345 Middlefield Road, MS977
Menlo Park, CA 94025
(650) 329-5637
tholzer@usgs.gov

Biography

Photo of TomDr. Thomas L. Holzer is a research geologist with the Earthquake Hazards Team of U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, California. He also is a consulting associate professor with joint appointments in the Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Geological and Environmental Sciences at Stanford University. He received his B.S.E. in geological engineering from Princeton University in 1965 and his M.S. in hydrology in 1966 and Ph.D. in geology in 1970 from Stanford University. His research specialty is engineering geology.

His current research is focused on improving both methodologies for regional mapping of earthquake-induced liquefaction hazard and the understanding of the physics of liquefaction. He is applying the liquefaction potential index (LPI) to develop probabilities of liquefaction for different types of geologic units. The geologic units are characterized by extensive cone penetration testing (CPT). Prototype maps have been prepared for the greater Oakland, California area and Northern Santa Clara County, California. Extensive characterization of geologic units is being conducted in the central and eastern United States. Prior to his current research on liquefaction, he focused on land subsidence and associated earth fissures and surface faulting caused by the pumping of ground water.

Dr. Holzer has conducted many post-earthquake investigations, both foreign and domestic, and recently chaired the committee that wrote the plan to coordinate post-earthquake investigations of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP).

CPT Data

photo of CPT truck

Recent Hazard Maps

Selected Publications (past 10 years)

