2008 Annual Meeting
16 - 18 April 2008
Santa Fe, New Mexico


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| Regular Sessions | Convener Responsibilities |


The Heritage of F. Anthony Dahlen

Theoretical geophysics - and seismology in particular - is being  affected by the rapidly growing possibilities offered by high performance computing. Approximations that were essential yesterday have become obsolete today, and what is done on a parallel computer now can be done on a laptop tomorrow. This is significantly  influencing theory and analysis on a wide range of topics, from seismic tomography to hazard analysis. This session will be devoted to those areas in which Tony Dahlen, who died in June 2007 just after learning he would be the recipient of this year’s Reid medal, left behind a massive heritage of theory. Some of his work can only now be fully exploited with the computing power available to us: seismic tomography, earthquake seismology,  and the evolution of mountain ranges. This session invites frontline research contributions  that build upon Tony Dahlen’s scientific heritage.


Jeroen Tromp
Cal Tech, Pasadena CA
jtromp [at]

Guust Nolet
Princeton University, Princeton NJ
nolet [at]

Models, Methods, and Measurements: Seismic Monitoring Research

This session welcomes contributions that advance seismic monitoring research through improved understanding of seismic sources and the 3-dimensional earth, as well as methods and data sets for improving location, detection, or characterization of seismic sources. Recent advances in source and earth models – as well as methods that utilize these models – are enabling unprecedented prediction accuracy of seismic observables. Useful observables range widely from the broadband seismograms themselves to parametric features of the seismograms, such as travel- time, amplitude, and slowness of seismic phases. Of equal importance is the development of ground-truth data sets – locations, source size, and event type – that are paramount for monitoring research. Advances in signal processing that extract signal from noise with a minimum of distortion are also encouraged.


Stephen Myers
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore CA
myers30 [at]

Shane Detweiler
U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park CA

Lee Steck
Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos NM
lsteck [at]

Tunnel Seismology

Detection and characterization of underground air-filled voids (either natural or man-made) by seismic methods is a challenging scientific and technical problem with applications in environmental safety, geotechnical engineering, drilling and mining, subsurface storage, resource exploitation, and national security.  We solicit abstracts related to acquisition, processing, modeling, and inversion of seismic and acoustic data in the rapidly-developing area of "tunnel seismology".  Of particular interest are case studies that successfully combine advanced numerical simulations of seismic wave propagation with robust data acquisition and analysis strategies. Theoretical descriptions of the complex pattern of seismic waves scattered by or radiated from an underground tunnel complex are also encouraged.  The goal of this session is to identify successful seismic exploration methodologies capable of yielding well-resolved images of subsurface void geometry.


Neill Symons and David Aldridge
Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque NM
npsymon [at]
dfaldri [at]

Recent Tsunamigenic Events

On September 12, 2007, a magnitude 8.4 earthquake occurred off the coast of southern Sumatra generating a tsunami. The event joins a number of recent tsunamigenic events worldwide and in Indonesia in particular. Events of this nature continue to cause devastation and loss of life. A clear understanding of the tectonic setting, slip rates, plate interface, and earthquake mechanisms of these events provide the information necessary for tsunami modeling and timely tsunami warnings. In this session, we welcome contributions addressing the multi-faceted nature of tsunami research, concentrating on, but not limited to, recent tsunamigenic events. Paper addressing the mechanisms of these events, modeling of tsunami generation, studies of tsunami effects, and hazard analyses and warning systems are suitable for this session.


Jean Johnson
Dalton State College, Cartersville, GA
jmjohnson [at]

Susan Bilek
New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Socorro NM
sbilek [at]

Volcano Seismology

Volcano observatories are increasingly working to pool the  information from various monitoring methods for a broader understanding of premonitory phenomena and for better confidence in our hazard assessments. More powerful computers permit greater complexity in analysis and modeling of ever- expanding data sets. We invite contributions on any aspect of volcano monitoring, particularly those that demonstrate  reinforcement of hazard assessment through combined methods including seismic, deformation, acoustic and others, applied at active volcanoes. We especially encourage presentations  regarding monitoring and hazard assessment/mitigation at North American volcanoes; however, contributions from other  regions are also welcome.


