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John Ferguson

John Ferguson

Professor Emeritus
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Professional Preparation

Ph.D. - Geophysics
Southern Methodist University - 1981
M.S. - Geophysics
University of North Carolina - 1975
B.S. - Physics
Wofford College - 1973

Research Areas

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 publish research on the Rio Grande Rift on a regular basis. In 1998 SAGE won the American Geophysical Union Excellence in Geophysical Education Award.


Brady, J. L., J. L. Hare, J. F. Ferguson, J. E. Seibert, F. J. Klopping, T. Chen and T. Niebauer, (2008), Results of the worlds first 4D microgravity surveillance of a water flood - Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, SPE Reservoir Evaluation and Engineering, v. 11, p. 824-831. 2008 - Publication
Chen, T., C. L. V. Aiken, J. F. Ferguson, R. G. Guitierrez and G. A. Jeffress, (2008), Geoid estimation in a coastal region: Corpus Christi, Texas, USA, GPS Solutions,v. 13, in press. 2008 - Publication
Olariu, M. I., J. F. Ferguson, C. L. V. Aiken and X. Xu, (2008), Outcrop fracture characterization using terrestrial laser scanners: Deep water Jackfork sandstone at Big Rock Quarry, Arkansas, Geosphere, v. 4, p. 247-259. 2008 - Publication
Nisengard, J. E., J. Isaacson, J. F. Ferguson, E. Hinz, R. Gauthier, (2008), Seismic Refraction at Ancestral Puebloan Sites (A.D. 1200 to 1450) on the Pajarito Plateau, Northern New Mexico USA, Journal of Field Archaeology, v. 33, p. 85- 100. 2008 - Publication
Hare, J. L., J. F. Ferguson and J. L. Brady, (2008), The 4-D microgravity method for waterflood surveillance: Part IV - Modeling and interpretation of early epoch 4D gravity surveys at Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, Geophysics, v. 73, p. WA173-WA180. 2008 - Publication
Hinz, E. A., J. F. Ferguson, L. Pellerin and A. F. Ramenofsky, (2008), A geophysical investigation of subsurface structures and Quaternary geology at San Marcos Pueblo, NM, LA 98, Archaeological Prospection, v. 15,p. 247-265. 2008 - Publication
Ferguson, J. F., F. J. Klopping, T. Chen, J. E. Seibert, J. L. Hare and J. L. Brady, The 4-D microgravity method for waterflood surveillance: Part 3 - 4D absolute microgravity surveys at Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, Geophysics, v. 73, p. WA163- WA171. 2008 - Publication
Ferguson, J. F., T. Chen, J. Brady, C. L. V. Aiken and J. Seibert, (2007), The 4D microgravity method for waterflood surveillance: Part II - gravity measurements for the Prudhoe Bay reservoir, Alaska, Geophysics, v 72, p I33-I43. 2007 - Publication


The University of Texas at Dallas [2005–2008]
Associate Professor
The University of Texas at Dallas [1989–Present]
Assistant Professor
The Univesity of Texas at Dallas [1984–1989]
Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico [1983–Present]
Visiting Assistant Professor
The University of Texas at Dallas [1982–1984]
Adjunct Professor
Southern Methodist Univeristy [1981–Present]
Teledyne Geotech, Inc. [1981–1986]
Research Associate
Southern Methodist University [1980–1982]
Teledyne Geotech, Inc. [1979–1981]
Easco Services, Inc. [1975–1978]

Additional Information

Professional Recognition
  • 1998     American Geophysical Union Excellence in Geophysical Education Award presented to the SAGE faculty.
Professional Society Memberships
  • American Geophysical Union
  • Society of Exploration Geophysicists
  • Seismological Society of America
  • Environmental and Engineering Geophysical Society
  • Geological Society of America
  • Professional Geophysicist, license number 4890, Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists

News Articles

John F. Ferguson Appointed Head Of UTD’s Geosciences Department
John F. Ferguson Appointed Head Of UTD’s Geosciences Department RICHARDSON, Texas (Aug. 4, 2005) – Dr. John F. Ferguson, a noted geophysicist and long-time faculty member at The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD), was appointed head of the university’s Geosciences Department, effective Monday.

Ferguson succeeds Dr. Robert J. Stern, department head for the past eight years, who will begin a year-long leave – known as a “special faculty development assignment” – this fall, after which he will return to UTD to teach and conduct research. Stern will teach classes and pursue research projects during the coming fall semester at Stanford University, then move to the California Institute of Technology for the spring semester.
Campus Haiti Events Offer Insight, Chance to Help
Campus Haiti Events Offer Insight, Chance to Help Campus events this week will help members of the UT Dallas community not only make sense of the tragedy in Haiti but also play a part in relief efforts.

“The Haiti Earthquake: From Natural Phenomena to National Disaster” is the topic of a lecture planned for Thursday, Jan. 21, by Dr. John Ferguson of the Department of Geosciences. The event is scheduled for noon in the TI Auditorium (ECSS 2.102).
New Seismograph at UT Dallas Registers Earth's Shakes, Rattles and Rolls
RICHARDSON, Texas (Jan. 14, 2004) - The next time you feel the earth move under your feet, geoscientists at The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) will be able to tell you when and how much - on a newly-installed seismograph in Founders Hall. 

