliff, C. DeMets, A. A. Borsa, D. N. Wiese, G. Blewitt, J. W. Crowley, H. R. Martens, C. Kreemer, and F. W. Landerer (2020), Rise of Great Lakes surface water, sinking of the upper Midwest of the United States, and viscous collapse of the forebulge of the former Laurentide ice sheet, Journal of Geophysical Research Solid Earth 125, e2020JB019739, doi.org:10.1029/2020JB019739 
  3. Argus, D. F., F. W. Landerer, D. N. Wiese, H. R. Martens, Y. Fu, J. S. Famiglietti, B. F. Thomas, T. Farr, A. W. Moore, M. M. Watkins (2017), Sustained water loss in California's mountain ranges during severe drought from 2012 to 2015 inferred from GPS, J. Geophys. Res. Solid Earth 122, doi:10.1002.2017JB014424.
  4. Peltier, W. R., D. F. Argus, and R. Drummond (2015), Space geodesy constrains ice age terminal deglaciation: The global ICE-6G_C (VM5a) model, J. Geophys. Res. Solid Earth 119, doi:10.1002/2014JB011176.
  5. Fu, Y., D. F. Argus, and F. W. Landerer (2015), GPS as an independent measurement to estimate terrestrial water storage variations in Washington and Oregon, J. Geophys. Res. Solid Earth 120, doi:10.1002/2014JB011415.
  6. Argus, D. F., Y. Fu, and F. W. Landerer (2014), GPS as a high resolution technique for evaluating water resources in California, Geophys. Res. Lett. 41, doi:10.1002/2014GL059570.
  7. Argus, D. F, W. R. Peltier, R. Drummond, and A. W. Moore (2014), The Antarctica component of postglacial rebound model ICE-6G_C (VM5a) based on GPS positioning, exposure age dating of ice thicknesses, and relative sea level histories, Geophys. J. Int. 197, doi: 10.1093/gji/ggu140.
  8. Argus, D. F., G. Blewitt, W. R. Peltier, and C. Kreemer, Rise of the Ellsworth mountains and parts of the East Antarctic peninsula observed with GPS, Geophys. Res. Lett. 38, L16303, doi:10.1029/2011GL048025 (2011).
  9. Argus, D. F., R. G. Gordon, M. B. Heflin, C. Ma, R. J. Eanes, P. Willis, W. R. Peltier, S. E. Owen, The angular velocities of the plates and the velocity of Earth’s center from space geodesy, Geophys. J. Int. 180, 913-960 doi:10.1111/j.1365-246X.2009.04463.x (2010).
  10. Argus, D. F. & W. R. Peltier, Constraining models of postglacial rebound using space geodesy: a detailed assessment of model ICE-5G (VM2) and its relatives, Constraining models of postglacial rebound using space geodesy, Geophys. J. Int. 181, doi:10.1111/j.1365-246X.2010.04562.x (2010).
  11. DeMets, D. C., R. G. Gordon, D. F. Argus, Geologically recent plate motions, Geophys. J. Int. 181, 1-80, doi:10.1111/j.1365-246X.2010.04491.x (2010).
  12. Argus, D. F., Defining the translational velocity of the reference frame of Earth, Geophys. J. Int. 169, 830-838, doi:10.1111/j.1365-246X.20007.03344.x (2007).
  13. Argus, D. F., M. B. Heflin, G. Peltzer, F. H. Webb, and F. Crampe, Interseismic strain accumulation and anthropogenic motion in metropolitan Los Angeles, J. Geophys. Res. 101, B04401, doi:10.1029/2003JB002934, (2005).
  14. Argus, D. F., and R. S. Gross, An estimate of motion between the spin axis and the hotspots over the past century, Geophys. Res. Lett. 31, LO6614, doi:10.1029/2004GL019657, (2004).
  15. Argus, D. F., and R. G. Gordon, Present tectonic motion across the Coast ranges and San Andreas fault system in central California, Geol. Soc. Am. Bull. 113, 1580-92 (2001).
  16. Argus, D. F., M. B. Heflin, A. Donnellan, F. H. Webb, D. Dong, K. J. Hurst, D. C. Jefferson, G. A. Lyzenga, M. M. Watkins, and J. F. Zumberge, Shortening and thickening of metropolitan Los Angeles measured and inferred using geodesy, Geology 27, 703-706 (1999).
  17. Argus, D. F., W. R. Peltier, and M. M. Watkins, Glacial isostatic adjustment observed using very long baseline interferometry and satellite laser ranging, J. Geophys. Res. 104, 29077-29083 (1999).
  18. Argus, D. F., Postglacial uplift and subsidence of earth's surface using VLBI geodesy: On establishing vertical reference, Geophys. Res. Lett. 23, 973-976 (1996).
  19. Argus, D. F., and R. G. Gordon, Tests of the rigid-plate hypothesis and bounds on plate rigidity using geodetic data from very long baseline interferometry, J. Geophys. Res. 101, 13555-13572 (1996).
  20. Argus, D. F., and M. B. Heflin, Global plate motion and crustal deformation estimated with geodetic data from the global positioning system, Geophys. Res. Lett. 22, 1973-1976 (1995).
  21. DeMets, C., R. G. Gordon, D. F. Argus, and S. Stein, Effect of recent revisions to the geomagnetic reversal time scale on estimates of current plate motions, Geophys. Res. Lett. 21, 2191-2194 (1994).
  22. Argus, D. F., and R. G. Gordon, Current Sierra Nevada-North America motion from very long baseline interferometry: Implications for the kinematics of western U.S., Geology 19, 1085-1088 (1991).
  23. Argus, D. F., and R. G. Gordon, No-net-rotation model of current plate velocities incorporating plate motion model NUVEL-1, Geophys. Res. Lett. 18, 2039-2042 (1991).
  24. Argus, D. F., and R. G. Gordon, Comparison of Pacific-North America plate motion determined from very long baseline interferometry with that determined from magnetic anomalies, transform faults, and earthquake slip vectors, J. Geophys. Res. 95, 17315-17324 (1990).
  25. DeMets, C., R. G. Gordon, D. F. Argus, and S. Stein, Current plate motions, Geophys. J. Int. 101, 425-478 (1990).
  26. Argus, D. F., R. G. Gordon, C. DeMets, and S. Stein, Closure of the Africa-Eurasia-North America plate motion circuit and tectonics of the Gloria Fault, J. Geophys. Res. 94, 5585-5602 (1989).
Donald Argus
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
4800 Oak Grove Dr.
Pasadena, CA 91109
Phone: (818) 354-3380
Fax Number: (818) 393-4965