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Matthew Larsen

Associate Director - Climate & Land Use Change

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Short Biography

Matt Larsen has a BS in Geology from Antioch College, Ohio and a PhD in Geography from the University of Colorado. His USGS career began in 1977 with the Branch of Pacific and Arctic Marine Geology in California. In 1987 he moved to the Water Resources Division in Puerto Rico and led studies of landslide hazards and fluvial geomorphology. He was the Caribbean District Chief from 2000 to 2003. He moved to Reston and in 2005 became Chief Scientist for Hydrology. In 2008 he was named Associate Director for Water, and in 2010 he was named as the Associate Director for Climate and Land Use Change. Larsen's publications are in the fields of natural hazards, water resources, climate change, and marine geology. He is Chair of the US National Committee for UNESCO International Hydrological Programme.



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69. Larsen, M.C., 2010, Global change and water resources in the next 100 years: American Water Resources 2010 Summer Specialty Conference, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 7 p.

68. Gray, J.R., Hornewer, N.J., Larsen, M.C., Fisk G.G., and Macy, J.P., 2010, Pressure Difference, in, Gray, J.R., and Gartner, J.W., eds., Surrogate technologies for monitoring suspended-sediment transport in rivers, in, Sedimentology of Aqueous Systems, edited by Cristiano Poleto and Susanne Charlesworth, London, Wiley and Blackwell, Chapter 1.2.4, pp. 23-28.

67. Glynn, P.D. , Larsen, M.C., Greene, E.A., Buss, H.L., Clow, D.W., Hunt, R.J., Mast, M.A., Murphy, S.F., Peters, N.E., Sebestyen, S.D., Shanley, J.B., and Walker, J.F., 2009, Selected Achievements, Science Directions, and New Opportunities for the WEBB Small Watershed Research Program, in Webb, R.M.T., and Semmens, D.J., eds., Planning for an uncertain future-Monitoring, integration, and adaptation. Proceedings of the Third Interagency Conference on Research in the Watersheds: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2009-5049, 292 p.

66. Larsen, M.C.,and Webb, R.M.T., 2009, Potential effects of runoff, fluvial sediment and nutrient discharges on the coral reefs of Puerto Rico: Journal of Coastal Research, v. 25, p. 189-208.

65. Larsen, M.C., 2008, Rainfall triggered landslides, anthropogenic hazards, and mitigation strategies. Advances in Geosciences, v. 14, p. 147-153. http://www.adv-geosci.net/14/147/2008/adgeo-14-147-2008.pdf

64. Keefer, D.K., and Larsen, M.C., 2007, Assessing Landslide Hazards, Science, v. 316, p. 1136-1138.

63. Larsen, M.C., and Wieczorek, G.F., 2006, Geomorphic effects of large debris flows and flash floods, northern Venezuela, 1999: Tropical Geomorphology with Special Reference to South America, Latrubesse, Edgardo, ed., Zeitschrift für Geomorphologie Suppl. Vol. 145, pp. 147-175.

62. Peters N.E., Shanley, J.B., Aulenbach, B.T.,  Webb, R.M.,  Campbell, D.H.,  Hunt, R., Larsen, M.C., Stallard, R.F.,  Troester, J., and Walker, J.F., 2006, Water and solute mass balance of five small, relatively undisturbed watersheds in the U.S.: Science of the Total Environment, 358,  p. 221- 242

61. Warne, A.G., Webb, R.M.T., and Larsen, M.C., 2005, Water, sediment, and nutrient discharge characteristics of Puerto Rico rivers and their potential influence on coral reefs: USGS Scientific Information Report 2005-5206, 58 p. http://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2005/5206/

60. Negri, A. J.  Burkardt, Nina, Golden, J.H., Halverson, J.B. Huffman, G.J. Larsen, M.C.  Mcginley, J.A., Updike, R.G., Verdin, J.P. and Wieczorek,  G.F., 2005, The Hurricane-Flood-Landslide Continuum: Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, p. 1241-1247.

59. Smith, J.A., Studevant-Rees, Paula, Baeck, M.L., and Larsen, M.C., 2005, Tropical cyclones and the flood hydrology of Puerto Rico: Water Resources Research, v. 41, W06020, 16p.

58. Pando, M. A. Ruiz, M. E., and Larsen, M. C., 2005, Rainfall-Induced Landslides in Puerto Rico: An Overview: American Society of Civil Engineers,Geo-Institute & Geosynthetics 2005 Conference, Austin, TX.

