Christopher H. Scholz Wins Top Honor in Seismology

Chris Scholz

23 November 2015– SSA will present its highest honor, the Harry Fielding Reid Medal, to Christopher H. Scholz, Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences and of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics at Columbia University and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, at the SSA annual meeting 20-22 April in Reno, Nevada.

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Donate to Student Travel Grant Fund

2015 Travel Grant Winners
2015 Travel Grant Winners

16 November 2015 - Your generous gift to the SSA Student Travel Grant Fund helps rising seismologists attend the professional meetings that will inspire them for years to come. Donations to the fund help young scientists and engineers make essential career connections in their field and expand their research, and prepare them to be a future advocate for earthquake awareness and safety. 

Make your tax-deductible gift today, and help us sustain the next generation of seismologists.  Go online or call SSA at 510-525-5474.

Deadline for Annual Meeting Travel Grants: 30 November

15 November 2015 - Modest travel grants are available to help defray some of the costs for some international SSA members, student SSA members and persons traveling from European Seismological Commission member-states who wish to attend the SSA Annual Meeting.

To learn more, visit here.

BSSA: Dust Devils Detected by Seismometer Could Guide Mars Mission

In 2005 researchers chased and observed a large dust devil near Eloy, Arizona./  NASA/University of Michigan
In 2005 researchers chased and observed a large dust devil near Eloy, Arizona. / NASA/University of Michigan

9 November 2015 - Buried in the shallow soft mud of a dry California lake bed, a seismometer was able to detect the tiny tilts of the ground as it was pulled up by passing dust devils. The experiment, described online November 10 in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, is one of the first reports of a seismic signature from a dust devil.

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Seismological Research Letters: Nepal Earthquake Was Less Intense Than Feared

The largest and most destructive landslide resulting from the April earthquake was the Langtang landslide…
The largest and most destructive landslide resulting from the April earthquake was the Langtang landslide…

27 October 2015 - The April 2015 Gorkha earthquake that struck Nepal produced less damage and weaker shaking than might be expected from a magnitude 7.8 quake in the area, according to a group of ten new articles published this week in Seismological Research Letters.

In a region of major faulting and massive tectonic plate collisions, with an especially dense population centered on the country's capital of Kathmandu, seismologists had expected the worst from a major earthquake. And the quake and its major aftershocks did cause more than 8,000 fatalities, 22,000 injuries and hundreds of thousands of collapsed or damaged buildings. But the damage was not as catastrophic as expected, said U.S. Geological Service geophysicist Susan Hough, guest editor of the Gorkha focus section papers.

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SSA Opens Search for Editor-In-Chief of BSSA

13 October 2015 – SSA is seeking a new Editor-in-Chief for the prestigious Bulletin of the
Seismological Society of America
(BSSA). After five years of exemplary service, BSSA Editor-in-Chief Diane Doser, who has led the journal since 2010, announced this summer that she would step down in late 2016.

Andy Michael, chair of the SSA Publications Committee, will lead the search bssa_smcommittee, which plans to begin interviews later this year. All nominations and applications should be sent directly to him at

The BSSA Editor-in-Chief (EIC) is primarily responsible for the technical content and technical quality of BSSA. As head of this journal, the EIC is positioned to help authors publish quality papers focused on earthquake seismology research and encourage significant scientific communication and community building, and to lead BSSA through the challenges of scientific publication in the 21st century.

The BSSA Editor-in-Chief should have broad interests, good communication skills and wide contacts in the field, in addition to enthusiasm for BSSA, the ability to persuade people to contribute, organizational skills and a commitment to devote the necessary time to the effort. Except for a stipend, the position is unpaid.

For a complete BSSA Editor-in-Chief job description see this page. For additional information contact Andy Michael at

Seismic Signature of Small Underground Chemical Blasts Linked To Gas Released in Explosion

14 September 2015 – After analyzing the seismic waves produced by small underground chemical explosions at a test site in Vermont, scientists say that some features of seismic waves could be affected by the amount of gas produced in the explosion.

An explosion test conducted as part of the New England Detonation Experiment. This shot was detonated using factory-made COMP B charges in dry boreholes in a granite quarry.
Video Credit: Mark Leidig, Weston Geophysical

This unexpected finding may have implications for how scientists use these types of chemical explosions to indirectly study the seismic signal of nuclear detonations. Researchers use chemical blasts to learn more about the specific seismic signatures produced by explosions—which differ from those produced by earthquakes—to help efforts to detect and trace nuclear test explosions under entities such as the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.

Chemical explosions are only a proxy for nuclear explosions, however, and it is difficult to say how or if the results of the new study may apply to seismic monitoring of nuclear explosions, cautioned study author Anastasia Stroujkova of Weston Geophysical Corp.

In the study published online in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, Stroujkova reports that characteristics of P-waves produced by chemical explosions depend on the amount of gas by-products released in the rock cavity that is created by the blasts. P-waves are the fast-moving seismic waves that push and pull through rock in the direction of the wave’s propagation, and are the first part of a seismic signature to reach a seismic monitoring station.

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Latest SSA Journals

November/December SRL Now Available

Cover of SRL 86:6.
[SRL Cover Picture]

On the Cover…
Baktipur’s Durbar Square, an historic gem of Nepal’s densely populated Kathmandu valley, sustained significant damage in the 25 April 2015 Mw 7.8 Gorkha earthquake, as it did in a similarly large earthquake in 1934. Upon investigation, however, it’s been found that last spring’s earthquake caused less damage within the valley than had been anticipated. This unexpected observation in an area with known high earthquake hazard provides an urgent impetus to understand the event and better characterize the future hazard posed by large Himalayan earthquakes. Toward this end, the Focus Section on the 2015 Gorkha, Nepal, Earthquake (this issue) presents and describes available data sets and initial results that illuminate and interpret the 2015 Gorkha earthquake and its effects.
Photo by Roger Bilham.

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28 October 2015 – Volume 86, Number 6, the November/December 2015 issue of Seismological Research Letters, is now available online at the GeoScienceWorld website.

This issue features a Focus Section on the 2015 Gorkha, Nepal, Earthquake, guest-edited by Susan E. Hough, and also includes:

SSA members can access the complete online edition here.

Not a member? Join now to get immediate access.

October Issue of BSSA Available


01 October 2015 – The complete October 2015 issue of the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America (BSSA vol. 105, no. 5) is now available to SSA members and institutional subscribers online at GeoScienceWorld and BSSA Online. Click to view the table of contents for the issue. SSA members should log in to the members area and follow the link from there to BSSA Online to access full text or PDFs of all articles from the issue (log in with your SSA username and password required).