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Research Highlights


Paul Johnson

Geophysicist & Artist

Primary Research

  • Nonlinear and Disordered Systems
  • Seismic Strong Ground Motion
  • General Acoustics
  • Rock Physics
  • Acoustical Nondestructive Testing of Materials
  • Earthquake Source Mechanics
  • Time Reverse Acoustics in Solids



  • 505-667-8936 - Phone
  • 505-667-8487 - FAX


Honors & Activities

  • Fellow - American Geophysical Union
  • Fellow - Los Alamos Laboratory
  • Fellow - Acoustical Society of America
  • Los Alamos National Laboratory Scientific Achievement Award
  • Médaille Étrangère, 2010, French Acoustical Society
  • Fourteen-time organizer of the International Workshop on Nonlinear Elasticity in Materials (IWNEM)
  • Steering Committee Member International Symposia on Nonlinear Acoustics (ISNA)
  • Fulbright Scholar to France, 1999-2000
  • Board of Editors of Wave Motion
  • Associate Editor of Comptes-Rendus Mecanique of the French Academy of Sciences



Triggered Slip Processes in Earth - Watch or read the invited presentation from the 2013 SIAM Meeting on Dynamical Systems. Available as both a PDF and a flash video (45 min).



Sample Chapter from Nonlinear Mescopic Elasticity by Robert A. Guyer and Paul A. Johnson.

Below is a limited list of recent publications, many available as PDFs, that illustrate my primary interests. A full list of publications by our group can be found on our topical publications page.

  • Daub, E. Ben-Naim, E., R. Guyer and P. Johnson (2012) Are mega-quakes clustered? Geophys. Res. Lett. 39 L06308-L06314, DOI:10.1029/2012GL051465.
  • Haupert, S., G. G. Renaud, J. Riviere, M. Talmant, P. Johnson and P. Laugier (2011) High-accuracy acoustic detection of non-classical component of material nonlinearity., J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 130, 2654-2661 DOI:10.1121/1.3641405. (PDF File - 810 KB)
  • Le Bas, P. Y., T. J. Ulrich, B. E. Anderson, R. A. Guyer, and P. A. Johnson (2011) Probing the interior of a solid volume with time reversal and nonlinear elastic wave spectroscopy, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. Volume 130, Issue 4, pp. EL258-EL263, DOI:10.1121/1.3638926. (PDF File - 808 KB)
  • Griffa., M., E. Daub, R. Guyer, P. Johnson, C. Marone, and J. Carmeliet (2011) Vibration-induced unjamming of sheared granular layers and the micromechanics of dynamic earthquake triggering, European Physics Letters, 96, 14001. (PDF File - 641 KB)
  • Daub, E., D. R. Shelly, R. Guyer, and P. Johnson (2011) Brittle and ductile friction and the physics of tectonic tremor, Geophysical Research Letters 38, L10301, DOI:10.1029/2011GL046866. (PDF File - 399 KB)
  • Larmat, C., R. Guyer and P. Johnson (2010), Time reversal in Seismology, Physics Today 63 31-35. (PDF File - 615 KB)
  • Johnson, P. A., P. Bodin, J. Gomberg, F. Pearce, Z. Lawrence, and F. Menq (2009), Inducing in situ, nonlinear soil response applying an active source, J. Geophys. Res., 114, B05304, doi:10.1029/2008JB005832. (PDF File - 3.1 MB)
  • Anderson, B., R. A. Guyer, T.J. Ulrich and P. A. Johnson (2009), Time reversal of continuous-wave, monochromatic signals in elastic media, Applied Physics Letters, 94 111908-1-4. (PDF File - 376 KB)
  • Brunet, T., X. Jia and P. Johnson (2008), Transitional, elastic-nonlinear behaviour in dense granular media, Geophys. Res. Lett. 35, L19308-L19311 doi:10.1029/2008GL035264. (PDF File - 488 KB)
  • Johnson, P., H. Savage, M. Knuth, J. Gomberg and C. Marone (3 January 2008), The effect of acoustic waves on stick-slip behavior in sheared granular media: implications for earthquake recurrence and triggering, Nature, 451, 57-60 doi:10.1038/nature06440. (Contact Paul Johnson for reprint.)
  • Ulrich, TJ, Sutin, A. M., Guyer, R. A. and Johnson, P. A. (2008), Time reversal and nonlinear elastic wave spectroscopy TR NEWS techniques, Int. J. Nonlinear Mech., 43, 209-216. (PDF File - 1.1 MB)
  • Muller, M., T.J. Ulrich, M. Talmant, P. Laugier, and P. A. Johnson (2008), Assessment of damage in cortical bone using nonlinear acoustic techniques, in Biomedical applications of vibration and acoustics for imaging, characterization and diagnostics, ASME Press. Ed. Ahmed Al-Jumaily (invited). (PDF File - 488 KB)
  • Muller. M., D. Mitton, M. Talmant, P. Laugier, and P. Johnson (2008), Nonlinear ultrasound can detect accumulated damage in human bone, J. Biomechanics, 41, 1062-1068. (Link)
  • Anderson, B. E., M. Griffa, C. Larmat, TJ Ulrich, and P. A. Johnson (2008), Time Reversal, Acoust. Today, 4 5-16. (PDF File - 1.2 MB
  • Pasqualini, D., K. Heitmann, J. A. TenCate, S. Habib, D. Higdon, and P. A. Johnson (2007), Nonequilibrium and nonlinear dynamics in Berea and Fontainebleau sandstones: Low-strain regime, J. Geophys. Res., 112, B01204, doi:10.1029/2006JB004264. (PDF File - 684 KB)
  • Gomberg, J. and P. A. Johnson (2005), Dynamic triggering of earthquakes, Nature 473 830. (PDF File - 392 KB)



  • Ph.D., Physical Acoustics (with highest honors), La Sorbonne, Université Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris 6)
  • M.S., Geophysics, University of Arizona
  • B.S., Geology, University of New Mexico





  • 1990 - present: Project Lead, Nonlinear Elasticity Team
  • 1984 - present: Senior Technical Staff Member, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Geophysics Group (EES- 11)
  • 1990 - 1998: Project Leader, Nonlinear Elasticity Group
  • 1982 - 1984: Graduate Research, University of Arizona
  • 1981: Research Assistant, Los Alamos National Laboratory, ESS -2
  • 1979 - 1980: Research Assistant, Los Alamos National Laboratory, ESS-2
  • 1978: Field Geologist, Wyoming and Colorado, Freeport Exploration Company
  • 1977: Field Geologist, southeast Alaska, Exxon
  • 1976: Research Assistant, Los Alamos National Laboratory
  • 1975: Research Assistant, University of New Mexico
  • 1973 - 1978: Musician, New Mexico Symphony Orchestra



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