57. Larsen, M.C., Santiago, Marilyn, and Jibson, R. W., 2004, Map showing landslide susceptibility in the municipality of Ponce, Puerto Rico: USGS Scientific Investigations Map Report Number : I-2818. http://pubs.usgs.gov/sim/2005/2818/

56. Gray, J.R., Patiño, Eduardo, Rasmussen, P.P., Larsen. M.C., Melis, T.S., Topping, D.J., and Alamo, C.F., 2003, Evaluation of sediment surrogate technologies for computation of suspended-sediment transport:  Proceedings of the 1st International Yellow River Forum on River Basin Management, Zhengzhou, Henan Province, China, the Yellow River Conservancy Publishing House, Vol. III, pp. 314-323.

55. Gray, J.R., Melis, T.S, Patiño, Eduardo, Larsen, M.C., Topping, D.J., Rasmussen, P.P., and Figueroa-Alama, Carlos, 2003, U.S. Geological Survey research on surrogate measurements for suspended sediment, in, Renard, Kenneth, G., McElroy, Stephen A., Gburek, William J., Canfield, H. Evan, and Scott, Russell L., eds., Proceedings of the 1st Interagency Conference on Research in Watersheds:  U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, October 27-30, 2003, Benson, Arizona, pp. 95-100.

54. Wieczorek, G.F., Larsen, M.C., Eaton, L.S., Morgan, B.A. and Blair, J. L., 2002, Debris-flow and flooding deposits in coastal Venezuela associated with the storm of December 14-16, 1999: U.S. Geological Survey, Geologic Investigation Series Map I-2772. http://pubs.usgs.gov/imap/i-2772/

53. Larsen, M.C., Wieczorek, G.F., Eaton, L.S., Morgan, B.A., Torres-Sierra, H., 2002, Peligros Naturales en los Abanicos Aluviales: El Desastre Ocasionado por Flujos Detríticos e Inundaciones Repentinas en Venezuela: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet, FS 103-01s, 4 p. http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/fs-0103-01/

52. Larsen, M.C. and Santiago-Román, Abigail, 2001, Mass wasting and sediment storage in a small montane watershed: an extreme case of anthropogenic disturbance in the humid tropics in Dorava, J. M., Palcsak, B.B., Fitzpatrick, F. and Montgomery, D.eds., American Geophysical Union Water Science & Application Volume 4, Geomorphic Processes and Riverine Habitat, p. 119-138.

51. Wieczorek, G.F., Larsen, M.C., Eaton, L.S., Morgan, B.A. and Blair, J. L., 2001, Debris-flow and flooding hazards associated with the December 1999 storm in coastal Venezuela and strategies for mitigation: U.S. Geological Survey Open File Report 01-144, 40p., 3 tables, 2 appendices, 3 plates, 1 CD. http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2001/ofr-01-0144/

50. Larsen, M.C., Wieczorek, G.F., Eaton, L.S., Morgan, B.A., Torres-Sierra, H., 2001, Venezuela debris-flow and flash-flood disaster of 1999 studied: EOS, Transactions: American Geophysical Union, v. 82, no. 47, p. 572-573.

49. Santiago, Marilyn, and Larsen, M.C., 2001, Earthquake-induced landslide susceptibility in the San Juan Metropolitan Area, Puerto Rico: U.S. Geological Survey Open-file Report 01-39, 1 CD.

48. Larsen, M.C., Wieczorek, G.F., Eaton, L.S., Morgan, B.A., Torres-Sierra, H., 2001, Natural hazards on alluvial fans: the Venezuela debris-flow and flash-flood disaster: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet, FS 103-01, 4 p. http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/fs-0103-01/fs-0103-01.pdf

47. Larsen, M.C., Vásquez-Conde, M.T., and Clark, R.A., 2001, Flash-flood related hazards: landslides, with examples from the December, 1999 disaster in Venezuela in E. Gruntfest and J. Handmer, eds., Coping with Flash floods, Kluwer Academic Publishers, p. 259-275.

46. Larsen, M.C., 2001, Evaluation of temporal and spatial factors that control the susceptibility to rainfall-triggered landslides in E. Gruntfest and J. Handmer, eds., Coping with Flash floods, Kluwer Academic Publishers, p. 259-275.

