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July 10, 2009

Marcia McNutt, Stanford geophysicist, to be nominated to head U.S. Geological Survey

President Barack Obama announced Thursday, July 9, that he intends to nominate Marcia McNutt, professor of Geophysics at Stanford, to be the director of the U.S. Geological Survey and Science Advisor to the Secretary of the Interior.

"It is a distinct honor to be asked by the President to serve his administration, especially given the high caliber of science appointments already made,” said McNutt in a prepared statement. “Scientific information from the U.S. Geological Survey is crucial to solving the most important problems facing society: finding sufficient supplies of fresh water and clean energy and providing accurate information that allows citizens to prepare intelligently for climate change. I look forward to leading such a respected institution at this critical time."

McNutt joined the Stanford faculty in 1998. Since 1997 she has been the president and chief executive officer of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.

“We are all extremely pleased with the choice,” said Pamela Matson, dean of the School of Earth Sciences. “Marcia has been a leader of the scientific community for decades. She’s a wonderful person, both in terms of the depth of her own scientific knowledge and the breadth of her understanding of the range of disciplines that are needed in the USGS. I’m excited. I think it’s an excellent choice.”

McNutt’s biography includes a broad range of research interests, as well as numerous honors and awards. Her research ranges from studies of ocean island volcanism in French Polynesia to continental break-up in the western United States, to uplift of the Tibet Plateau. She has participated in 15 major oceanographic expeditions, and served as chief scientist on more than half of those voyages.

McNutt served as president of the American Geophysical Union from 2000-2002. She also chaired the President’s Panel on Ocean Exploration, convened by President Clinton to examine the possibility of initiating a major U.S. program in exploring the oceans.

Among McNutt’s honors and awards are memberships in the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

She is a fellow for the American Geophysical Union, the Geological Society of America, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the International Association of Geodesy.



Louis Bergeron, News Service: (650) 725-1944,

Kim Fulton-Bennett, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute: (831) 775-1835,

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