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Energy and Environment Directorate

Chris Murray

Chris Murray

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
PO Box 999
Richland, WA 99352
(509) 375-7541


Dr. Chris Murray has been at PNNL since 1992, with the majority of his research on geostatistics and sedimentary geology. Dr. Murray is lead investigator on the use of geostatistics for environmental mapping and risk assessment, the application of geostatistical techniques to studies of spatial heterogeneity, and the geologic controls on subsurface fluid flow. The spatial heterogeneity studies include projects to investigate sedimentological controls on subsurface transport for environmental characterization and carbon sequestration; to design sampling plans for monitoring contaminated groundwater at the Hanford site and to quantify the uncertainty in mass estimates of contaminants in the subsurface; to map the distribution and mass of contaminated sediments off the coast of Southern California; to identify the spatial distribution of microbes in the subsurface; to determine the relationship between geological and geochemical properties and microbial spatial heterogeneity; and to characterize the spatial continuity of fluvial sediments. Dr. Murray has also performed geological and statistical research on the impact of riverine and hyporheic processes on salmon spawning. Prior to joining PNNL in 1992, he worked for 10 years as a petroleum geologist, performing subsurface mapping of structure and sedimentary geology for petroleum exploration and production, and applying statistical and geostatistical methods for contouring and classification of subsurface geologic data. Dr. Murray is a registered professional geologist in the State of Washington.

Research Interests

  • Geostatistical analysis for environmental mapping and risk assessment
  • Geostatistical modeling of sedimentary facies and petrophysical properties
  • Environmental sampling design and decision analysis
  • Statistical approaches to sedimentology and study of the geologic controls on subsurface fluid flow

Education and Credentials

  • Ph.D., Geostatistics, Stanford University, 1992
  • M.S., Geology, University of Montana, 1982
  • B.A., Geology, University of Montana, 1980

Affiliations and Professional Service

  • Adjunct faculty, University of Montana and Washington State University, Tri-Cities (1997-present)
  • Registered Professional Geologist, Washington (No. 1393)
  • Member of National Academy of Sciences panel evaluating groundwater contamination at Los Alamos National Laboratory (2006-2007)
  • Editorial Board, GEOLOGY, 1998-2000
  • Co-coordinator for DOE‚Äôs Subsurface Science, Bacterial Transport Subprogram (1994-1997)
  • American Geophysical Union
  • Geological Society of America
  • International Association for Mathematical Geology

Awards and Recognitions

  • Thomas D. and Janice H. Barrow Fellowship in the Earth Sciences (1988-1992)
  • Blaustein Fellowship in the Earth Sciences (1988-1992)
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship (1980-1982)
  • Sigma Xi Research Award (1980)
  • Watkins Fellowship (1979-1980)
  • Marathon Oil Scholarship (1979-1980)
  • Estwing Award for Field Geology (1979)
  • National Association of Geology Teachers' Summer Field Scholarship (1979)

PNNL Publications


  • Hou Z, WC Nelson, JC Stegen, CJ Murray, EV Arntzen, AR Crump, DW Kennedy, MC Perkins, TD Scheibe, JK Fredrickson, and JM Zachara. 2017. "Geochemical and Microbial Community Attributes in Relation to Hyporheic Zone Geological Facies." Scientific Reports 7:Article No. 12006.  doi:10.1038/s41598-017-12275-w


  • Nguyen BN, Z Hou, DH Bacon, CJ Murray, and MD White. 2016. "Three-Dimensional Modeling of the Reactive Transport of CO2 and Its Impact on Geomechanical Properties of Reservoir Rocks and Seals." International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control 46:100-115.  doi:10.1016/j.ijggc.2016.01.004
  • Last GV, CJ Murray, and YJ Bott. 2016. "Derivation of Groundwater Threshold Values for Analysis of Impacts Predicted at Potential Carbon Sequestration Sites." International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control 49:138-148.  doi:10.1016/j.ijggc.2016.03.004
  • Nguyen BN, Z Hou, ML Stewart, CJ Murray, and A Bonneville. 2016. "Thermal Impact of CO2 Injection on Geomechanical Response at the FutureGEN 2.0 Site: A Three-dimensional Thermo-geomechanical Approach." International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control 54(Part 1):29-49.  doi:10.1016/j.ijggc.2016.08.026
  • Stegen JC, A Konopka, J McKinely, CJ Murray, X Lin, MD Miller, DW Kennedy, EA Miller, CT Resch, and JK Fredrickson. 2016. "Coupling among Microbial Communities, Biogeochemistry, and Mineralogy across Biogeochemical Facies." Scientific Reports (6):30553.  doi:10.1038/srep30553
  • Zachara JM, X Chen, CJ Murray, and G Hammond. 2016. "River Stage Influences on Uranium Transport in a Hydrologically Dynamic Groundwater-Surface Water Transition Zone." Water Resources Research 52(3):1568-1590.  doi:10.1002/2015WR018009


