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This Position Is No Longer Available

Job Title:  Research Geophysicist, GS-1313-13 (DEU-Perm-LJ)
Department:  Department Of The Interior
Agency:  Geological Survey
Job Announcement Number:  PAC-2014-0243

This position is closed and no longer accepting online applications through USAJOBS.

The contents of the announcement can still be viewed.
$97,836.00 to $127,187.00 / Per Year
Friday, February 28, 2014 to Friday, March 21, 2014
Permanent - Full-Time
1 vacancy in the following location:
Menlo Park, CA View Map
United States Citizens
Q - Nonsensitive


About the Agency

Are you a Research Geophysicist looking for a position in the Federal workforce? Do you want to be part of an innovative research science organization? Do you want to support a seismic network and help mitigate earthquake hazards in the US?  If you answered "yes" to these questions, then this is the job for you! Come join the USGS and start doing the job you've always dreamed of!
Why Is It Great To Work For The USGS?
Embark on an exciting future! From the peaks of the highest mountains to the depths of the deepest seas, the U.S. Geological Survey has career opportunities that make a difference in both the lives of others and in the environment. Would you like to join the more than 10,000 scientists, technicians, and support staff of the USGS who are working in more than 400 locations throughout the United States? Apply today! As the Nation's largest water, earth, and biological science and civilian mapping agency, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) collects, monitors, analyzes, and provides scientific understanding about natural resource conditions, issues, and problems. The diversity of our scientific expertise enables us to carry out large-scale, multi-disciplinary investigations and provide impartial, timely, and relevant scientific information to resource managers, planners, and other customers related to: the health of our ecosystems and environment; natural hazards that threaten us; natural resources we rely on, and; the impact of climate and land-use changes. For more information about the USGS please visit
What General Information Do I Need To Know About This Position? There is one vacancy, however; this announcement may be used to fill additional vacancies if they become available.


  • Occasional Travel
  • Overnight travel of 3-5 nights per month may be required for the position.


  • No


  • Applicants must be U.S. Citizens.
  • Suitable for Federal employment, as determined by background investigation.
  • Selectee may be subject to serving a one-year probationary period.
  • More requirements are listed under Qualifications and Other Information.


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As a Research Geophysicist within the Earthquake Science Center, some of your specific duties will include:

- Analyze data recorded by dense, temporary seismic networks installed at sites of suspected induced seismicity to develop high-resolution images of velocity structure and determine locations and source parameters of earthquakes.

- Interpret these seismological observations, together with data from boreholes and surface geophysical surveys, to investigate the geologic and hydrologic structure and geomechanical properties of the crust at these sites.

- Use records of fluid injection and production in geomechanical and hydrologic computer models to test hypotheses for the physical processes controlling induced seismicity. 

- Combine results of the above analyses to develop general guidelines for the creation of improved mitigation protocols and quantitative assessments of seismic hazards due to induced seismicity.

- Publish results from same.

The U.S. Geological Survey has determined that the duties of this position are suitable for telework and the selectee may be allowed to telework with supervisor approval.
For additional information on our internal telework policy, please reference the Department of the Interior Telework Handbook at:  


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Basic Education Requirement: Applicants must meet A or B below to satisfy the basic education requirement for Geophysicist, all grade levels.

A. Successful completion of a full 4-year course of study in an accredited college or university leading to a bachelor's or higher degree that included at least 30 semester hours in mathematics (including calculus) and the physical sciences (geophysics, physics, engineering, geology, astronomy, meteorology, electronics, etc.). ***OR***

B. A combination of education and experience -- at least 30 semester hours in mathematics (including calculus) and the physical sciences (geophysics, physics, engineering, geology, astronomy, meteorology, electronics, etc.), plus appropriate experience and/or additional education for a total of 4 years. The education or combined education and experience must be comparable in type, scope and thoroughness to that acquired through successful completion of a 4-year course of study as described in "A" above.

In addition to the basic education requirement as stated above, applicants must have one year of appropriate professional experience in geophysics that is equivalent to at least the GS-12 level in the Federal service.  Examples of such experience may include planning, executing and reporting on original or ongoing geophysical studies requiring a fresh approach to resolve new problems. The complexity of this work typically required extensive modification and adaptation of standard procedures, methods, and techniques, and the development of totally new methods and techniques to address novel or obscure problems for which guidelines or precedents were not substantially applicable. At this level, scientists have extensive knowledge of the principles of geophysics, exhibit a highly developed ability in their application, and have wide latitude for the exercise of independent judgment to perform scientific work of marked difficulty and responsibility.

