Geophysical Monitoring, LLNL

Geophysical Monitoring


Dr. William R. Walter

Education and Professional Experience


Geophysics, University of Nevada, Reno



Physics, University of California – San Diego



Physics, Middlebury College


LLNL: Head of Geophysical Monitoring Programs and GS Associate Program Leader for Geophysical Detection (2008-Present). After working at LLNL for two summers while in graduate school, he joined LLNL as a postdoc in 1991.

Technical Career: Research geophysicist and author or co-author of more than 65 peer-reviewed publications.

Professional Interests

 Dr. Walter is the LLNL lab leader for the Ground-based Nuclear Explosion Monitoring (GNEM) R&D and the Nuclear Test Limitation (NTL) programs. He is also the LLNL point of contact for the Source Physics Experiments (SPE). He recently accepted the invitation to serve a three-year term on the National Research Council Board on Earth Sciences and Resources standing committee on Seismology and Geodynamics (COSG), and in January was elected to the Seismological Society of America Board of Directors. He served on the Seismic Subcommittee for the National Academy of Sciences Panel that issued a 2012 report updating the technical issues related to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). In graduate school he collected seismic data from U.S. nuclear tests in Nevada and from the 1988 Soviet Joint Verification Experiment in what is now Kazakhstan. His research areas include: geophysics and seismology, seismic source physics, earth structure, tectonics, treaty verification and related policy issues.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists are engaged in a variety of research topics related to geophysical monitoring for underground nuclear explosions where there are opportunities for collaboration with students and postdocs.  These research topics include:

  • New algorithm and Earth Model development – to improve the capability to detect, locate and identify nuclear explosions amidst various background sources including natural earthquakes, man made industrial blasts and other signals.  
  • Finite difference simulations and “big data” analysis techniques on large volumes of historical and streaming real-time data employing LLNL supercomputing resources.
  • The analysis of seismo-acoustic and other data types from ongoing field experiments, including the Source Physics Experiment (SPE) and Underground Nuclear Explosion Signature Experiments (UNESE).