Honoring its Namesake, Kanamori Fund Seeks Donations

10 September 2015 – As a researcher, Caltech Professor Emeritus Hiroo Kanamori has had an unquestionable impact on the science of seismology. His groundbreaking research on the physics of massive earthquakes, the physics of the long-term crustal processes behind seismic events, and real-time earthquake hazard monitoring mark him as one of the world’s leading geophysicists.Hiroo Kanamori

But it is his role as a mentor and guide in the professional development of hundreds of students and colleagues that is celebrated in the Seismological Society of America’s Kanamori Fund. The fund is dedicated to the professional development of students, seismologists and earthquake engineers, supporting everything from career development seminars at the SSA Annual Meeting to travel grants for national and international conferences.

Learn more about Hiroo Kanamori and how you, too, can influence the lives of future seismologists.

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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SSA Board of Directors Candidate Statements Now Available

Picture of Your Vote Counts Button14 September 2015 – It's time to renew your membership and vote for the new leadership positions.

Statements from the candidates for SSA Board of Directors for 2016, published in the September/October issue of Seismological Research Letters (SRL), are available online here. The election closes at 5 PM PST on Friday, 8 January 2016. Please note that your membership must be renewed for 2016 before you can vote. Click here to renew now.

This year SSA will once again use an Internet voting system through Election-America. Members may now access their ballot for the SSA Annual Election directly from the Members’ Area (members will no longer be sent e-ballots and instead will need only to login to the Members' Area and click the "Vote Now" link). Reminders will be sent by Election-America and SSA. For assistance or to request a paper ballot, please contact SSA at 510.525.5474 or e-mail election@seismosoc.org to request a paper ballot. (Please have your SSA Member ID number available.)

Seismological Research Letters: Special Focus Section on Cascadia Initiative to Monitor Northwest Pacific Seismic Risks

18 August 2015 – Early data coming in from a massive, four-year deployment of seismometers onshore and offshore in the Pacific Northwest are giving scientists a clearer picture of the Cascadia subduction zone, a region with a past and potential future of devastating “megathrust” earthquakes.

The preliminary results from the Cascadia Initiative include a report of previously undetected, small earthquakes offshore, and seismic imaging that reveals new offshore structures at the subduction zone. The reports, published as a focus section in the September-October 2015 issue of Seismological Research Letters (SRL), also provide an update on how well the Initiative’s instruments are operating, including a look at how seafloor pressure monitors can detect tsunamis in the region.

Researchers on the Research Vessel Oceanus retrieve an ocean-bottom seismometer during a 2014 expedition supporting the Cascadia Initiative.
Researchers on the Research Vessel Oceanus retrieve an ocean-bottom seismometer during a 2014 expedition supporting the Cascadia Initiative.
The Cascadia subduction zone (CSZ) is a 1,100-kilometer (680-mile) Pacific fault that runs roughly from Cape Mendocino, California in the south to northern Vancouver Island, British Columbia. The zone marks the place where the Juan de Fuca and Gorda tectonic plates slip beneath the North American plate at a rate of about 2.3 to 4 centimeters (.9 to 1.6 inches) per year. At subduction zones like this throughout the globe, the tremendous strain built up in these crustal collisions has been released in the world’s largest recorded earthquakes. These megathrust quakes include the 2004 magnitude 9.1 Sumatran Andaman earthquake that devastated parts of Indonesia, and the 2011 magnitude 9.0 Tohoku earthquake in Japan.

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SSA Announces 2015 Geo-CVD Student Travel Grant Winners

5 August 2015 – The SSA Government Relations Committee selected graduate students Gabrielle Tepp of the University of Rochester and Manuel Mendoza of the University of California at Riverside to attend the annual Geosciences Congressional Visits Day (Geo-CVD) in Washington, D.C., September 29-30, 2015.

Each year SSA invites U.S. graduate students to apply for a travel grant to attend Geo-CVD, supplying a grant to cover up to $2000 of travel expenses (transportation, lodging, and food costs), and winners are asked to write a brief report on the experience for publication in the SSA journal, the Seismological Research Letters (SRL). This student member opportunity would not have been possible without the ongoing generous support of SSA members. A new fund has been established for member contributions to supply ongoing support for this program. Look for it when you renew your membership.

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Precariously Balanced Rocks Suggest San Jacinto, San Andreas May Have Ruptured Together in Past

4 August 2015 – Stacked in gravity-defying arrangements in the western San Bernardino Mountains, granite boulders that should have been toppled long ago by earthquakes are maintaining a stubborn if precarious balance. In puzzling out why these rocks still stand, researchers have uncovered connections between Southern California’s San Jacinto and San Andreas faults that could change how the region plans for future earthquakes.

Precariously-Balanced Rocks
Precariously balanced rocks near Searchlight, NV
Photo by Nick Hinze, Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology

In their study published online August 5 in Seismological Research Letters (SRL), Lisa Grant Ludwig of University of California, Irvine and colleagues write that the precariously balanced rocks (PBRs) have survived as a result of interactions between the faults that have weakened earthquake ground shaking near the rocks.

One such interaction, the researchers say, might be a rupture that began on the San Andreas Fault but then jumped over to the San Jacinto Fault, near Cajon Pass. “These faults influence each other, and it looks like sometimes they have probably ruptured together in the past,” said Grant Ludwig. “We can’t say so for sure, but that’s what our data point toward, and it’s an important possibility that we should think about in doing our earthquake planning.”

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Eastern Section SSA 2015 Annual Meeting, 6-8 October, Memphis, TN

Update 1 October – Online registration has closed, but registration will be available on site.

U of Memphis University Center22 July 2015 – The 87th annual meeting of the Eastern Section of the Seismological Society of America, hosted by the Center for Earthquake Research and Information (CERI) at the University of Memphis, will be held 6-8 October 2015 on the University of Memphis campus in Memphis, Tennessee (an icebreaker event will be held the evening of October 5th).

Oral and poster presentations are welcomed in all areas of seismology, EarthScope in the CEUS, CEUS source studies, NGA East results, CUS earthquake hazards, CEUS geodynamics, CEUS geodesy and GPS, induced seismicity, and any other topic consistent with the SSA objectives. For more information please visit the meeting home page.

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Latest SSA Journals

October Issue of BSSA Now 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).

September/October SRL Available

Cover of SRL 86:5.
[SRL Cover Picture]

On the Cover…
The Cascadia Initiative, a community-based onshore and offshore seismic and geodetic experiment, is the subject of the focus section in this issue of SRL. The map here illustrates the project’s amphibious array, deployed along the Cascadia subduction zone and designed to study numerous topics including megathrust earthquakes, episodic tremor and slip, volcanic arc structure, and the formation, deformation, and hydration of the downgoing Juan de Fuca and Gorda plates. Using data now available from the experiment, the SRL focus section provides a snapshot of current research that covers various aspects of this topic, including instrument performance, seismic structure and tsunami studies, and earthquake detection.

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10 September 2015 – Volume 86, Number 5, the September/October 2015 issue of Seismological Research Letters, is now available online at the GeoScienceWorld website.

This issue features a Focus Section on Cascadia Initiative Preliminary Results, guest-edited by Haiying Gao and Susan Schwartz, and also includes:

SSA members can access the complete online edition here.

Not a member? Join now to get immediate access.