Francisco (Paco) Nuñez-Cornu
Univ. de Guadalajara, Puerta Vallarta, Mexico
pacornu77 [at]

Charlotte Rowe
Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos NM
char [at]

Extensional Seismotectonics of the Rio Grande Rift and its Margins

The Rio Grande Rift is one of Earth’s best studied extensional zones  of continental rifting. Rift and rift margin processes associated  with the adjacent non-extended Colorado Plateau and Great Plains  tectonic provinces are notably reflected in seismicity,  geomorphology, magmatism, heat flow, crustal thinning, mantle  structure, and other geological and geophysical observables.  Recent  work indicates that the rift system has evolved and is evolving in  response to both ongoing mesoscale mantle processes and pre-existing  lithosphere-scale heterogeneity.  Extension across the rift has been  manifested in the shallow crust by large normal faulting earthquakes that have occurred every few hundred years in contrast to the short  historical record which shows no events larger than magnitude 6. This  session will focus on extensional seismotectonic processes of the  rift and its adjoining provinces, as  elucidated by diverse studies  ranging from seismic imaging of mantle structure, investigations of  the seismogenic crust, contemporary seismicity, and paleoseismology.


Richard Aster
New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Socorro NM
aster [at]

Ivan Wong
URS Corporation, Oakland CA
ivan_wong [at]

Scott Baldridge
Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos NM
sbaldridge [at]

James Ni
New Mexico State University, Las Cruces NM
jni [at]

The Hayward Fault: 140 Years after the 1868 Hayward Earthquake

October 21, 2008, will mark the 140th Anniversary of the 1868 Hayward Earthquake, variously estimated to have had a magnitude between 6.8 and 7.0. Recent paleoseismological studies on the southern segment of the Hayward Fault suggest that the 5 most recent earthquakes on this strand of the fault have an average recurrence of 140 years: a large earthquake on the Hayward Fault tomorrow would not be a surprise. This fault poses a tremendous seismic hazard to the entire Bay Area.

This session showcases our state of knowledge of the Hayward Fault nearly 140 years after the 1868 earthquake with a focus on recent studies of the fault. Important new datasets and models include: High-resolution elevation models (from airborne LIDAR), InSAR imagery of active deformation and creep along the fault, new age dating at paleoseismic sites along the fault zone, a ShakeMap for the 1868 earthquake, 3D geometric and mechanical models of the fault, and ground motion simulations for a rupture along the Hayward Fault. We also welcome papers describing recent innovation assessments of the hazard and the risk posed by the fault, as well as new approaches for mitigating these hazards.


Thomas M. Brocher
U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, California
brocher [at]

Keith Knudsen
California Geological Survey, Menlo Park, CA
kknudsen [at]

Methods for Travel Time Calculation Through Complex Earth Structure

Heterogeneous earth models are becoming increasingly common and studies have shown that such models can produce more accurate travel time predictions and improved event locations.  Before seismic monitoring agencies can make use of these models, methods for computing travel times through them need to be identified that are accurate, computationally efficient, and robust.  

In this session, we invite papers describing proven and emerging travel time prediction methodologies, such as, but not limited to, Eikonal solvers, ray shooters and ray benders.  Authors are encouraged to evaluate their methods using the three criteria enumerated above.  Papers describing hybrid approaches, or that compare/contrast algorithms are welcome.


Chris Young
Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM
cjyoung [at]

Sandy Ballard
Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM
sballar [at]

Active-Source Seismic Imaging-- Geology in Three Dimensions

This session will focus on the use of active-source seismic studies to image faults, basin geometry, geologic hazards (including volcanoes and landslides), and the local tectonic setting. Studies are invited that lie within a broad range of scales and resolving  abilities. Submissions are encouraged that demonstrate the use of seismic reflection, refraction tomography, ground-penetrating radar, other geophysical methods, and especially combinations of these approaches.


Michael J. Rymer
U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park CA
mrymer [at]

Rufus D. Catchings
U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park CA
catching [at]

Exploring Crust to Core: Recent Advancement & Future Directions in Seismic Modeling

Seismic imaging is a powerful tool for geophysicists to probe the Earth’s interior.  The demand for higher resolution and broader range of applications is rapidly increasing.  This session welcomes contributions from seismic imaging in various scales and application arenas, with special emphasis on recent advances and future directions.  Examples may include innovations and advances in 3D traveltime tomography, waveform tomography, receiver function mapping, surface wave inversion, and joint inversion of multiple geophysical observations.  We also encourage case study papers using seismic imaging to solve real problems.  Discussions on the pitfalls, limitations, and artifacts of common seismic imaging methods and potential remedies are most welcomed.


Youshun Sun
MIT, Cambridge, MA
youshun [at]

Monica Maceira
Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos NM
mmaceira [at]

Very Near-field Earthquake Source Observations

What can observations of displacement, velocity, acceleration, strain, electric and magnetic fields in the very near-field of an earthquake teach us about earthquake source physics? Recently- installed arrays of instruments at hypocentral depths in deep mines and deep boreholes yield exciting new insights into source scaling, fault friction, apparent stress, fracture energy, nucleation, crack formation and charge generation. We invite contributions to this session based on these near-source data sets, including interpretations based on theory and laboratory experiments. The purpose of this session will be to provide researchers an opportunity for comparing data, exchanging new ideas and exploring implications for source physics.