  • Venteris ER, JD Tagestad, JL Downs, and CJ Murray. 2015. "Detection of Anomalous Crop Condition and Soil Variability Mappping Using a 26 Year Landsat Record and the Palmer Crop Moisture Index." International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation 39:160-170.  doi:10.1016/j.jag.2015.03.008
  • Hou Z, CJ Murray, and YJ Bott. 2015. Geostatistical Realizations of WMA-C LithofaciesPNNL-24698, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA. 
  • Long PE, KH Williams, JA Davis, PM Fox, MJ Wilkins, SB Yabusaki, Y Fang, SR Waichler, ES Berman, M Gupta, DP Chandler, CJ Murray, AD Peacock, L Giloteaux, KM Handley, DR Lovley, and JF Banfield. 2015. "Bicarbonate Impact on U(VI) Bioreduction in a Shallow Alluvial Aquifer." Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 150:106-124.  doi:10.1016/j.gca.2014.11.013


  • Bonneville A, BN Nguyen, ML Stewart, Z Hou, CJ Murray, and TJ Gilmore. 2014. "Geomechanical Evaluation of Thermal Impact of Injected CO2 Temperature on a Geological Reservoir: Application to the FutureGen 2.0 Site." Energy Procedia 63:3298-3304.  doi:10.1016/j.egypro.2014.11.358
  • Freedman VL, X Chen, SA Finsterle, MD Freshley, I Gorton, LJ Gosink, E Keating, C Lansing, WAM Moeglein, CJ Murray, GSH Pau, EA Porter, S Purohit, ML Rockhold, KL Schuchardt, C Sivaramakrishnan, VV Vesselinov, and SR Waichler. 2014. "A high-performance workflow system for subsurface simulation." Environmental Modelling & Software 55:176-189.  doi:10.1016/j.envsoft.2014.01.030
  • Last GV, CJ Murray, YJ Bott, and CF Brown. 2014. "Threshold Values for Identification of Contamination Predicted by Reduced-Order Models." Energy Procedia 63:3589-3597.  doi:10.1016/j.egypro.2014.11.389


  • Chen X, GE Hammond, CJ Murray, ML Rockhold, VR Vermeul, and JM Zachara. 2013. "Applications of Ensemble-based Data Assimilation Techniques for Aquifer Characterization using Tracer Data at Hanford 300 Area." Water Resources Research 49:1-13.  doi:10.1002/2012WR013285
  • Klett KJ, C Torgersen, J Henning, and CJ Murray. 2013. "Spatial consistency of Chinook salmon redd distribution within and among years in the Cowlitz River, Washington." North American Journal of Fisheries Management 33(3):508-518.  doi:10.1080/02755947.2013.778924
  • Last GV, CJ Murray, CF Brown, PD Jordan, and M Sharma. 2013. No-Impact Threshold Values for NRAPís Reduced Order ModelsPNNL-22077, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA. 
  • Murray CJ, JM Zachara, JP McKinley, AL Ward, YJ Bott, KE Draper, and DA Moore. 2013. "Establishing a geochemical heterogeneity model for a contaminated vadose zone - Aquifer system." Journal of Contaminant Hydrology Hydrology(153):122-140.  doi:10.1016/j.jconhyd.2012.02.003.
  • Stegen JC, X Lin, JK Fredrickson, X Chen, DW Kennedy, CJ Murray, ML Rockhold, and A Konopka. 2013. "Quantifying Community Assembly Processes and Identifying Features that Impose Them." The ISME Journal 7:2069-2079.  doi:10.1038/ismej.2013.93