You must meet all qualification and eligibility requirements for the position by the closing date of the announcement.

If this position requires specific educational course work to qualify, or you are qualifying based in whole or part on education, you are REQUIRED to provide all unofficial transcripts (undergraduate, graduate, etc.) or list of course work, which includes semester hours earned and grade received, by the closing date of this announcement or you will be disqualified from further consideration. This proof may be faxed, document uploaded, or hand delivered to the servicing Human Resources Office (see "Required Documents" and/or "Contact Information"). Please ensure that all documentation is legible. If you are currently employed by the Federal government in the same occupational series as the advertised position, you are not required to submit transcripts at this time.
Education completed in colleges or universities outside the United States may be used to meet the above requirements. You must provide acceptable documentation that the foreign education is comparable to that received in an accredited educational institution in the United States. For more information on how foreign education is evaluated, visit:

Are There Any Special Requirements For This Position?
A background investigation will be required for this position. Continued employment will be subject to the applicant's successful completion of a background security investigation and favorable adjudication. Failure to successfully meet these requirements will be grounds for termination.

You will be required to operate a government-owned or -leased vehicle in the performance of your official duties.  Applicants for this position must meet the following requirements:  (1) possess a valid State license, and (2) possess a safe driving record.  If selected, you will be required to provide proof of a valid State license and a copy of your driving record.

Throughout the recruitment and hiring process we will be communicating with you via email; therefore, it is imperative that the email address you provide when applying for this vacancy remains active. Should your email address change, please notify the point of contact identified in the vacancy announcement as soon as possible so that we can update our system.



Basis of Rating: Category rating will be used in the ranking and selection process for this position. The quality categories are Best Qualified, Well Qualified, and Qualified. If you meet the basic qualification and eligibility requirements of this position, you will be contacted via email after the vacancy announcement closes and given 10 calendar days to submit narrative responses that address the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) required to perform the duties of this position. You will be rated and ranked based on the information you provide in your resume as well as the responses you submit to the required KSAs. Veterans' preference rules for category rating will be applied.


The knowledge, skills, and abilities required for this position are as follows:
1. Ability to analyze data recorded by seismic networks installed at sites of suspected induced seismicity to develop high-resolution images of velocity structure and determine locations and source parameters of earthquakes observed (e.g., magnitudes, focal mechanisms, moment tensors, radiated seismic energy). 


2. Ability to interpret seismological observations identified under KSA #1, together with data from boreholes and surface geophysical surveys when available, to investigate the geologic and hydrologic structure and geomechanical properties of the crust at sites of suspected induced seismicity. This includes, for example, determining the location, orientation, extent and slip history of active faults, the nature and geometry of fluid pressure pathways (or compartments) and the orientations and magnitudes of the principal stresses.


3. Ability to create, modify and use geomechanical and hydrologic computer models using records of fluid injection and production to test hypotheses for the physical processes controlling induced seismicity. This modeling could utilize, for example, seismological observations, geologic and hydrologic structure, rock mechanical properties, in-situ stresses and fault-slip histories to relate changes in fluid pressure and stress on faults to the occurrence of induced earthquakes.


4.  Ability and recent experience publishing research, in a timely fashion, in scientific journals and making presentations on subjects such as those detailed in above KSA's.


NOTE: If it is determined that you have rated yourself higher than is supported in your description of experience and/or education as described in your resume/application, or that your resume or application is incomplete, you may be rated ineligible, not qualified, or your score may be lowered.

To preview questions please click here.


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You can review our benefits at:

Working for the U.S. Geological Survey offers a comprehensive benefits package that includes, in part, paid vacation, sick leave, holidays, life insurance, health benefits, and participation in the Federal Employees Retirement System. The following Web address is provided for your reference to explore the major benefits offered to most Federal employees. To find out more click here


Applicants who include vulgar, offensive, or inappropriate language or information in their application package will be ineligible for further consideration for this position. 
The full performance level for a Research position is GS-15; however, promotion eligibility is dependent upon the scientific contributions of the incumbent as evaluated by a peer panel.
Under Executive Order 11935, only United States citizens and nationals (residents of American Samoa and Swains Island) may compete for civil service jobs. Agencies are permitted to hire non-citizens only in very limited circumstances where there are no qualified citizens available for the position. USGS employees are subject to Title 43, USC Section 31(a) and may not: (a) have any personal, private, direct or indirect interest in lands or mineral wealth of lands under survey; (b) have any substantial personal, private, direct or indirect interests in any private mining or mineral enterprise doing business with the United States; or (c) execute surveys or examinations for private parties or corporations.
The application contains information subject to the Privacy Act (P.L. 93-579, 5 USC 552a). The information is used to determine qualifications for employment, and is authorized under Title 5, USC, Section 3302 and 3361.