Malcolm Johnston and Art McGarr
US Geological Survey, Menlo Park CA
mal [at]
mcgarr [at]

Scaling Aspects in Earthquake Analysis and Modeling

Many aspects of earthquake occurrence are related to scale-free properties. Scaling laws identified in earthquake research concern a multitude of aspects: event size-event number relationships, hypocenter positions, the geometry of fault sets, fault slip, inter-event times, size- and location- dependent temporal clustering, etc. Yet, some aspects of earthquake occurrence show clear deviations from scale invariance.

Establishing the presence or absence of scale invariance is crucial for a deeper understanding of seismicity and is directly related to the following questions: What do scaling aspects tell us about the underlying processes? What are the implications of the existence of various scale-dependent features? How and under what circumstances do scaling aspects change over time? This session will focus on questions concerning scaling properties of earthquake occurrence, from pattern characterization to modeling, and their implications for seismic hazard assessment.


Cristian Suteanu
Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
cristian.suteanu [at]

 Jörn Davidsen
University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
davidsen [at]

Complexity, Statistics, and Physics of Seismicity and Earthquakes

This session is intended to be a broadly  based forum for the presentation of data analysis, simulations and models. Appropriate topics include, but are not restricted to:

  • Applicability of scaling re lations including the branching statistics of seismicity in space and time California and Standard Physical Earth
  • Simulation of seismic activity including fault based simulations such as Virtual California and Standard Physical Earth Model (SPEM) , and statistically-based simulations such as Epidemic-Type Aftershock Sequences (ETAS)
  • Assessments of seismic risk in space and time and their verification
  • Current status of accelerated moment release (AMR) and other related studies
  • Models of fault interactions, friction and other aspects of earthquake physics


Donald Turcotte and John Rundle
U.C. Davis
turcotte [at]
rundle [at]

Earthquakes and Society: Developing Community Resiliency through Earthquake Scenarios

The occurrence of a major earthquake in or near a major metropolitan area has the potential to damage critical facilities and lifelines and cause substantial long-term disruption to regional and even national economies.  Understanding the potential damage and associated interdependencies is important for emergency response planning and developing cost effective disaster mitigation efforts.  These investigations incorporate a broad range in technical expertise and this session is an opportunity to communicate the investigations underway for Southern California and other major metropolitan areas.

We invite papers dealing with one or more of the following aspects:

  1. deterministic and probabilistic strategies for developing earthquake ground motion and fault rupture predictions affecting metropolitan areas such as Southern California;
  2. development of fragility models for critical facilities having possible multiple failure modes;
  3. integration of ground motion and it’s uncertainty with uncertain fragility models;
  4. developing predictive tools to model the interdependencies or potential cascading affects of critical facility failure;
  5. sociologic, economic and public health models of disaster consequences and interdependencies and planning and mitigation issues for critical facilities and regional governments.


Chris Bradley
Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM
cbradley [at]

Lucy Jones
US Geological Survey, Pasadena, CA
jones [at]

Richard Lee
Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM
rclee [at]

Extreme Ground Motions

Extreme ground motions are the very large amplitudes of earthquake ground motions that can arise at very low probabilities of exceedance, as was the case for the 1998 probabilistic seismic hazard analysis (PSHA) for Yucca Mountain, when extended to hazard levels of <e; 106/yr. A five- year effort funded by the Department of Energy is investigating the credibility of such ground motions through studies of physical limits to earthquake ground motions; unexceeded ground motions, as revealed by fragile geologic structures; and frequency of occurrence of very large ground motions or of earthquake source parameters (such as stress drop and faulting displacement) that cause them.  Of interest to ExGM, as it has been to earthquake seismology for decades, is why crustal earthquake stress drops are so sensibly constant and so much less than the frictional strength of rocks at mid-crustal depths.

At the halfway point of this project, we invite papers on the subject matters above as well as others that speak to ground-motion amplitudes at hazard levels of 106/yr or smaller.  Such analyses might include geologic and geomorphic considerations of landscapes that are of the order of a million years old.


Tom Hanks
U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, CA
thanks [at]

Norm Abrahamson
Pacific Gas & Electric Co., San Francisco, CA
naa2 [at]

Earthquake-induced Ground Failure: From Site Specific to Regional Hazard Assessments

Recent earthquakes have provided many new earthquake-induced ground failure case histories and new technologies facilitate better characterizations of case history sites. Additionally, improved methods and technologies allow for better forecasting of future liquefaction, landsliding and fault surface rupture. This session will be used to highlight new case histories, new methods in performing hazard assessments (site-specific to regional), and ground failure hazard assessment and mitigation projects.


