Bob Tilling

Bob Tilling

Bob Tilling

Board member

Dr. Robert Tilling

Born 1935 in Shanghai, China, Bob Tilling arrived in the U.S. in 1946 and grew up in southern California (near San Diego). He received his BA (1958) from Pomona College and a Ph.D. in geology (1963) from Yale University (1963).  In 1962, he joined the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), first working on the Boulder batholith (southwestern Montana) and, since 1972, mostly on studies of volcanic eruptions and hazards in the U.S. and abroad, interspersed with several management positions.  Bob was on the staff of the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO), becoming its Scientist-in-Charge in 1975.  He later served (1976-81) as the Chief of the Office of Geochemistry and Geophysics, at USGS’ headquarters in Reston, Virginia, and was in charge of the USGS studies during the reawakening and eruption of Mount St. Helens 1980. Although “officially” retired in 2004, Bob continues volcano-hazards studies as a Scientist Emeritus with the USGS Volcano Science Center in Menlo Park, California. He has advised foreign governments, studied volcanoes across the globe, and managed various scientific teams and organizations within the USGS.  

Throughout his career, Bob has been actively involved in educational outreach, co-authoring several popular general-interest publications, including the USGS’ all-time best-selling map, “This Dynamic Planet:  World Map of Volcanoes, Earthquakes, Impact Craters, and Plate Tectonics.”  Bob and his wife Susan spend part of each summer in Jackson, with their daughter (Karen Coleman, CFO, Jackson Hole Community Foundation) and family.  They also enjoy foreign travel and tasting wines, whenever opportunities arise.  Bob has been a Board member since 2017, given a talk each year since 2010, organized two field trips to Hawaii, and has been a member of the website committee.