45. Larsen, M.C., Wieczorek, G. F., Eaton, L.S., and Torres-Sierra, H., 2001, The rainfall-triggered landslide and flash-flood disaster in northernVenezuela, December 1999: Proceedings of the Seventh Federal Interagency Sedimentation Conference, March 25 through 29, 2001, Reno, NV, p. IV-9 to IV-16

44. Larsen, M.C., Figueroa Alamo, C., Gray, J.R., and Fletcher, W., 2001, Continuous automated sampling of streamflow density as a surrogate for suspended sediment concentration sampling: Proceedings of the Seventh Federal Interagency Sedimentation Conference, March 25 through 29, 2001, Reno, NV, p. IV-9 to III-102 to III-109.

43. Larsen, M.C., Wieczorek, G. F., Eaton, L.S., and Torres-Sierra, H., 2001, Natural hazards on alluvial fans: the debris flow and flash flood disaster of December 1999, Vargas state, Venezuela: in W.F. Sylva (ed.), Proceedings of the Sixth Caribbean Islands Water Resources Congress, Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, February 22 and 23, 2001, unpaginated CD

42. Carter, L.M., Shea, E., Hamnett, M., Anderson, C., Dolcemascolo, G., Guard, C., Taylor, M., Barnston, T, He, Y., Larsen, M.C., Loope, L., Malone, L., and Meehl, M., 2001, Potential consequences of climate variability and change for the US-affiliated islands of the Pacific and Caribbean: Chapter 11, p. 315-349 in: The Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change: Foundation Report, Report by the National Assessment Synthesis Team for the US Global Change Research Program, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 620p. ttp://www.usgcrp.gov/usgcrp/Library/nationalassessment/11Islands.pdf

41. Larsen, M.C., 2000, Analysis of 20th century rainfall and streamflow to characterize drought and water resources in Puerto Rico: Physical Geography, v. 21, p. 494-521.

40. Larsen, M.C. and Stallard, R.F., 2000, Water, Energy,and Biogeochemical Budgets Luquillo Mountains, Puerto Rico: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet, FS 163-99, 4 p. http://water.usgs.gov/pubs/FS/fs-163-99/pdf/fs-163-99.pdf

39. Larsen, M.C., Torres-Sánchez, A.J., and Concepción, I.M., 1999, Slopewash, surface runoff, and fine‑litter transport in forest and landslide scars in humid‑tropical steeplands, Luquillo Experimental Forest, Puerto Rico: Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, v. 24, p. 481-506.

38. Larsen, M.C., and Torres Sanchez, A.J., 1998, The frequency and distribution of recent landslides in three montane tropical regions of Puerto Rico: Geomorphology, v. 24, p. 309-331.

37. White, A.F, Blum, A.E., Schulz, M.S., Vivit, D.V., Stonestrom, D.A., Larsen, Matthew, Murphy, S.F., and Eberl, D., 1998, Chemical weathering in a tropical watershed, Luquillo Mountains, Puerto Rico: I. Long‑term versus short‑term weathering fluxes: Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, v. 62, no. 2. p. 209‑226.

36. Larsen, M.C., and Concepción, I.M., 1998, Water budgets of small forested and agriculturally-developed montane watershed in eastern Puerto Rico: Proceedings, Tropical Hydrology and Caribbean Water Resources, R.I. Segarra-García, ed., American Water Resources Association, San Juan, Puerto Rico, July 13-16, 1998, p. 199-204.

35. Larsen, M.C., and Parks, J.E., 1998, Map showing landslide hazards in the municipality of Comerio, Puerto Rico: U.S. Geological Survey Open-file Report 98-566, 1 sheet. http://pubs.er.usgs.gov/usgspubs/ofr/ofr98566

34. Brown, E.T., Stallard, R.F., Larsen, M.C., Bour, D.L., Raiseck, G.M., and Yiou, F., 1998, Pre-anthropogenic denudation rates of a perturbed watershed (Cayaguás River, Puerto Rico)  estimated from  in situ produced 10Be in river borne quartz: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 160, p. 723‑728.

33. Larsen, Matthew C., 1997, Tropical geomorphology and geomorphic work: A study of geomorphic processes and sediment and water budgets in montane humid-tropical forested and developed watersheds, Puerto Rico: unpublished Ph.D. thesis, University of Colorado Geography Department, 341 p.

32. Larsen, M.C. and Parks, J.E., 1997, How wide is a road? The association of roads and mass-wasting disturbance in a forested montane environment: Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, vol. 22, p. 835‑848.

31. Myster, R.W., Thomlinson, J.R., and Larsen, M.C., 1997, Predicting landslide vegetation using landscape characteristics of the Puerto Rican rain forest: Landscape Ecology, v. 12 p. 299‑307.