  1. Holzer, T.L., Noce, T.E., and Bennett, M.J., 2010, Maps and documentation of seismic CPT soundings in the eastern, central, and western United States: U.S. Geological Survey Open-file Report 2010-1136, 63 p., 3 tables. globe icon
  2. Holzer, T.L., Jayko, A.S., Hauksson, E., Fletcher, J.P.B., Noce, T.E., Bennett, M.J., and Dietel, C.M., 2010, Liquefaction caused by the 2009 Olancha, California (USA), M5.2 earthquake: Engineering Geology, doi:10.1016/j.enggeo.2010.07.009. globe icon.
  3. Holzer, T.L., 2009, Living with unstable ground: Alexandria, VA, American Geological Institute Environmental Awareness Series No. 11, 64 p. globe icon
  4. Holzer, T.L., Noce, T.E., and Bennett, M.J., 2009, Scenario liquefaction hazard maps of Santa Clara Valley, Northern California: Seismological Society of America Bulletin, v. 99, no. 1, p. 367-381.PDF icon
  5. O'Rourke, T.D., Holzer, T.L., Rojahn, C., and Tierney, K., 2008, Contributions of earthquake engineering to protecting communities and critical infrastructure from multihazards: Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, Oakland, CA, 57 p.PDF icon
  6. Holzer, Thomas L., Noce, Thomas E., and Bennett, Michael J., 2008, Liquefaction hazard maps for three earthquake scenarios for the communities of San Jose, Campbell, Cupertino, Los Altos, Los Gatos, Milpitas, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Santa Clara, Saratoga, and Sunnyvale, northern Santa Clara County, California: U.S. Geological Survey Open-file Report 2008-1270, 33 p., 3 plates, and database.globe icon
  7. Holzer, T.L., 2008, Probabilistic liquefaction hazard mapping, in Zeng, D., Manzari, M.T., and Hiltunen, D., eds., Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering and Soil Dynamics Conference, 4th, Sacramento, Proceedings, ASCE Geotechnical Special Publication No. 181, p. 1-32. PDF icon
  8. Holzer, T.L., and Youd, T.L., 2007, Liquefaction, ground oscillation, and soil deformation at the Wildlife Array, California: Seismological Society of America Bulletin, v. 97, no. 3, p. 961-976. PDF icon
  9. Holzer, T.L., and Bennett, M.J., 2007, Geologic and hydrogeologic controls of boundaries of lateral spreads: Lessons from USGS case histories, in, Schaefer, V.R., Schuster, R.L., and Turner, A.K., eds., First North American Landslide Conference, Proceedings, Association of Engineering Geologists Special Publication 23, p. 502-522. PDF icon
  10. Cox, R.T., Hill, A.A., Larsen, D., Holzer, T.L., Forman, S.L., Noce, T.E., Gardner, C., and Morat, J., 2007, Seismotectonic implications of sand blows in the Southern Mississippi embayment: Engineering Geology, v. 89, no. 3-4, p. 278-299. PDF icon
  11. Holzer, T.L., 2006, Liquefaction-When the ground flows, in d’Alessio, M.A., ed., Earthquake Science Explained, U.S. Geological Survey General Interest Publication 21, p. 6. globe icon
  12. Holzer, T.L., Bennett, M.J., Noce, T.E., Padovani, A.C., and Tinsley, J.C., III, 2006, Liquefaction hazard mapping with LPI in the greater Oakland, California, area: Earthquake Spectra, v. 22, no. 3, 693-708. PDF icon
  13. Holzer, T.L., Blair, J.L., Noce, T.E., and Bennett, M.J., 2006, LiqueMap: A real-time postearthquake map of liquefaction probability in National Conference on Earthquake Engineering, 8th, San Francisco, Proceedings, Paper 89, 10 p. PDF icon
  14. Holzer, T.L., Blair, J.L., Noce, T.E., and Bennett, M.J., 2006, Predicted liquefaction of East Bay fills during a repeat of a 1906 San Francisco earthquake: Earthquake Spectra, v. 22, no. S2, p. S261-S277. PDF icon
  15. Holzer, T.L., Scawthorn, C.S., and Rojahn, C., 2005, Coordinating NEHRP post-earthquake investigations–Exercising the Plan: Earthquake Spectra, v. 21, no. 4, p. 1043-1062. PDF icon
  16. Holzer, T.L., and Galloway, D.L., 2005, Impacts of land subsidence caused by withdrawal of underground fluids in the United States, in Ehlen, J., Hanneberg, W., Larson, R., eds., Humans as geologic agents, Geological Society of America Reviews in Engineering Geology VXI, p. 87-99. PDF icon
  17. Holzer, T.L., Noce, T.E., Bennett, M.J., Tinsley, J.C., III, and Rosenberg, L.I., 2005, Liquefaction at Oceano, California, during the 2003 San Simeon earthquake: Bulletin Seismological Society of America, v. 95, no. 6, p. 2396-2411. PDF icon
  18. Holzer, T.L., 2005, Comment on “Comparison between probabilistic seismic hazard analysis and flood frequency analysis” by Zhenming Wang and Lindell Ormsbee: Transactions, American Geophysical Union, Eos, v. 86, no. 33, p. 303. PDF icon
  19. Holzer, T.L., Padovani, A.C., Bennett, M.J., Noce, T.E., and Tinsley, J.C., III, 2005, Mapping NEHRP VS30 site classes: Earthquake Spectra, v. 21, no. 2, p. 353-370. PDF icon