Keith Knudsen
California Dept. of Conservation, Sacramento, CA
Keith.L.Knudsen [at]

Laurie Baise
Tufts University, Medford, MA
laurie.baise [at]

Advances in Treating Macroseismic Intensity Data Quantitatively

 Session Description: "New directions in the quantitative use of macroseismic intensities have reinvigorated the use of these traditional data in the digital era. We encourage related contributions, including the following topics:

  1. source characterization with macroseismic data,
  2. intensity prediction equations,
  3. correlating historic and Internet-based data to instrumental ground-motion parameters,
  4. Internet collection of intensity data, and
  5. uses of macroseismic data in loss estimation


Livio Sirovich
Inst. Nazionale di Ocean. e Geofisica Sperimentale, Trieste, Italy
sirovich [at]

David Wald
U.S. Geological Survey, Golden, CO
wald [at]

Jim Dewey
U.S. Geological Survey, Golden, CO
dewey [at]

Science Without Borders

At the California/Mexico border the San Andreas fault system transitions to a complex plate boundary characterized by continued transform motion along the Cerro Prieto fault as well as spreading in the Gulf of California.   The international border complicates efforts to investigate earthquakes and faults, and quantify seismic hazard, in this highly active and complex region.   We welcome contributions focused on improved characterization of faults, earthquakes, and seismic hazard along the US-Mexico border.  We also welcome discussion of outstanding scientific questions and challenges that have not been addressed adequately due to logistical issues.


Susan Hough
US Geological Survey, Pasadena CA
shough [at]

Luis Munguia Orozco
CICESE, Ensenada, Mexico
lmunguia [at]

Archaeoseismological Methodologies: Principles and Practices

Archaeoseismology is a young scientific discipline that raises a lot of reservation from scientists studying earthquakes in all its aspects, some of whom are strongly questioning whether man- made structures can be used as earthquake indicators at all. But archaeoseismology has the potential to bridge the gap between instrumental and historical seismology, on the one hand, and palaeoseismology and earthquake geology, on the other hand. Archaeoseismological evidence ought to be an equally legitimate and complementary source of seismic-hazard information. However, only an objective assessment of the reliability of archaeoseismological evidence will allow the inclusion of this evidence in seismic-hazard studies.

Therefore, a critical but practicable archaeoseismological methodology needs to be developed integrating the expertise from different disciplines (geology, geomorphology, seismology, geophysics, archaeology, engineering.).

The aim of this special session is to confront and discuss the different existing methodological approaches in archaeoseismology with the objective to make an attempt to propose a standardized methodology for archaeoseismology. We welcome contributions from all disciplines concerned that may serve as a starting point for an in-depth discussion on the basic principles and practices of archaeoseismology.


Manuel Sintubin
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium
manuel.sintubin [at]

Iain Stewart
University of Plymouth, Plymouth, Devon, U.K.
iain.stewart [at]

Tina Niemi
University of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas City MO
niemit [at]

Next Generation of Collaborative Earthquake Predictability Research

Earthquake science is currently gaining momentum in the direction of  standardizing rigorous methods for testing earthquake forecast hypotheses.  Established testing centers provide the opportunity to more easily evaluate  hypotheses in a way that has seen barriers in the past. Testing of models can  not only provide insight into their overall performance, but it can also be  used to develop a better understanding of their basic features. Additionally, current models in development often focus on particular aspects of the  predictability problem; combining forecast methods from multiple models  provides the potential for improving the forecast of any individual model. We  solicit submissions that address one or more of the following issues as they  relate to earthquake predictability: status of current (and plans for future)  regional and global experiments; application of new models and multi-model  combinations; methods for testing and evaluation. A special focus of this session is collaborative experiments.


Danijel Schorlemmer
University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
ds [at]

Matt Gerstenberger
GNS Science, Lower Hutt, New Zealand
m.gerstenberger [at]

Best Practices for Teaching Undergraduate and Graduate Seismology Courses

Individuals within the academic seismology community possess a wealth of experience and knowledge of approaches to engage undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in courses with seismology concepts.  Unfortunately, no central venue exists to allow these individuals to broadly share their own effective labs and exercises with their colleagues or seek new ideas to complement their own courses.  Thus, this session invites participants to present strategies for actively engaging students in the classroom with examples of effective and innovative lab and field experiences. Contributors will be encouraged to submit their classroom, lab and field exercises to an on-line collection such as the Science Education Resource Center database which includes exercises submitted to the 2007 Cutting Edge workshop, "Teaching Geophysics in the 21st Century." Submissions are welcome for any level of seismology instruction from introductory undergraduate Earth science courses to graduate-level seminars, and activities that make use of seismic data are especially encouraged.


Michael Wysession
Washington University, St. Louis, MO
mwysession [at]

John Taber
IRIS Consortium, Washington D.C.
taber [at]


Last Update: 12 February 2008