Peter Langdon Ward

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Peter Langdon Ward
Peter Langdon Ward.jpg
Born (1943-08-10) August 10, 1943 (age 79)
Washington D.C., United States
Alma materDartmouth College, Columbia University
Scientific career
FieldsEarthquakes, volcanism, regional plate tectonics
InstitutionsU.S. Geological Survey

Peter Langdon Ward is a geophysicist specializing in seismology and volcanology.

Life and work[edit]

Ward is an American earth scientist and geophysicist who has studied microearthquakes associated with active fault systems and volcanic eruptions throughout the western United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Iceland, Central America, and the East African Rift System. He developed a prototype global volcano surveillance system[1] that relayed data through the ERTS satellite. He was born August 10, 1943, in Washington, D.C. and was educated at the Noble and Greenough School (1955–1961), Dartmouth College (BA 1965), and Columbia University (MA, 1967, PhD 1970).

In January, 1975, he was appointed chief of the Branch of Seismology, a group of 140 scientists and staff at the United States Geological Survey in Menlo Park, California, playing a lead role in the development of, and initial management of, the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program. This Branch became the Branch of Earthquake Mechanics and Prediction, conducting scientific research aimed at predicting the time of occurrence of damaging earthquakes at a time when such research appeared promising worldwide.

Ward contributed to an understanding of how geologic records of volcanism in western North America relate in detail to motions of tectonic plates under the eastern Pacific Ocean.[2][3]

Ozone Depletion[edit]

In a 2009 paper,[4] Ward suggested that "large volumes of SO
erupted frequently appear to overdrive the oxidizing capacity of the atmosphere resulting in very rapid warming." In addition, he noted that sulfur dioxide is a strong absorber of visible light. He proposed that the rapid increase in global warming during the 20th century was caused by these mechanisms as a result of the rapid increase in sulfur dioxide emitted by the burning of fossil fuels. Since 2009 Ward has been arguing that climate change is caused by ozone depletion and not human-derived CO2 emissions, a hypothesis that is not supported by referred literature.


  1. ^ Endo, E.; Ward, P.L. (1974). "A prototype global volcano surveillance system monitoring seismic activity and tilt". Bulletin Volcanologique. 38 (1): 315–344. Bibcode:1974BVol...38..315E. CiteSeerX doi:10.1007/BF02599410. S2CID 129094854.
  2. ^ Ward, P.L. (1991). "On plate tectonics and the geological evolution of southwestern North America". Journal of Geophysical Research. 96 (B7): 12, 479–412, 496. Bibcode:1991JGR....9612479W. CiteSeerX doi:10.1029/91JB00606.
  3. ^ Ward, P.L. (1995). "Subduction cycles under western North America during the Mesozoic and Cenozoic eras". Jurassic Magmatism and Tectonics of the North American Cordillera. Miller, D. M., and Busby, C., Eds., Jurassic Magmatism and Tectonics of the North American Cordillera, Geological Society of America Special Paper 299. Geological Society of America Special Papers. Vol. 299. pp. 1–45. doi:10.1130/SPE299-p1. ISBN 978-0-8137-2299-3.
  4. ^ Ward, Peter L. (2 April 2009). "Sulfur Dioxide Initiates Global Climate Change in Four Ways" (PDF). Thin Solid Films. 517 (11): 3188–3203. Bibcode:2009TSF...517.3188W. doi:10.1016/j.tsf.2009.01.005. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 January 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-19.

Selected publications[edit]