  20. Holzer, T.L., Bennett, M.J., Noce, T.E., Tinsley, J.C., III, 2005, Shear-wave velocity of surficial geologic sediments in Northern California: Statistical distributions and depth dependence: Earthquake Spectra, v. 21, no. 1, p.161-177. PDF icon
  21. Holzer, T.L., Noce, T.E., Bennett, M.J., Di Alessandro, C., Boatwright, J., Tinsley, J.C., III, Sell, R.W., and Rosenberg, L.I., 2004, Liquefaction-induced lateral spreading at Oceano, California, during the 2003 San Simeon earthquake: U.S. Geological Survey Open-file Report 2004-1269, 41 p. globe icon
  22. Holzer, T.L., Toprak, S., Bennett, M.J., 2003, Application of the liquefaction potential index to liquefaction hazard mapping , in Hamada, M., Bardet, J-P., and O'Rourke, T.D., eds., U.S. - Japan workshop on earthquake resistant design of lifeline facilities and countermeasures against liquefaction, 8th, Tokyo, 2002, Proceedings, Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research Technical Report MCEER-03-0003, p.161-171. PDF icon
  23. Holzer, T.L., and Bennett, M.J., 2003, Unsaturation beneath a water table: Geological Society of America Journal of Environmental and Engineering Geosciences, v. IX, no. 4, p. 379-385. PDF icon
  24. Holzer, T.L., 2003, Seismic hazards mapping for Project Impact—Berkeley and Oakland, California, in, Disaster Resistant California Conference 2003, San Jose, Proceedings, 10 p. (Available on CD-ROM from the Collaborative for Disaster Mitigation (CDM), San Jose State University, San Jose, CA) PDF icon
  25. Noce, T.E., and Holzer, T.L., 2003, Subsurface exploration with the cone penetration testing truck: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 028-03, 2 p. globe icon
  26. Toprak, S., and Holzer, T.L., 2003, Liquefaction potential index: Field assessment: Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, v. 129, no. 4, p. 315-322. PDF icon
  27. Holzer, T.L., Borcherdt, R.D., Comartin, C.D., Hanson, R.D., Scawthorn, C.R., Tierney, K., and Youd, T.L., 2003, The plan to coordinate NEHRP post-earthquake investiga-tions: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1242, 17 p. globe icon
  28. Noce, T.E., and Holzer, T.L., 2003, CPT-hole closure: Ground Water Monitoring & Remediation, v. 23, no. 1, p. 93-96. PDF icon
  29. Holzer, T.L., Wentworth, C.M., Bakun, W.H., Boatwright, J., Brocher, T.M.,  Çelebi, M., Ellsworth, W.L., Fletcher, J.P.B., Geist, E.L., Graymer, R.W., Kayen, R.E., Keefer, D.K., Oppenheimer, D.H., Savage, W.U., Schwartz, D.P., and  Simpson, R.W., 2002, Comments on potential geologic and seismic hazards affecting Mare Island, Solano County, California: U.S. Geological Survey Open-file Report 02-425, 14 p, 8 figs. globe icon
  30. Holzer, T.L., Bennett, M.J., Noce, T.E., Padovani, A.C., and Tinsley, J.C., III, 2002, Liquefaction hazard and shaking amplification maps of Alameda, Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland, and Piedmont, California: A digital database: U.S. Geological Survey Open-file Report 02-296. globe icon
  31. Holzer, T.L., Toprak, S., and Bennett, M.J., 2002, Liquefaction potential index and seismic hazard mapping in the San Francisco Bay area, California, in Urban Earthquake Risk, National Conference on Earthquake Engineering, 7th, Boston, Proceedings, v. II, p. 1699-1706. PDF icon
  32. Holzer, T.L., 2000, Methods for prediction of earth fissures and faults associated with groundwater withdrawal, in The Fragile Territory, Congresso Nazionale dei Geologi, 10th, Rome, Proceedings, Consiglio Nazionale dei Geologi, p. 179-185. PDF icon
  33. U. S. Geological Survey (Holzer, T.L., scientific editor), 2000, Implications for earthquake risk reduction in the United States from the Kocaeli, Turkey, earthquake of August 17, 1999: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1193, 64 p. globe icon
  34. Toprak, S., Holzer, T.L., Bennett, M.J., and Tinsley, J.C., III, 1999, CPT- and SPT-based probabilistic assessments of liquefaction potential, in O'Rourke, T.D., Bardet, J-P., and Hamada, M., eds., U.S. - Japan workshop on earthquake resistant design of lifeline facilities and countermeasures against liquefaction, 7th, Seattle, 1999, Proceedings, Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research Technical Report MCEER-99-0019, p. 69-86. PDF icon
  35. Holzer, T.L., 1999, Extensive research on Loma Prieta improves understanding of earthquakes: Transactions, American Geophysical Union, Eos, v. 80, no. 41, p. 482-483. PDF icon
  36. Holzer, T.L., Bennett, M.J., Ponti, D.J.,and Tinsley, J.C., III, 1999, Liquefaction and soil failure during 1994 Northridge earthquake: Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, v. 125, no. 6, p. 438-452. globe icon
