Citizen Seismologists Multiply the Impacts of Earthquake Studies

Photo submitted from Sorong, Indonesia through the LastQuake app after a magnitude 6.6 quake in September 2015./ Courtesy EMSC
Photo submitted from Sorong, Indonesia through the LastQuake app after a magnitude 6.6 quake in September 2015./ Courtesy EMSC

RENO, Nevada, 22 April 2016 – From matchbook-sized sensors plugged into a desktop computer to location-tagged tweets, the earthquake data provided by "citizen seismologists" have grown in size and quality since 2000, according to the field's researchers.

At a session at the Seismological Society of America's (SSA) 2016 Annual Meeting April 20-22 in Reno, Nevada, seismologists discussed how crowd-sourced information on felt earthquakes is increasingly integrated with data collected by seismometers, to provide a more complete picture of an earthquake event and its impacts.

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Seismologists Ask: How Close Are We to an Eruption?

Upgrades to the September Lobe seismic monitoring station at Mount St. Helens in 2012. / Marc Biundo, USGS
Upgrades to the September Lobe seismic monitoring station at Mount St. Helens in 2012. / Marc Biundo, USGS

RENO, Nevada, 22 April 2016 – Scientists analyzing the data from seismic networks are becoming better at detecting volcanic activity and at depicting the source and structure of the "plumbing" beneath the world's volcanoes. But a critical question remains: Can these data help predict when a volcano is close to erupting?

In a session at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Seismological Society of America (SSA) held April 20-22 in Reno, Nevada, researchers described how they are using new and repurposed tools to zero in on the sequence of events that precedes a volcanic eruption.

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Preparations for U.S. West Coast Tsunami Look to Past and Future

Carlos Ruiz/ Flickr/ Creative Commons License 2.0
Carlos Ruiz/ Flickr/ Creative Commons License 2.0

RENO, Nevada, 21 April 2016 – After the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and devastating tsunami in Japan, states such as California, Oregon, Washington and Alaska are looking to both the past and the future to prepare for a tsunami on the U.S. Pacific coastline.

Plans for managing tsunami risk on the West Coast are evolving, said scientists speaking at the Seismological Society of America's (SSA) 2016 Annual Meeting, held April 20-22 in Reno, Nevada.

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Seismic Networks Can Be the Backbone for 21st Century Firefighting

View of the Washington Fire from AlertTahoe cameras, in the summer of 2015.
View of the Washington Fire from AlertTahoe cameras, in the summer of 2015.

RENO, Nevada, 21 April 2016 – The same 21st century communications network used for real-time seismic monitoring in Nevada and parts of California can provide high-quality images like that of the Tahoe strike to help first responders catch fires before they grow costly and dangerous, says Graham Kent, director of the Nevada Seismological Laboratory (NSL). Kent was the featured public policy speaker at the Seismological Society of America's (SSA) 2016 Annual Meeting held April 20-22 in Reno, Nevada.

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Alaskan Seismologists Re-evaluate Earthquake Potential after Iniskin

Still image from computer simulation of the January 24, 2016 Iniskin earthquake. / Courtesy Carl Tape/ https://youtu.be/E4RYnpIOoPw
Still image from computer simulation of the January 24, 2016 Iniskin earthquake. / Courtesy Carl Tape/ https://youtu.be/E4RYnpIOoPw

RENO, Nevada, 20 April 2016 – January's magnitude 7.1 Iniskin earthquake that shook the Cook Inlet region of Alaska was an unusual event, one that has seismologists in the area reconsidering the potential hazard from such quakes.

"Had this earthquake actually occurred shallowly beneath Anchorage or someplace else like that, the ground shaking would have been ten times stronger," said Alaska state seismologist Michael West of the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

West and colleagues presented new information about the Iniskin earthquake at a session at the Seismological Society of America's (SSA) 2016 Annual Meeting, held April 20-22 in Reno, Nevada. The special session was added to the meeting's agenda in the wake of the January 24 event.

 

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Induced Earthquakes Come Under Closer Scrutiny at SSA Annual Meeting

RENO, Nevada, 20 April 2016 – On March 28, the U.S. Geological Survey issued a one-year seismic forecast for the United States that for the first time includes ground-shaking hazards from both natural and human-induced earthquakes. In the wake of the forecast's release, researchers are gathering at the Seismological Society of America's (SSA) 2016 Annual Meeting April 20-22 in Reno, Nevada, to discuss some of the science behind the report.

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Alaska Researchers Improve “Hearing” to Detect Volcanic Eruptions

Pavlof volcano with ash eruption plume and steam from melting snow and ice./ AVO/ Theo Chesley.
Pavlof volcano with ash eruption plume and steam from melting snow and ice./ AVO/ Theo Chesley.

5 April 2016 – If a volcano explodes in the remote reaches of Alaska, will anyone hear it? Seismologists working in the state say yes--after using a refined set of methods that allows them to detect and locate the airwaves generated by a volcanic explosion on distant seismic networks.

In a study published online April 5 in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, David Fee of the Alaska Volcano Observatory and Wilson Alaska Technical Center and his colleagues used these techniques to examine the ground-coupled airwaves produced by recent eruptions at Cleveland, Veniaminof and Pavlof volcanoes in Alaska.

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Latest SSA Journals
 

May/June SRL Now Available

27 April 2016 – The complete May/June 2016 issue of Seismological Research Letters, Volume 87, Number 3, is now available online at the GeoScienceWorld website. This issue includes:

Cover of SRL 87:3.
[SRL Cover Picture]

On the Cover…
Local earthquake risk culture plays a significant role in the way the public engages in educational efforts. “Educating for Earthquake Science and Risk in a Tectonically Slowly Deforming Region,” an EduQuakes column by Custódio et al. (this issue), describes an earthquake education and outreach program tailored for Portugal, where large earthquakes are extreme events that occur with long return periods. Program objectives include increasing earthquake awareness and preparedness as well as boosting the quality of earthquake-science education (to attract talented students to geosciences). Here high-school and primary-school students learn about earthquakes using a portable shake table and practicing “drop, cover, and hold-on,” and student artwork illustrates key points of the lessons.

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SSA members can access the complete online edition here. The print edition of this issue is scheduled to mail on 4 May.

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April Issue of BSSA Available

BSSACover2

6 April 2016 – The complete April 2016 issue of the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America (BSSA vol. 106, no. 2) is now available online to SSA members and institutional subscribers 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). The print edition of this issue is scheduled to mail on 18 April.