  • Hou Z, ML Rockhold, and CJ Murray. 2012. "Evaluating the impact of caprock and reservoir properties on potential risk of CO2 leakage after injection." Environmental Earth Sciences 66(8):2403-2415.  doi:10.1007/s12665-011-1465-2
  • Kowalsky MB, SA Finsterle, KH Williams, CJ Murray, M Commer, DR Newcomer, AL Englert, CI Steefel, and S Hubbard. 2012. "On parameterization of the inverse problem for estimating aquifer properties using tracer data." Water Resources Research 48:Article No. W06535.  doi:10.1029/2011WR011203
  • Zachara JM, BN Bjornstad, JN Christensen, MS Conrad, JK Fredrickson, MD Freshley, R Haggerty, GE Hammond, DB Kent, A Konopka, PC Lichtner, C Liu, JP McKinley, CJ Murray, ML Rockhold, Y Rubin, VR Vermeul, RJ Versteeg, and C Zheng. 2012. Multi-Scale Mass Transfer Processes Controlling Natural Attenuation and Engineered Remediation: An IFRC Focused on Hanfordís 300 Area Uranium Plume January 2011 to January 2012PNNL-21169, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA. 


  • Bonneville A, GD Black, I Gorton, PSY Hui, EM Murphy, CJ Murray, ML Rockhold, KL Schuchardt, C Sivaramakrishnan, MD White, MD Williams, and SK Wurstner. 2011. "Geologic Sequestration Software Suite (GS3): a collaborative approach to the management of geological GHG storage projects ." In Proceedings of the 10th Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies Conference (GHGT10), September 19-23, 2010, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Energy Procedia, vol. 4, ed. J Gale, C Hendriks W Turkenberg, pp. 3825-3832.  Elsevier, Amsterdam, Netherlands.  doi:10.1016/j.egypro.2011.02.318
  • Murray CJ, DR Geist, EV Arntzen, YJ Bott, and MA Nabelek. 2011. Development of a Conceptual Chum Salmon Emergence Model for Ives IslandPNNL-20035, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA. 
  • Yabusaki SB, Y Fang, KH Williams, CJ Murray, AL Ward, R Dayvault, SR Waichler, DR Newcomer, FA Spane, and PE Long. 2011. "Variably Saturated Flow and Multicomponent Biogeochemical Reactive Transport Modeling of a Uranium Bioremediation Field Experiment." Journal of Contaminant Hydrology 126(3-4):271-290.  doi:10.1016/j.jconhyd.2011.09.002
  • Zachara JM, BN Bjornstad, JN Christensen, MS Conrad, JK Fredrickson, MD Freshley, R Haggerty, GE Hammond, DB Kent, A Konopka, PC Lichtner, C Liu, JP McKinley, CJ Murray, ML Rockhold, Y Rubin, VR Vermeul, RJ Versteeg, AL Ward, and C Zheng. 2011. Multi-Scale Mass Transfer Processes Controlling Natural Attenuation and Engineered Remediation: An IFRC Focused on Hanfordís 300 Area Uranium Plume January 2010 to January 2011PNNL-20257, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA. 


  • Tonkin MJ, M Karanovic, ME Byrnes, JG Morse, CJ Murray, and P Clement. 2010. "Systematic Application of Flow-and-Transport Modeling for Wellfield Design: the Hanford 200-ZP-1 Groundwater Pump-and-Treat Remedy - 10320." In 36th Annual Radioactive Waste Management Symposium (WM 2010), March 7-11, 2010, Phoenix, AZ, vol. 5, pp. 4102-4115.  WM Symposia, Inc., Tucson, AZ. 
  • Zachara JM, BN Bjornstad, JN Christensen, ME Conrad, JK Fredrickson, MD Freshley, R Haggerty, G Hammon, DB Kent, A Konopka, PC Lichtner, C Liu, JP McKinley, CJ Murray, ML Rockhold, Y Rubin, VR Vermeul, RJ Versteeg, AL Ward, and C Zheng. 2010. Multi-Scale Mass Transfer Processes Controlling Natural Attenuation and Engineered Remediation: An IFRC Focused on Hanfordís 300 Area Uranium PlumePNNL-19209, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA. 




