I'm a physicist and geophysicist specializing in disasters -- tsunami, earthquakes, asteroid impacts -- pretty much all the fun, heart-pounding science. My research focus is on the dynamics of landslides, and predicting where the landslides will travel to mitigate risk.
I'm a science consultant in the film industry, bringing plausibility to fictional plotlines. I worked on the Stargate franchise, No Tomorrow, and countless projects locked in the veil of development secrecy.
As a science communicator, I stick to the coolest beats -- planets, rockets, and the end of the universe.
Areas of Expertise (9)
Disaster Risk Reduction
Science and Policy
Science Fiction Film and Tv
Women in Science
University of British Columbia: Masters of Science, Geophysics
University of California at Santa Barbara: Bachelor's, Physics
Media Appearances (3)
What Geology Has to Say About Building a 1,000-Mile Border Wall
Compared to erecting a marble palace or high-steepled church, a wall may seem relatively straightforward—it isn’t.
Episode 89 - Mika McKinnon
Talk Nerdy radio
Cara is joined by the "Master of Disaster" herself, geophysicist and science writer Mika McKinnon. They discuss her work as the science consultant on Stargate, how life was a driving force behind an explosion of earthly minerals, and the improvements Canadians are hopeful for under their new Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau.
The Science of Studying Eruptions
In September, over 50 people died during a volcanic eruption in Japan. Iceland continues to experience its largest continuous volcanic eruption in centuries. On this week's Please Explain, we are talking about volcanoes: how are they formed, how dangerous are they, and how scientists monitor them. We will be joined by Mika McKinnon, a geophysicist and journalist with the science publication i09, and David Schneider a USGS Research Geophysicist at the Alaska Volcano Observatory.
Event Appearances (10)
Workshop Leader, Panelist
2017 APS Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics Harvard University, Boston, MA
2012-2016 Dragon Con Atlanta, GA
Another Night of Total Destruction, Science and Entertainment Exchange Director's Guild of America, Los Angeles, CA
2016 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting San Francisco, CA
2016 GateCon Vancouver, BC
2016 Time Lord Fest Tampa, FL
2015 Science Communication Camp Santa Monica, CA
2013 BC Geophysical Society Annual Meeting Vancouver, BC
2012 TimeGate Atlanta, FL
2011, 2014, 2016 Science Hack Day San Francisco, CA
North Korea: When is an earthquake a nuclear test?BBC News
The first sign that North Korea had carried out its fifth nuclear test last month was when a massive earthquake was detected by international scientists. As North Korea marks 10 years since its first test, geophysicist and disaster researcher Mika McKinnon explains how scientists have learned to identify these world-shaking events.
Was Juno the fastest spacecraft ever? Only kind of.Astronomy Magazine
It all has to do with the point of view of the observer, in a sense.
Up close with the awesome power of NASA’s biggest ever rocketNew Scientist
They call it the most powerful rocket ever built. NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) is designed to carry astronauts on deep space missions, and after years of development it’s time to certify this monster for flight. I’m in Utah for the final ground test, to take place on the far side of a cluster of anonymous buildings blocked from view by hillsides dried out in the summer heat.
As fires rage, emergency responders rely on familiar apps to save livesArs Technica
Handful of custom apps mixed in the with likes of Periscope, Skype, and Basecamp.