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D. Sarah Stamps

Assistant Professor of Geophysics
Portrait of Sarah Stamps
4060A Derring Hall

D. Sarah Stamps is a geophysicist that measures millimeter precision surface motions with GNSS/GPS and employs computational modeling to investigate the physics driving those motions. She is also an active member of the NSF EarthCube Science Committee and the NSF UNAVCO Education and Community Engagement Committee intent on helping to modernize geosciences for our cyber-connected society and advancing geoscience technical expertise in developing countries.


Ph.D., Geophysics/Geodesy, Purdue University, 2013

B.Sc., Earth Sciences and Mathematics minor, The University of Memphis, 2007

Our work entails measuring the Earth's surface motions with millimeter precision and using computational modeling to understand the physical processes driving Earth's volcanoes, earthquakes, and non-seismic deformation. We tackle questions such as: How and why does the Earth move and deform? Why do continents break apart? How do volcanoes influence continental rift initiation?

In the Geodesy and Tectonophysics Laboratory at the Virginia Tech Department of Geosciences we explore topics in lithospheric dynamics, mantle-lithosphere interactions, and active tectonics by (1) collecting and analyzing high precision Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) observations and (2) testing hypotheses with kinematic and geodynamic computational modeling.

Current students include:   

  • Tahiry A. Rajaonarison, PhD student
  • Joshua R. Jones, Masters student
  • Jessica Pentecost, Masters student
  • Codi Wiersma, Undergraduate researcher
  • Lidia Guerra, Laboratory assistant
  • Stamps, D.S., E. Saria, C. Kreemer (2015) Sub-Saharan Africa Geodetic Strain Rate Model 1.0 Report, August 2015, Strain Rate Model / Sub-Saharan Africa, available from, Global Earthquake Model Foundation, doi: 10/13/117/GEM.REG.TR2015.03.
  • Aronson E, S. Bristol, A.B. Burgess, V. Chandrasekar, H. Close, T. van Eyken, V. Ferrini, B. Gomez, D. Kinkade, A. Kelbert, R.L. Martin, K. Ritterbush, K. Rubin, A. Schmittner, S. Slota, D.S. Stamps, K. Stocks, M.W. Tzeng, P. Wiebe, C. Wood-Charlson (2015): Geoscience 2020: Cyberinfrastructure to reveal the past, comprehend the present, and envision the future, EarthCube, Working Paper ECWP-2015-1, doi: 10.7269/P3MG7MDZ.
  • Douglas B., R, Bennett, D.S. Stamps, N. Niemi, B. Wang, E. Nissan, M, Oskin, A. Duvall, M. Hamburger, (2015), Current directions of field science education with respect to geodetic technologies, White Paper for Workshop on Future Seismic and Geodetic Facility Needs in the Geosciences, May 4-6, 2015.
  • Stamps, D.S. and G. Rambolamanana, (2015). Madagascar 2014, UNAVCO, GPS Data Set, doi:10.7283/T5WS8RKK
  • Sachau, T., D. Koehn, D.S. Stamps, M. Lindenfield, (2015), Fault kinematics and stress fields in the Rwenzori Mountains, Uganda, Int. Jrl. Earth Sci., doi: 10.1007/s00531-015-1162-6.
  • Stamps, D.S. and F. Tugume, (2015). Uganda 2014, UNAVCO, GPS Data Set, doi:10.7283/T5SN077
  • Stamps, D.S. and E. Saria (2015), Tanzania 2014, UNAVCO, GPS Data Set, doi:10.7283/T5XD0ZZG
  • Stamps, D.S., G. Iaffaldano, E. Calais (2015), Role of mantle flow in Nubia-Somalia divergence, Geophys. Res. Lett., doi: 10.1002/2014GL062515
  • Stamps, D.S., L.M. Flesch, E. Calais, A. Ghosh (2014), Current kinematics and dynamics of Africa and the East African Rift, Jrl. Geophy. Res., doi: 10.1002/2013JB010717
  • Saria, E., E. Calais, D.S. Stamps, D. Delvaux, C.J.H. Hartnady (2014), Present-day kinematics of the East African Rift, Jrl. Geophy. Res., doi: 10.1002/2013JB010901
  • Fernandes, R., Miranda, J. M., Delvaux, D., D.S., Stamps, E. Saria (2013), Re-evaluation of the kinematics of Victoria Plate using continuous GNSS data, Geophys J Int., doi: 10.1093/gji/ggs071
  • Stamps D.S. et al. (2013). An investigation of rift-parallel surface deformation along the East African Rift System, GeoPRISMS Planning Workshop for East African Rift, Morristown, NJ, 10/25/13-10/27/13, White Paper.
  • Stamps D.S. et al. (2013). An investigation of plate boundary formation in Madagascar, GeoPRISMS Planning Workshop for East African Rift, Morristown, NJ, 10/25/13-10/27/13, White Paper.
  • Stamps D.S., (2012), Madagascar Uganda 2012: Madagascar 2012, UNAVCO, GPS Data Set, doi:10.7283/T5HX19S6 Stamps D.S., (2012), Madagascar Uganda 2012: Uganda 2012, UNAVCO, GPS Data Set, doi:10.7283/T5HX19S6
  • Stamps, D.S., L.M. Flesch, E.Calais (2010), Lithospheric buoyancy stresses in Africa from a thin sheet approach, Int. Jrl. Earth Sci., Special Publication on Continents in Extension, 99(7), doi: 10.1007/s00531-010-0533-2
  • Stamps, D.S., (2010), Tanzania Madagascar Uganda 2010: Madagascar, UNAVCO, GPS Data Set, doi:10.7283/T5000052
  • Calais, E., N. d'Oreye, J. Alberic, A. Deschamps, D. Delvaux, J. Deverchere, C. Ebinger, R.W. Ferdinand, F. Kervyn, A.S. Macheyeki, A. Oyen, J. Perror, E. Saria, B. Smets, D.S. Stamps, C. Wauthier, (2008) Aseismic strain accommodation by slow slip and dyking in a youthful continental rift, East Africa, Nature, doi:10.1038/nature07478
  • Stamps, D.S., E. Calais, E. Saria, C. Hartnady, J.-M. Nocquet, C.J. Ebinger, and R. Fernandes (2008), A kinematic model for the East African Rift, Geophy. Res. Lett., 35, L05304, doi:10.1029/2007GL0327 81
  • Smalley, R. Jr., I.W. Dalziel, M.G. Bevis, E. Kendrick, D.S. Stamps, E.C. King, F.W. Taylor, E. Lauria, A. Zakrajsek, and H. Parra (2007), Scotia arc kinematics from GPS geodesy, Geophys. Res. Lett., 34, L21308, doi:10.1029/2007GL031699
  • Stamps, D.S., R. Smalley, Jr. (2006), Strings and Things for Locating Earthquakes, Seismo. Res. Ltrs, Vol. 77, No. 6, pp.677-683., doi:10.1785/gssrl.77.6.677
  • Tectonics, Spring semesters, undergraduate/graduate level
  • Tectonic Geodesy, Fall semesters, bi-annual, graduate level
  • Geodynamics and ASPECT, Fall semesters, bi-annual, graduate level
  • 2009 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship
  • 2013 National Science Foundation Earth Sciences Postdoctoral Research Fellowship
  • UNAVCO Education and Community Engagement Executive Committee
  • AfricaArray
  • GNSS/GPS introductory training short-courses
  • Remote masters degree advising