The sensitive scientific instrument, one of only a very few of its kind in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, records seismic waves generated by earthquakes - whether it occurs in an adjoining state or as distant as the other side of the globe. But mostly what it displays — on a computer screen in real-time digital readouts that resemble an electrocardiogram printout - is the "ordinary background noise of the planet," according to one of the instrument's builders, Dr. John F. Ferguson, associate professor in UTD's Department of Geosciences.


University Service Activities
  • Geosciences Program Seminar Series Chairman 1986 - 1987 and 2002 - 2003
  • Geosciences Program Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, 1989 - 1994
  • Geosciences Program Undergraduate Advisor, 1990 - 1992
  • Anson L. Clark Memorial Committee, 1990 - 1996
  • Intellectual Property Committee, 1994 - 1996
  • Geosciences Program Management Advisory Committee, 1995- 1997
  • Committee on Qualifications, 1996 - 1998
  • Academic Senate, 1996 - 2003
  • Program Coordination Committee for Geographical Information Sciences since 1998
  • Committee to Develop the MS in Geographical Information Sciences 1998 - 2000
  • Committee to Develop the PhD in Geopgraphical Information Sciences 2000 - 2005
  • Geosciences Program Graduate Advisor 2003 - 2005
  • Service on a number of ad hoc third-year and tenure review committees in the Schools of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and the Eric Jonnson School of Engineering and Computer Science.
  • Service on a number of academic search commitees for Departments of Geosciences, Physics and the Geographical Information Sciences Program.
Professional Activities
  • Review of proposals for the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation and other agencies.
  • Review of manuscripts for the Journal of Geophysical Research, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, Geophysics and other publications.
  • Service on the faculty of the SAGE Geophysical Field Course, Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, Los Alamos National Laboratory, since 1983.
  • Associate Editor for the Special Section on 4D Gravity Monitoring, Geophysics, v. 73, n. 6, 2008.
  • General Chairman for the South-Central Section of the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting, March 15-17, 2009, Dallas, Texas


Graduate Student Advising
Doctor of Philosophy: 1) Harry, Dennis L., Ph.D., 1989, Lithospheric Flexure: Applications of Geophysical Inverse Theory and Empirical Studies of Rock Deformation. 2) Karabulut, Hayrullah, Ph.D., 1996, Application of Boundary Element Method and Simulated Annealing to Seismic Data. 3) Hare, Jennifer, Ph.D., 1998, High Resolution Techniques for Monitoring Fluid Levels Over Time. 4) Zhou, Yu, Ph.D., 2002, Wavelet Transforms in Seismic Data Processing and Imaging. 5) Chen, Tianyou, Ph. D., 2004, Applications of High Accuracy Gravity and Space Geodesy Methodologies. Master of Science: 1) Grotte, James R., M.S., 1985, The Development and Application of the Werner Deconvolution and 2-D Filtering to Gravity and Magnetic Data in S.E. Virginia. 2) Reamer, Sharon K., M.S., 1986, Improvements to the Fourier Gravity Inversion Method with Applications. 3) Hersey, David R., M.S., 1986, Geophysical Investigation of the Eastern Margin of the Espanola Basin, New Mexico. 4) Heidesch, Russell J., M.S., 1987, A Wide Angle Seismic Investigation of Pahute Mesa, Nevada. 5) Madtson, Eric A., M.S., 1990, Seismic Polarization Analysis. 6) Axilrod, Herbert D., M.S., 1996, SH Wave Scattering from a Sinusoidal Grating. 7) Searcy, Amy M., M.S. (Mathematics), 1998, Geological Surface Evolution Modeling: Numerical Simulations Using Diffusion-Type Equations. 8) Smith, David, M. S., 2000, Constrained Inversion of Seismic Refraction Data and Re-Mapping of Quaternary Deposits in Dallas County, Texas. 9) Thavoris, Ioannis, M. S., 2001, Geophysical Survey of MDA-B Waste Disposal Site at DP Mesa Los Alamos, NM. 10) Henderson, Tracey, M. S., 2002, Integrated Seismic and Gravity Study in Offshore Oman. 11) Hinz, Emily, M.S., 2007, Geophysical Applications to Archaeological Investigations.


Collaborative Research: 3-D Hydrogeological Models of Coastal Deposits to Mitigate the Impacts of Sea-Level Rise on Coastal Water Resources
$548,609 - National Science Foundation [2010–2012]
Processing, Modeling and Interpretation of SAGE Geophysical Data Across the Rio Grande Rift in Northern New Mexico
#98,400 - Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, Los Alamos National Laboratory [2010–2012]
Waterflood Monitoring by Micro-Gravity Techniques
$36,200 - BP Alaska Inc [2007–2009]
Toward Forensic Reconstruction of Hydrology for Recent Rivers: Refining Methodology for Constraint of Paleochannel Dimensions
$17,455 - UTD-UTA Joint Institutional Seed Research Program [2006–2007]
Waterflood Monitoring by Micro-Gravity Techniques
$15,000 - BP Alaska Inc [2006–2006]