Tina Dura

Assistant Professor of Natural Hazards
Tina Dura
1068A Derring Hall

Dr. Dura specializes in subduction zone paleogeodesy, which combines the methods of coastal stratigraphy, sedimentology, micropaleontology, paleoseismology, geophysical and sediment transport modeling, and sea-level research to reconstruct long-term histories of coseismic vertical deformation and tsunami inundation along subduction zone coastlines. 


  • 2010-2014  PhD in Earth Science (Sea-level Research), University of Pennsylvania, USA
  • 2008-2010  MA in Geology, Central Washington University, USA
  • 2000-2004  BA Honors in Geology, Occidental College, USA

Dr. Dura and her research group employ both field-based methods (stratigraphic mapping, sediment descriptions, surveying) and laboratory-based methods (particle size, geochemical, and diatom analyses) to characterize coastal sedimentary sequences and identify evidence of sudden coseismic subsidence or uplift of the coastline and/or anomalous sand beds that may represent past tsunami inundation. Earthquake and tsunami chronologies are developed through radiocarbon, 137Cs, and OSL dating. Dr. Dura and her lab group are one of the only academic labs to specialize in diatom-based subduction zone paleogeodesy, an approach that is particularly valuable for quantifying coseismic land-level change across sharp stratigraphic contacts and identifying anomalous sand beds deposited by tsunamis over centennial and millennial timescales.

Graduate students

  • Jessica DePaolis (PhD)
  • Alexa Prater (MS)

Undergraduate students

  • Kelly Hale
  • Alexa Dodson
  • Nelson, A.R., Hawkes, A.D., Sawai, Y., Engelhart, S.E., Witter, R., Grant-Walter, W.C., Bradley, L., Dura, T., Cahill, N., Horton, B.P., in press. Timing and size of great earthquakes of the past 2000 years at the Nehalem River estuary, northern coast Oregon, USA. Open Quaternary.
  • Dura, T., and Hemphill-Haley, in press. Diatoms in tsunami deposits, in: Engel, M. (Ed.), Geological Records of Tsunamis and Other Extreme Waves. Elsevier Publishing, pp. TBD.
  • Pilarczyk, J.E., Sawai, Y., Matsumoto, D., Namegaya, Y., Nishida, N., Ikehara, K., Fujiwara, O., Gouramanis, C., Dura, T., Horton, B.P., 2019. Constraining sediment provenance for tsunami deposits using distributions of grain size and foraminifera from the Kujukuri coastline and shelf, Japan. Sedimentology. https://doi.org/10.1111/sed.12591
  • Dura, T., Horton, B.P., Cisternas, M., Hong, I., Ely, L.L., Nelson, A.R., Wesson, R.L., Pilarczyk, J., Parnell, A.C., Nikitina, D., 2017. Subduction zone slip variability during the last millennium, south-central Chile. Quaternary Science Reviews, 175, 112-137.
  • Horton, B.P., Milker, Y., Dura, T., Wang, K., Bridgeland, W.T., Brophy, L., Ewald, M., Khan, N.S., Engelhart, S.E., Nelson, A.R., Witter, R.C., 2017. Microfossil measures of rapid sea-level rise: Timing of response of two microfossil groups to a sudden tidal-flooding experiment in Cascadia. Geology, 45(6), 535-538.
  • Cisternas, M., Garrett, E., Wesson, R., Dura, T., and Ely, L.L, 2017. Unusual geologic evidence of coeval seismic shaking and tsunamis shows variability in earthquake size and recurrence in the area of the giant 1960 Chile earthquake. Marine Geology, 385, 101-113. 
  • Hong, I., Dura, T., Ely, L.L., Horton, B.P., Nelson, A.R., Cisternas, M., Nikitina,D., and Wesson, R.L., 2017. A 600-year long stratigraphic record of tsunamis in south-central Chile. The Holocene, 27(1), 39-51.
  • Dura, T., Hemphill-Haley, E., Sawai, Y., and Horton, B.P., 2016a. The application of diatom ecology and biostratigraphy to earthquake and tsunami studies. Earth Science Reviews, 152, 181-197. 
  • Dura, T., Horton, B. P., Engelhart, Vacchi, M, 2016bThe role of Holocene relative sea-level change in preserving records of subduction-zone earthquakes. Current Climate Change Reports, 2(3), 86-100.
  • Nelson, A. R., Briggs, R. W., Dura, T., Engelhart, S. E., Gelfenbaum, G., Bradley, L. A., Forman, S.L., Vane, C.H., and Kelley, K. A., 2015. Tsunami recurrence in the eastern Alaska-Aleutian arc: A Holocene stratigraphic record from Chirikof Island, Alaska. Geosphere11(4), 1172-1203.
  • Dura, T., Cisternas, M., Horton, B. P., Ely, L. L., Nelson, A. R., Wesson, R. L., and Pilarczyk, J. E., 2015. Coastal evidence for Holocene subduction-zone earthquakes and tsunamis in central Chile. Quaternary Science Reviews, 113, 93-111. 
  • Pilarczyk, J.E., Dura, T., Horton, B.P., Engelhart, S.E., Kemp, A.C., Sawai, Y., 2014. Microfossils from coastal environments as indicators of paleo-earthquakes, tsunamis, and storms.  Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 413, 144-157.
  • Ely, L., Cisternas, M., Wesson, R., Dura, T., 2014. Five centuries of tsunamis and land-level changes at the overlap between the rupture areas of the 1960 and 2010 Chilean earthquakes, Geology 42(11)995-998.
  • Briggs, R. W., Engelhart, S. E., Nelson, A. R., Dura, T., Kemp, A. C., Haeussler, P. J., Corbett, D. R., Angster, S. J., and L. Bradley, 2014. Uplift and subsidence reveal a non‐persistent megathrust rupture boundary (Sitkinak Island, Alaska), Geophysical Research Letters41(7), 2289-2296.
  • Dura, T., Rubin, C. M., Kelsey, H. M., Horton, B. P., Hawkes, A., Vane, C. H., Daryono, M., Grand Pre, C., Ladinsky, T., and Bradley, S., 2011. Stratigraphic record of holocene coseismic subsidence, Padang, West Sumatra. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth (1978–2012)116(B11).