Brandon Schmandt

Assistant Professor

Earth and Planetary Science

University of New Mexico

bschmandt (at)

Research interests: I conduct research in geophysics, primarily using the tools of seismology to study Earth structure and surface or subsurface processes that make seismic signals. The questions that drive my research are often related to links between tectonic and volcanic processes apparent at the surface and underlying mantle convection and deep crustal deformation. My other active research interests include using seismology to investigate the  bulk and volatile composition of the scarcely sampled deep Earth, and improving the utility of seismology for continuously tracking mechanical surface processes such as sediment transport in rivers. My research involves a blend of computational analyses, collection of new geophysical data in the field, and interdisciplinary collaborations to synthesize constraints on geological processes.

Peer-Reviewed Publications  



Schmandt, B., D. Gaeuman, R.L. Stewart, S.M. Hansen, V.C. Tsai, J. Smith (2017). Seismic array constraints on reach scale bedload transport. Geology, doi:10.1130/G38639.1.



Hansen, S. M., Schmandt, B., Levander, A., Kiser, E., Vidale, J. E., Abers, G. A., & Creager, K. C. (2016). Seismic evidence for a cold serpentinized mantle wedge beneath Mount St Helens. Nature Communications, 7.


Kiser, E., Palomeras, I., Levander, A., Zelt, C., Harder, S., Schmandt, B., Hansen, S., Creager, K., Ulberg, C. (2016) Magma reservoirs from the upper crust to the Moho inferred from high-reoslution Vp and Vs models beneath Mount St. Helens, Washington State, USA. Geology, doi: 10.1130/G37591.1


Crossey, L. J., Karlstrom, K. E., Schmandt, B., Crow, R. R., Colman, D. R., Cron, B., Ricketts, J. W. (2016). Continental smokers couple mantle degassing and distinctive microbiology within continents. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 435, 22-30.



Schmandt, B., Lin, F. C., & Karlstrom, K. E. (2015). Distinct crustal isostasy trends east and west of the Rocky Mountain Front. Geophysical Research Letters, 42.


Hansen, S., K. Dueker, B. Schmandt (2015), Thermal classification of lithospheric discontinuities beneath USArray. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2015.09.009.


Cafferky, S., & Schmandt, B. (2015). Teleseismic P wave spectra from USArray and implications for upper mantle attenuation and scattering. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, DOI 10.1002/2015GC005993.


Hansen, S., & Schmandt, B. (2015). Automated Detection and Location of Microseismicity at Mount St. Helens with a Large-N Geophone Array. Geophysical Research Letters, DOI: 10.1002/2015GL064848.


Becker, T. W., Lowry, A. R., Faccenna, C., Schmandt, B., Borsa, A., & Yu, C. (2015). Western US intermountain seismicity caused by changes in upper mantle flow. Nature, 524(7566), 458-461.


Humphreys, E. D., Schmandt, B., Bezada, M. J., & Perry-Houts, J. (2015). Recent craton growth by slab stacking beneath Wyoming. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 429, 170-180.


Ricketts, J. W., Kelley, S. A., Karlstrom, K. E., Schmandt, B., Donahue, M. S., & van Wijk, J. (2015). Synchronous opening of the Rio Grande rift along its entire length at 25–10 Ma supported by apatite (U-Th)/He and fission-track thermochronology, and evaluation of possible driving mechanisms. Geological Society of America Bulletin, B31223-1.


Huang, H. H., Lin, F. C., Schmandt, B., Farrell, J., Smith, R. B., & Tsai, V. C. (2015). The Yellowstone magmatic system from the mantle plume to the upper crust. Science, 348(6236), 773-776.



F-.C. Lin, B. Schmandt (2014), Upper crustal azimuthal anisotropy across the contiguous U.S. determined by Rayleigh wave ellipticity, Geophys. Res. Lett., DOI: 10.1002/2014GL061231.


Schmandt, B., F-.C. Lin (2014), P- and S-wave tomography of the mantle beneath the United States, Geophys. Res. Lett., 41, 18, DOI: 10.1002/2014GL061231.


Schmandt, B., S. D. Jacobsen, T. W. Becker, Z. Liu, K. G. Dueker (2014), Dehydration melting at the top of the lower mantle. Science, 344 (6189), 1265-1268.


MacCarthy, J., R. C. Aster, K. G. Dueker, S. Hansen, B. Schmandt, K. E. Karlstrom (2014), Seismic Tomography of the Colorado Rocky Mountains Upper Mantle from CREST: Lithosphere-Asthenosphere Interactions and Mantle Support of Topography. Earth. Planet. Sci. Lett., 402, 107-119.


Lin, F.-C., V. C. Tsai, B. Schmandt (2014), 3D crustal structure of the western United States: application of Rayleigh-wave ellipticity extracted from noise cross-correlations. Geophysical Journal International, 198 (2), 656-670.


