Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences

Barry Eakins

Senior Research Scientist for National Geophysical Data Center

Headshot of Barry Eakins
  • Ph.D. Marine Geophysics, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, 2002
  • B.A. Geology - Geophysics option, University of Colorado Boulder, 1994

Research Interests

  • Scientific and legal analysis of the outer limits of continental shelves
  • Development and evaluation of high-resolution, integrated bathymetric–topographic digital elevation models (DEMs)
  • Impact of DEM gridding techniques and elevation uncertainty on tsunami inundation modeling results
  • Evolution of oceanic volcanic islands, particularly their growth and collapse through submarine landslides
  • Structure and formation of oceanic rifted margins, and evolution of accreting plate-boundaries

Current Research

I am a lead scientist for the U.S. Extended Continental Shelf (ECS) Project. The mission of this multi-agency, decades-long project is to establish the full extent of the U.S. continental shelf, in accordance with the provisions of Article 76 of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The ECS is that portion of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles from shore, which for the United States is almost 1 million square kilometers (roughly twice the size of California). The documentation required to demonstrate that extent totals some 1500 pages, including hundreds of maps and figures. This project is led by the Department of State, NOAA, and USGS, with contributions from numerous other U.S. agencies. Since 2003, NOAA has mapped more than 3 million square kilometers of the ocean floor in support of the project, while USGS has acquired 28,105 linear kilometers of seismic data.

Research Categories

Oceans, Solid Earth

Honors and Awards

2013: U.S. Department of State Superior Honor Award
2016: CIRES Bronze Award
2021: CIRES Gold Award
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About CECA

CECA connects and creates a supportive environment for graduate students and postdocs who come from various academic units to do research in CIRES.