Dom Tower, Utrecht, Netherlands

Matthew Herman

Assistant Professor
Department of Geological Sciences
California State University, Bakersfield

About Me

Hi! I am Matt, and I am an Assistant Professor at Cal State Bakersfield. I grew up in St. Louis, then went to Amherst College for my B.A. From there, I went to Penn State for grad school and Utrecht University for my postdoc.

I study the processes through which the Earth deforms, especially those that cause earthquakes.

I also like to cook.

Research Interests

Lithospheric Applications of Finite Elements

The Earth is a complicated place, with mechanical and rheological heterogeneity that is often ignored in favor of a conceptually or computationally simpler model. I use finite element models developed at Utrecht University to understand subduction zone earthquake cycles, with a focus on determining when in the earthquake cycle it is okay to simplify and when more complex models are required.

Stress Changes and Earthquake Triggering

Earthquakes (and other events such as wastewater injection) change the forces acting on nearby faults. I am interested in how these events promote or inhibit seismic activity on these nearby structures, and whether such analysis can be used to anticipate seismic hazards.


With improvements in the precision, accuracy, and sampling rate of both seismometers and geodetic tools, both sets of observations are increasingly necessary for a complete description of deformation throughout the earthquake cycle. I am interested in where these observation tools overlap, where they are complementary, and what these different techniques can tell us about earthquake processes.

Regional Seismic Source Characterization

Earthquakes are commonly analyzed using observations from 3,000-10,000 km away ("teleseismic" distances), which works great for events magnitude 5.5 and larger. But what about those finicky smaller earthquakes? I have worked with colleagues at the USGS and Saint Louis University using regional (less than 1000 km away) observations to constrain earthquake source parameters for much smaller events. These little earthquakes can reveal a lot about deformation processes.



2020 -
California State University, Bakersfield
Assistant Professor

Utrecht University
Postdoctoral Researcher


The Pennsylvania State University
Ph.D. Geosciences

The Pennsylvania State University
M.S. Geosciences

Amherst College
B.A. Geology and Physics

Websites of Interest



For Fun