Daniel Joseph Johnson
1959-2005

Dr. Dan Johnson died on October 4, 2005 in a car accident on the Olympic Peninsula. He is remembered at Central Washington University for his six and a half years of service in the Geodesy Laboratory in Geological Sciences. Dan arrived at CWU in March of 1996 to work on NASA-funded research using the Global Positioning System (GPS) to study active faulting in eastern California. In the fall of 2002, he moved on to projects at the University of Washington and his alma mater, the University of Puget Sound.

Dr. Johnson attended high school in Tacoma, Washington, received his B.S. in Geology for the University of Puget Sound in 1981, and his Ph.D. in Geology and Geophysics at the University of Hawaii where he studied magma storage in the Kilauea Volcano. His interest in active volcanoes and how they deform began much earlier, however. During the events that led up to the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens, he and his undergraduate classmates installed yardsticks in the muddy shallows rimming Spirit Lake to monitor its tilt as the volcano swelled.

In the Geodesy Laboratory at CWU, Dan was an integral part of the science program that characterized faulting in the Eastern California shear zone, the Gulf of California, and the Cascadia plate boundary in the Pacific Northwest; he played a pivotal role in the discovery of recurring slow earthquakes, now better known as episodic tremor and slip. His legacy at Central includes many innovations in GPS data analysis that poised the PANGA Data Analysis Center to become an integral part of EarthScope's Plate Boundary Observatory.

With passion, Dan pursued travel, adventure, and geodesy, a field of study centered on measuring the Earth's deformation. He especially loved large-scale, expedition style science programs to volcanoes around the world - in Central America, Hawaii, Kamchatka, the Cascades, and at sea - on marine volcano exploration voyages in most of the world's major oceans. His quirky sense of humor and persistence in the pursuit of knowledge endeared him to faculty and staff at Central Washington University.

He is survived by his wife, Eileen Llona, who served on the faculty of the CWU Library until 2000.

Killed in the same accident, state seismologist and University of Washington geophysicist Tony Qamar will also be missed by Central. He partnered with CWU faculty to attract NSF funding for the Pacific Northwest Geodetic Array (PANGA) in 1997, after establishing a nucleus for continuous GPS observations in Washington, at Neah Bay and on campus at the University of Washington, in the years prior.


There will be a memorial service for Dan at the University of Puget Sound on Monday, October 10th.

Memorial information page for Tony Qamar