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Applications (resume and application questions) for this vacancy must be received on-line via USAJOBS BEFORE midnight Eastern Time (Washington, D.C. time) on the closing date of this announcement. If you fail to submit a complete online resume, you will not be considered for this position. Requests for extensions will not be granted. Most libraries, employment offices, and all USGS personnel offices can provide access to the Internet. If applying online poses a hardship for you, you must speak to someone in the Servicing Human Resources Office listed on this announcement PRIOR TO THE CLOSING DATE for assistance.
Instructions for Applying Online for this Vacancy Announcement: 1)Click the blue "Apply Online" button. 2)If you are not a registered USAJOBS user, please create a new account and follow the instructions to complete your application process. If you are a registered user, login to access your existing USAJOBS profile. 3)As a registered user, select a stored resume and select one or more of your stored documents to attach to your application. 4)Check the "Certification" box and click the "Apply for this position now!" button located at the bottom of the screen. 5)Address the eligibility questions as well as the questionnaire containing questions and/or task statements that address the knowledge, skills, abilities and/or competencies for this vacancy. 6)Submit required documents using one of the available methods listed below. 7) If you experience technical difficulties during the online application process, please contact the USAJOBS helpdesk.


If you are claiming veterans' preference you MUST submit a copy of your DD-214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, by the closing date of this announcement. If you are currently on active military duty, you must provide documentation (e.g., campaign document, award citation, etc.), that verifies entitlement to veterans preference and that your character of military service is honorable. If you are claiming 10-point veterans' preference, in addition to the DD-214, you must submit documentation that supports your claim (e.g., an official statement from the Department of Veterans Affairs or from a branch of the Armed Forces certifying the existence of a service-connected disability; or receipt of a Purple Heart). If you fail to submit any of the required documentation, you will not be granted veterans preference. Additional information on veterans' preference can be found in the VetGuide.
If you are claiming CTAP/ICTAP eligibility, the Servicing Human Resources Office must receive proof by the closing date of this announcement that you meet the requirements of 5 CFR 330 Subpart F for CTAP and 5 CFR 330 Subpart G for ICTAP or you will not receive priority consideration. This includes a copy of the agency notice, your most recent Performance Rating, and your most recent SF-50 noting current position, grade level, and duty location. Required documents may be faxed, uploaded, or hand delivered to the servicing Human Resources Office (see "Contact Information"). If you are a CTAP or ICTAP eligible, you will be considered well qualified if you earn a minimum score of 85 (prior to the assignment of veteran's preference points). For more information on CTAP/ICTAP please click here.
If you are applying for this position based on eligibility under a special appointing authority, the Servicing Human Resources Office must receive proof of eligibility by the closing date of this announcement.
Required documents may be: 1)faxed to the Agency Contact (see "Contact Information") 2)uploaded directly from your desktop 3)uploaded directly from your USAJOBS stored attachments 4)hand delivered to the servicing Human Resources Office (see 'Contact Information').
Auto-Requested Fax: allows you to submit required documentation that will be electronically displayed along with your resume.
For additional information on special appointing authorities, visit:


Earl Emerson
Phone: 253 552-1663
Fax: 916-278-9406
Agency Information:
INTERIOR, Geological Survey
3020 State University Drive East
Modoc Hall, Suite 2001
Sacramento, CA
Fax: 916-278-9406


If you meet the basic qualification and eligibility requirements of this position, you will be contacted via email after the vacancy announcement closes and given a period of time to submit narrative responses that address the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) required to perform the duties of the position. Then, if you are rated as one of the most highly qualified candidates, you will be referred to the hiring manager for further consideration and possible interview. We expect to make a selection within 45-60 days of the closing date of this announcement. You will be notified via email of the outcome. You can also go to "My Account" within USAJOBS to review your Application Status.

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