  • Clement WP, and CJ Murray. 2007. "GPR Imaging of Clastic Dikes at the Hanford Site, Hanford, Washington." In Stratigraphic Analyses Using GPR, vol. Special Paper 432, ed. Baker, GS, and Jol, HM, pp. 169-181.  Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO. 
  • Knight RJ, JD Irving, P Tercier, EJ Freeman, CJ Murray, and ML Rockhold. 2007. "A Comparison of the Use of Radar Images and Neutron Probe Data to Determine the Horizontal Correlation Length of Water Content ." In Subsurface Hydrology: Data Integration for Properties and Processes: Geophysical Monograph Series, vol. 171, ed. David W. Hyndman, Frederick D. Day-Lewis, Kamini Singha, pp. 31-44.  American Geophysical Union, Washington, DC. 
  • Last GV, CJ Murray, DA Bush, EC Sullivan, ML Rockhold, RD Mackley, and BN Bjornstad. 2007. "Standardization of Borehole Data to Support Vadose Zone Flow and Transport Modeling." Vadose Zone Journal 6(4):906-912.  doi:10.2136/vzj2006.0175
  • Matzke BD, LL Nuffer, RO Gilbert, JE Hathaway, LH Sego, BL Roberts, JE Wilson, ST Dowson, NL Hassig, CJ Murray, BA Pulsipher, and SA McKenna. 2007. Visual Sample Plan Version 5.0 Userís Guide PNNL-16939, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA. 
  • Murray CJ, AL Ward, and J Wilson. 2007. "Influence of Clastic Dikes on Vertical Migration of Contaminants at the Hanford Site ." Vadose Zone Journal 6(4):959-970.  doi:10.2136/vzj2007.0004
  • Murray CJ, YJ Bott, and MJ Truex. 2007. Geostatistical Analyses of the Persistence and Inventory of Carbon Tetrachloride in the 200 West Area of the Hanford SitePNNL-16509, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA. 


  • Scheibe TD, Y Fang, CJ Murray, EE Roden, J Chen, YJ Chien, SC Brooks, and SS Hubbard. 2006. "Transport and biogeochemical reaction of metals in a physically and chemically heterogeneous aquifer." Geosphere 2(4):220-235. 
  • Truex MJ, MJ Nimmons, CD Johnson, PE Dresel, and CJ Murray. 2006. Screening of Potential Remediation Methods for the 200-ZP-1 Operable Unit at the Hanford Site PNNL-15954, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA. 
  • Ward AL, ME Conrad, WD Daily, JB Fink, VL Freedman, GW Gee, GM Hoversten, JM Keller, EL Majer, CJ Murray, MD White, SB Yabusaki, and ZF Zhang. 2006. Vadose Zone Transport Field Study: Summary Report PNNL-15443, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA. 



  • Chen J, S Hubbard, Y Rubin, CJ Murray, EE Roden, and EL Majer. 2004. "Geochemical Characterization Using Geophysical Data and Markov Chain Monte Carlo Methods: A Case Study at the South Oyster Bacterial Transport Site in Virginia." Water Resources Research Vol. 40(No. 12):W12412. 
  • Hampton MA, CT Blay, and CJ Murray. 2004. "Carbonate Sediment Deposits on the Reef Front Around Oahu, Hawaii." Marine Georesources & Geotechnology 22(1-2):65-102. 
  • Murray CJ, YJ Chien, and PD Thorne. 2004. A Geostatistical Analysis of Historical Field Data on Tritium, Technetium-99, Iodine-129, and UraniumPNNL-14618 , Rev. 0, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA. 
  • Wildung RE, SMW Li, CJ Murray, KM Krupka, YL Xie, NJ Hess, and EE Roden. 2004. "Technetium Reduction in Sediments of a Shallow Aquifer Exhibiting Dissimilatory Iron Reduction Potential ." FEMS Microbiology Ecology 49(1):151-162. 