30. Larsen, M.C. and Torres Sánchez, A.J., 1996, Geographic relations of landslide distribution and assessment of landslide hazards in the Blanco, Cibuco, and Coamo river basins, Puerto Rico: U.S. Geological Survey Water Resources Investigations Report 95-4029, 56 p.

29. Brown, E.T., Stallard, R.F., Larsen, M.C., Raiseck, G.M., and Yiou, F. 1995, Denudation rates determined from the accumulation of in situ produced 10Be in the Luquillo Experimental Forest, Puerto Rico: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, vol. 129, p. 193-202.

28. Larsen, M.C., 1995, Use of seismic refraction techniques for investigating recent landslides in a tropical rain forest in Puerto Rico in Miller, R.L., Escalante, J.A., Reinemund, J.A., and Bergin, M.J., eds., Energy and Mineral Potential of the Central American‑Caribbean Regions, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, p. 411-414.

27. Zack, Allen, and Larsen, M.C., 1994. Island hydrology: Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. National Geographic Research & Exploration: Water Issue, p. 126-134.

26. Larsen, M.C., and Simon, Andrew, 1993, Rainfall-threshold conditions for landslides in a humid-tropical system, Puerto Rico: Geografiska Annaler, v. 75A (1-2), p. 13-23.

25. Larsen, M.C., Collar, P.D., and Stallard, R.F., 1993, Research plan for the investigation of water, energy, and biogeochemical budgets in the Luquillo mountains, Puerto Rico: U.S. Geological Survey Open-file Report 92-150, 19 p.

24. Larsen, M. C., and Torres-Sanchez, A. J., 1992, Landslides triggered by Hurricane Hugo in eastern Puerto Rico, September 1989: Caribbean Journal of Science, vol. 28, no. 3-4, p. 113-125.

23. Scatena, F. N., and Larsen, M. C., 1991, Physical aspects of Hurricane Hugo in Puerto Rico: Biotropica, v. 23, no. 4A, p. 317-323.

22. Guariguata, M.R, and Larsen, M.C., 1990, Preliminary map showing landslides in El Yunque quadrangle, Puerto Rico: U.S. Geological Survey Open‑file report, 89‑257, scale 1:20,000, 1 sheet.

21. Larsen, M. C., and Simon, A., 1990, Landslide Processes in Saprolitic Soils of a Tropical Rain Forest, Puerto Rico, in Larue, D.K., and Draper, G., eds., Transactions of the 12th Caribbean Geological Conference, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands: Miami Geological Society, p. 217-222.

20. Larsen, M. C., and Torres-Sanchez, A. J., 1990, Rainfall-soil moisture relations in landslide-prone areas of a tropical rain forest, Puerto Rico, in Krishna, J. H., Quiñones-Aponte, Vicente, Gómez-Gómez, Fernando, and Morris, G. L., eds., Tropical Hydrology and Caribbean Water Resources: Proceedings of the AWRA International Symposium on Tropical Hydrology and Fourth Caribbean Islands Water Resources Congress, p. 121-130.

19. Larsen, M. C., and Veve, T. D., 1990, Field Guide, International Symposium on Tropical Hydrology and Fourth Caribbean Islands Water Resources Congress. American Water Resources Association, Technical Publication TPS-90-2, 40 p.

18. Scatena F.N., Larsen M.C., 1990. Field Guide to the Luquillo Experimental Forest, International Symposium on Tropical Hydrology and Fourth Caribbean Islands Water Resources Congress. American Water Resources Association Technical Publication TPS-90-2 pp. 20-26

17. Simon, Andrew, Larsen, M. C., and Hupp, C. R., 1990, The role of soil processes in determining mechanisms of slope failure and hillslope development in a humid-tropical forest: eastern Puerto Rico, in Kneuper, P.L.K., and McFadden, L. D., eds., Soils and Landscape evolution: Geomorphology, v. 3, p. 263-286.

16. Nelson, C.H., Meyer, A.W., Thor, D.R., and Larsen, Matthew, 1986, Crater  Lake, Oregon: A restricted basin with base‑of‑slope aprons of non-channelized turbidites: Geology, v. 14, p. 238‑241.

15. Larsen, M.C., Nelson, C.H., and Thor, D.R., 1981, Sedimentary processes and potential geologic hazards on the sea floor of northern Bering Sea,  in Hood, D.W., and Calder, J.A., eds., The Eastern Bering Sea Shelf: It's Oceanography and Resources: NOAA‑OCSEAP Juneau Regional Office, Univ. of Washington Press, Seattle, WA, v. 1, p. 411‑424.