  37. Holzer, T.L. (editor), 1998, The Loma Prieta, California, earthquake of October 17, 1989 – Earth structures and engineering characterization of ground motion: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1552-D, 80 p. globe icon
  38. Holzer, T.L., 1998, Introduction, in Holzer, T.L., ed., The Loma Prieta, California, earthquake of  October 17, 1989 – Earth structures and engineering characterization of ground motion: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1552-D, p. D1. globe icon
  39. Bennett, M.J., Ponti, D.J., Tinsley, J.C., III, Holzer, T.L., and Conway, C.H., 1998, Subsurface geotechnical investigations near sites of ground deformation caused by the January 17, 1994, Northridge, California, earthquake: U.S. Geological Survey Open-file Report 98-373, 145 p.
  40. Holzer, T.L., 1998, The history of the aquitard-drainage model, in Borchers, J.W., ed., Land subsidence: Case histories and current research: Association of Engineering Geologists Special Publication no. 8, p. 7-16. PDF icon
  41. Tinsley, J. C., III, Egan, J.A., Kayen, R.E., Bennett, M.J., Kropp, A., and Holzer, T.L., 1998, Appendix: Maps and descriptions of liquefaction and associated effects, in Holzer, T.L., ed., The Loma Prieta, California, earthquake of  October 17, 1989 – Liquefaction: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1551-B, p. B287-B314, 2 pls. (1:125,000). globe icon
  42. Holzer, T.L. (editor), 1998, The Loma Prieta, California, earthquake of October 17, 1989 – Liquefaction: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1551-B, 314 p. globe icon
  43. Holzer, T.L., 1998, Introduction, in Holzer, T.L., ed., The Loma Prieta, California, earthquake of  October 17, 1989 – Liquefaction: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1551-B, p. B1-B8. globe icon
  44. Holzer, Thomas L., 1998, Relevance of earthquake science and engineering to insurance, in Earthquake insurance: Public policy perspectives from the Western United States earthquake insurance summit, June 25-26, 1998, Sacramento, CA, Western States Seismic Policy Council, San Francisco, p. 189-190. PDF icon
  45. Massonnet, D., Holzer, T.L., and Vadon, H., 1997, Land subsidence caused by the East Mesa geothermal field, California, observed using SAR interferometry: Geophysical Research Letters, v. 24, no. 8, p. 901-904. PDF icon
  46. Jachens, R.C., and Holzer, T.L., 1982, Differential compaction mechanism for earth fissures near Casa Grande, Arizona: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 93, no. 10, p. 998-1012.PDF icon
  47. Holzer, T.L., 1981, Preconsolidation stress of aquifer systems in areas of induced land subsidence: Water Resources Research, v. 17, no. 3, p. 693-704.PDF icon
  48. Holzer, T.L., and Pampeyan, E.H., 1981, Earth fissures and localized differential subsidence: Water Resources Research, v. 17, no. 1, p. 223-227.PDF icon
  49. Holzer, T.L., 1980, Faulting caused by ground-water level declines, San Joaquin Valley, California: Water Resources Research, v. 16, no. 6, p. 1065-1070.PDF icon
  50. Holzer, T.L., 1979, Elastic expansion of the lithosphere caused by ground-water depletion: Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 84, no. B9, p. 4689-4698.PDF icon
  51. Holzer, T.L., Davis, S.N., and Lofgren, B.E., 1979, Faulting caused by groundwater extraction in southcentral Arizona: Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 84, no. B2, p. 603-612.PDF icon

Employment History

From – ToPosition
1993 – presentProject Chief, USGS, Menlo Park, CA
1994 – presentConsulting Associate Professor, Departments of Geological and Environmental Sciences and Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA
1989 – 1993Chief, Branch of Engineering Seismology and Geology, USGS, Menlo Park, CA
1984 – 1989Project Chief, USGS, Menlo Park, CA
1982 – 1984Deputy Assistant Director for Research, USGS, Reston, VA
1975 – 1982Project Chief, USGS, Menlo Park, CA
1970 – 1975Assistant Professor, Department of Geology and Geography, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT

Honors

AwardDateOrganization
Superior Service Award1981U.S. Geological Survey
Certificate of Appreciation1990U.S. Geological Survey
Public Service Award1991U.S. Department of Interior
Distinguished Service Award1995Geol. Society of America, Hydrogeology Division
R. H. Jahns Distinguished. Lecturer1998Assoc. Eng. Geol./Geol. Society of America
Certificate of Appreciation1999City of Oakland, California
Certificate of Appreciation2001Association of Bay Area Governments