  • Murray CJ, AL Ward, and JL Wilson, III. 2003. Influence of Clastic Dikes on Vertical Migration of Contaminants in the Vadose Zone at HanfordPNNL-14224, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA. 
  • Musslewhite CL, M Mcinerney, H Dong, TC Onstott, M Green-Blum, DJP Swift, S MacNaughton, DC White, CJ Murray, and YJ Chien. 2003. "The Factors Controlling Microbial Distribution and Activity in the Shallow Subsurface ." Geomicrobiology Journal 20(3):245 - 261. 
  • Savelieva-Trofimova EA, M Kanevski, timonin, A Pozdnukhov, CJ Murray, TD Scheibe, YL Xie, PD Thorne, and CR Cole. 2003. "Aquifer Hydrogeologic Layer Zonation at the Hanford Site." In Proceedings IAMG 2003, p. 46+.  International Association for Mathematical Geosciences, Kingston, ONT. 
  • Scheibe TD, CJ Murray, YL Xie, MD Williams, CR Cole, VR Vermeul, and MP Bergeron. 2003. "Temporal and Spatial Weighting of Head and Concentration Observations for a Large-Scale Transient Inverse Model." In Proceedings of Modflow and More 2003: Understanding through Modeling, pp. 610-614.  Colorado School of Mines, International Ground Water Modeling Center, Golden, CO. 
  • Vermeul VR, MP Bergeron, CR Cole, CJ Murray, WE Nichols, TD Scheibe, PD Thorne, SR Waichler, and YL Xie. 2003. Transient Inverse Calibration of the Site-Wide Groundwater Flow Model (ACM-2): FY03 Progress Report PNNL-14398, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA. 
  • Xie YL, CJ Murray, GV Last, and RD Mackley. 2003. Mineralogical and Bulk-Rock Geochemical Signatures of Ringold and Hanford Formation Sediments PNNL-14202, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA. 


  • Murray CJ, HJ Lee, and MA Hampton. 2002. "Geostatistical mapping of effluent-affected sediment distribution on the Palos Verdes Shelf." Continental Shelf Research 22:881-897. 
  • Bredt PR, CC Ainsworth, FJ Brockman, DM Camaioni, OB Egorov, AR Felmy, YA Gorby, JW Grate, MS Greenwood, BP Hay, NJ Hess, TL Hubler, JP Icenhower, SV Mattigod, BP McGrail, PD Meyer, CJ Murray, PD Panetta, DM Pfund, D Rai, Y Su, SK Sundaram, WJ Weber, and JM Zachara. 2002. Science to Support DOE Site Cleanup: The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Environmental Management Science Program Awards -- Fiscal Year 2002 Mid-Year Progress ReportPNNL-13928, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA. 
  • Geist DR, TP Hanrahan, EV Arntzen, GA McMichael, CJ Murray, and YJ Chien. 2002. "Physicochemical charateristics of the hyporheic zone affect redd site selection of chum salmon and fall chinook salmon in the Columbia River." North American Journal of Fisheries Management 22(4):1077-1085. 
  • Hampton MA, H Karl, and CJ Murray. 2002. "Acoustic profiles and images of the Palos Verdes Margin: Implications concerning deposition from the White's Point outfall." Continental Shelf Research 22(6-7):841-857. 



  • Geist DR, J Jones, CJ Murray, and DD Dauble. 2000. "Suitability criteria analyzed at the spatial scale of redd clusters improved estimates of fall chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) spawning habitat use in the Hanford Reach, Columbia River." Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 57(8):1636-1646. 
  • Michael D, PE Dresel, CJ Chou, CJ Murray, RO Gilbert, and BA Pulsipher. 2000. "Rethinking Groundwater Monitoring at the Hanford Site." Remediation 10(2):19-44. 


  • Rockhold ML, CJ Murray, and MJ Fayer. 1999. "Conditional simulation and upscaling of soil hydraulic properties." In Characterization and Measurement of the Hydraulic Properties of Unsaturated Porous Media, vol. 2, ed. M. Th. van Genuchten, F. J. Leij, and L. Wu, pp. 1391-1401.  University of California Press, Riverside, CA. 

Energy and Environment

Core Research Areas