14. Chamberlain, C.F., Larsen, M.C., and Oertel, G.F., 1980, A computer program  for the graphic display and quantitative evaluation of beach‑profile data: Georgia Marine Science Center, Technical Report Series no. 80‑4, 9 p.

13. Kvenvolden, K.A., Nelson, C.H., Thor, D.R., Larsen, M.C., Redden, G.D., and Rapp, J.B., 1980, Biogenic and thermogenic gas in gas‑charged  sediment of Norton Sound, Alaska, in Environmental Assessment of the  Alaskan Continental Shelf, Principal Investigators Reports: Environmental Research Laboratory, Boulder, CO, NOAA, U.S. Dept. of Commerce.

12. Larsen, M.C., Nelson, Hans, and Thor, D.R., 1980, Geologic implications and potential hazards of scour depressions on the Bering Shelf, Alaska: Environmental Geology, v. 3, no. 1, p. 39‑47.

11. Larsen, M.C., Nelson, C.H., and Thor, D.R., 1980, Sedimentary history, depositional processes and potential geologic hazards in Norton Basin, Bering Sea: U.S. Geological Survey Open‑File Report 80‑979, 23 p.

10. Nelson, C.H, Thor, D.R., and Larsen, M.C., 1980, Sediment instability, erosion, and deposition hazards of the Norton Basin seafloor, in Environmental Assessment of the Alaskan Continental Shelf, Principal Investigators Reports: Environmental Research Laboratory, Boulder, CO, NOAA, U.S. Dept. of Commerce, year ending 1980, 311 p.

9. Kvenvolden, K.A., Nelson, C.H., Thor, D.R., Larsen, M.C., Redden, G.D., and Rapp, J.B., 1979, Biogenic and thermogenic gas in gas‑charged  sediment of Norton Sound, Alaska: Proceedings Offshore Technical Conference, Houston, Texas, Paper no. 3412, p. 479‑483.

8. Larsen, M.C., Nelson, C.H., and Thor, D.R., 1979, Continuous seismic reflection data‑ Sea 9‑78‑BS cruise, northern Bering Sea: U.S. Geological Survey Open‑File Report 79‑1673, 8 p.

7. Larsen, M.C., Nelson, C.H., and Thor, D.R., 1979, Geologic implications and potential hazards of scour depressions on Bering shelf, Alaska, in Environmental Assessment of the Alaskan Continental Shelf, Principal Investigators Reports: Environmental Research Laboratory, Boulder, CO, NOAA, U.S. Dept. of Commerce, v. 10, p. 53‑154.

6. Nelson, Hans, Thor, D.R., and Larsen, M.C., 1979, Faulting, sediment instability, erosion, and deposition hazards of the Norton Basin sea floor: Annual Reports of Principal Investigators, OCSEAP, NOAA, U.S. Dept. of Commerce, v. 10.

5. Nelson, Hans, Thor, D.R., Larsen, M.C., and Larsen, B.R., 1979, Norton Basin environmental assessment report for tract selection, for Outer Continental Shelf Proposed Lease Sale 57, Internal Report for Bureau of Land Management, Anchorage, AK, 526 p.

4. Oertel, G.F., Larsen, M.C., and Chamberlain, C.F., 1979, The shor‑J  method for rapid beach profiling: Old Dominion University Technical Report no. 40, Norfolk, VA, 12 p.

3. Larsen, M.C., Nelson, C.H.,and Thor, D.R., 1978, Potential hazard of scour depressions in Yukon silt, in Environmental Assessment of the Alaskan Continental Shelf, Principal Investigators Reports: Environmental Research Laboratory, Boulder, CO, NOAA, U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Year ending March 1978, v. 12, p. 274‑290.

2. Oertel, G.F., Larsen, M.C., Chamberlain, C.F., and Schaaf, Walter, 1977, Monitoring the Tybee Beach nourishment project: Coastal Sediments 1977 Symposium, American Society of Civil Engineers, p. 1049‑1056.

1. Oertel, G.F., Larsen, M.C., 1976, Developmental sequences in Georgia coastal dunes and distribution of dune plants: Bulletin of Georgia Academy of Science, v. 34, p. 35‑48. 



My USGS Science Strategy Areas

Climate Variability & Change

A Water Census of the United States

A National Hazard, Risk, and Resilience Assessment Program

geomorphology, landslide hazards


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Contact Information

Matthew Larsen
12201 Sunrise Valley Dr
Reston, VA 20192-0002
703-648-5215
703-648-7031 - Fax
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