Foster, K., K. G. Dueker, B. Schmandt, H. Yuan (2014), A sharp cratonic lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary beneath the American Midwest and its relation to mantle flow. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. doi:/10.1016/j.epsl.2013.11.018.


Crow, R., A. Darling, K. E. Karlstrom, L. J. Crossey, V. Polyak, D. Granger, Y. Asmerom, B. Schmandt (2014), Steady incision of Grand Canyon at the million-year timeframe: a case for mantle driven differential uplift. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 397, 159-173,



Schmandt, B. and R. W. Clayton (2013), Analysis of teleseismic P-waves with a 5200-station array in Long Beach, California: evidence for an abrupt boundary to Inner Borderland rifting. J. Geophys. Res. Solid Earth, 118, doi:10.1002/jgrb.50370.


Schmandt, B., R. Aster, D. Scherler, V. Tsai, K.E. Karlstrom (2013), Multiple fluvial processes detected by seismic and infrasound monitoring of a controlled flood in the Grand Canyon, Geophys. Res. Lett., 40, doi:10.1002/grl.50953.


Wang, Y., D. W. Forsyth, C. J. Rau, N. Carriero, B. Schmandt, J. Gaherty, B. Savage (2013), Fossil slabs attached to unsubducted fragments of the Farallon plate, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science,


Lin, F.-C., V. C. Tsai, B. Schmandt, Z. Duputel, Z. Zhan, (2013), Extracting seismic cores phases with array interferometry, Geophysical Research Letters, 40, 1049-1053, DOI: 10.1002/grl.50237.



Schmandt, B. (2012), Mantle transition zone shear velocity gradients beneath USArray. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 355-356, 119-130, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2012.08.031.


Lin, F.-C., B. Schmandt, and V. C. Tsai (2012), Joint inversion of Rayleigh wave phase velocity and ellipticity using USArray: Constraining velocity and density structure in the upper crust, Geophys. Res. Lett., 39, L12303, doi:10.1029/2012GL052196.


Schmandt, B., K. G. Dueker, E. D. Humphreys, S. H. Hansen (2012), Hot mantle upwelling across the 660 beneath Yellowstone. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 331-332, 224-236, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2012.03.025.


Chu, R., B. Schmandt, D. V. Helmberger (2012), Upper mantle P-velocity structure beneath the midwestern United States derived from triplicated waveforms, Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems, 13, Q0AK04, doi:10.1029/2011GC003818.


Chu, R., B. Schmandt, D. V. Helmberger (2012), Juan de Fuca subduction zone structure from tomography and waveform modeling, J. Geophys. Res., 117, B03304, doi:10.1029/2012JB009146.


Karlstrom, K. E., et al. (2012), Mantle-driven dynamic uplift of the Rocky Mountains and Colorado Plateau and its surface response: Toward a unified hypothesis. Lithosphere, doi:10.1130/L150.1.



O’Driscoll, L., E. D. Humphreys, B. Schmandt, (2011), Time corrections to teleseismic P delays derived from SKS splitting parameters and implications for western U.S. P-wave tomography. Geophysical Research Letters, 38 L19304.


Schmandt, B., K. G. Dueker, S. M. Hansen, J. J. Jasbinsek, Z. Zhang (2011), A sporadic low-velocity layer atop the western U.S. mantle transition zone and short-wavelength variations in transition zone discontinuities. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems, doi:10.1029/2011GC003668.


Humphreys, E. D., B. Schmandt (2011), Looking for mantle plumes. Physics Today, 64, 8, 34-39. 

Levander, A., B. Schmandt, M. S. Miller, K. Liu, K. E. Karlstrom, R. S. Crow, C.-T. A. Lee, and E. D. Humphreys (2011), Ongoing Colorado Plateau uplift by delamination-style convective lithospheric downwelling. Nature, 472, 461–465, doi:10.1038/nature10001.


Schmandt, B. and E. D. Humphreys (2011), Seismically Imaged Relict Slab from the 55 Ma Siletzia Accretion to Northwest USA. Geology, 39, 175-178.


Crow, R.S., K. E., Karlstrom, Y. Asmerom, B. Schmandt, V. Polyak, A. DuFrane (2011), Shrinking of the Colorado Plateau via lithospheric mantle erosion: evidence from Nd and Sr isotopes and geochronology of Neogene basalts. Geology, 39, 27-30.



Schmandt, B. and E. D. Humphreys (2010), Complex subduction and small-scale convection revealed by body wave tomography of the western U.S. upper mantle. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 297, 435-445, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2010.06.047.


Bezada, M. J., A. Levander, and B. Schmandt (2010) Subduction in the southern Caribbean: Images from finite-frequency P wave tomography. J. Geophys. Res., 115, B12333, doi:10.1029/2010JB007682.


Schmandt, B. and E. D. Humphreys (2010), Seismic heterogeneity and small-scale convection in the southern California upper mantle. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems. 11, Q05004, doi:10.1029/2010GC003042.