Neal Driscoll is a professor of geology and geophysics in the Geosciences Research Division at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego.

Driscoll researches tectonic deformation and the evolution of landscapes and seascapes. His work primarily focuses on the sediment record to understand the processes that shaped the earth. As part of this research, Driscoll spends time at sea acquiring images of the seafloor and subsurface layers to understand the processes that shape Earth.

Driscoll is also co-director of UC San Diego’s Center for Public Preparedness (CP2) and the ALERTCalifornia public safety program. ALERTCalifornia provides critical infrastructure for mitigating wildfire and natural disaster risk to life, property and ecosystems. The advanced network of more than 1000 cameras across California helps first responders monitor natural disasters such as wildfires, floods, and landslides. ALERTCalifornia is a vital resource that provides an array of technological tools, infrastructure and research that supports government agencies, utilities and the public in their response to ever-increasing natural disaster risk. ALERTCalifornia also gathers vital data to inform the greater understanding of natural disaster causes, active event behavior and post-event impacts to air quality, water quality, ecosystems, and human health. 

The infrastructure for the system was first developed as an earthquake monitoring tool, but evolved into a multi-hazard system that continues to provide valuable monitoring during other extreme weather events and earthquakes.

Driscoll attended the University of New Hampshire in Durham, where he received a B.S. in geology. He worked at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) as a research assistant. He received a master’s of science from the Graduate School of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island, and a master’s in philosophy and a PhD from Columbia University.

Prior to joining Scripps, Driscoll was the Storke-Doherty Lecturer at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, where he received the Heezen Award and the Storke Award for excellence in research. He was also previously an associate scientist at WHOI.

He was awarded the Office of Naval Research’s Young Investigator Award. Driscoll was the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Distinguished Crosby Lecturer. He was chosen by Scripps students as the inaugural winner of the institution’s Undergraduate Teaching Award.


Research Interests

Landscape and seascape evolution in response to tectonic deformation, sea-level fluctuations and climate

Neotectonics and geohazards


  • B.S., University of New Hampshire
  • M.S., University of Rhode Island, Graduate School of Oceanography
  • PhD, Columbia University, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory