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2014 Geosciences Congressional Visits Day - Student Travel Grant Application Now Open!

26 Jun 2014

Are you a U.S. graduate student interested in the intersection of geoscience and public policy? Then we strongly encourage you to apply for the SSA Student Travel Grant to participate in this year's GEO-CVD.

Come to Washington D.C. for the seventh annual Geosciences Congressional Visits Day (GEO-CVD) on September 16-17, 2014. Thanks to the continued and generous support of Weston Geophysical Corporation, for a second year SSA is able to offer a this special travel grant to send two students to this important event. The grant will be put towards transportation, lodging and food (up to $2,000).

Become a citizen geoscientist and join many of your colleagues for this two-day event uniting geoscience researchers, professionals, students, educators, engineers, and executives in Washington DC to raise visibility of and advocate support for the geosciences.

Decision-makers need to hear from geoscientists and particularly like to hear from students.

Participants will spend the first afternoon at a workshop learning how Congress works, how to conduct congressional visits, about relevant legislation, and about relevant federal agencies and programs. The second day will consist of escorted visits with members of Congress or congressional staff on Capitol Hill. The visits will focus on the importance of geoscience research and development and geoscience education. Geoscientists will speak for these shared concerns with a unified message and can enhance the message by using examples from their professional work and experiences. Finally SSA’s Travel Grant winner will write a brief report on the experience for publication in SRL.

All applicants for the SSA Geo-CVD Student Travel Grant opportunity must:

  • Be an SSA member (provide membership number)
  • Be a US registered voter (identify zipcode)
  • Be a currently enrolled graduate student in a US college or university
  • Have presented at least preliminary results from a research project
  • Describe their interest and any relevant experience in public policy

Applications must be received by 15 July 2014.

To apply please visit

More 2014 GEO-CVD information will be available online soon!

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SSA President-Elect & Members Testify for House Natural Resources Committee

4 Apr 2014

On 27 March 2014, the anniversary of the Great Alaska Earthquake and Tsunami, SSA President-Elect Lisa Grant Ludwig of the University of California Irvine, testified on behalf of SSA at a hearing on "Advances in Earthquake Science: 50th Anniversary of the Great Alaskan Quake" called by the House Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources. Also testifying were SSA Members John Vidale of the University of Washington and Bill Leith of the U.S. Geological Survey in Reston as well as earthquake engineer Reginald DesRoches of Georgia Tech.

A webcast of the hearing and PDF summaries of their testimonies are available on the Committee’s website.

[Photo of SSA Members & Congress Members]

left to right: Sub-Committee Chairman Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Lisa Grant Ludwig, Bill Leith , John Vidale, Reginald DesRoches

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SSA President Tom Jordan Briefs U.S. Congress

7 Mar 2014

left to right: David Applegate, Tom Jordan, Peter Haeussler, Bill Leith, and John Schelling

In March 1964, the largest earthquake ever recorded in North America struck Alaska, shaking Anchorage and an area larger than the state of California for more than 4 minutes and causing landslides and tsunamis that took lives in Alaska, Oregon, and California. This year, on February 28th, SSA President Tom Jordan (USC/SCEC) and SSA 2014 Program Committee Co-Chair Peter Haeussler (USGS, Anchorage) participated in a congressional briefing entitled “Exploring Earthquakes: Analyzing the Past to Protect Lives and Property Today.” Filling out the panel were John Schelling from the Washington State Military Department’s Emergency Management Division and moderator (and SSA Member) David Applegate (USGS, Reston).

SSA President Tom Jordan

The briefings, sponsored by SSA, USGS and the Congressional Hazards Caucus Alliance, were held for members and staff in both the Senate and House of Representatives; the House briefing was open to the public.

Jordan and Acting USGS Director Suzette Kimball

The briefings highlighted the impact of the 1964 Anchorage earthquake and the devastation of the Northridge, CA earthquake of 1994, and advances in seismic technology over the past half century.

The briefings were well attended, with audience participants asking many and varied questions on lessons learned domestically and internationally, the prospect of earthquake early warning in the U.S., and the ramifications of seismic activity associated with hydraulic fracturing.

More information on the briefings, including downloadable Powerpoints of the speakers’ presentations, can be found on this page at the USGS website.

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SSA Announces Virtual Special Issue of BSSA!

7 Feb 2014

A special collection of previously-published articles has been compiled ia virtual Special Issue of the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America (BSSA). The virtual Special Issue commemorates the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Great Alaska Earthquake, which is the largest recorded earthquake in North America and the second largest recorded in the world. Available only online, this multi-media virtual Special Issue includes twenty previously-published articles, a short video, and two audio recordings.

The Great Alaska earthquake has had a long lasting influence on our understanding of the plate tectonics and earthquake hazards associated with subduction zones. The Seismological Society of America is commemorating this event by creating this virtual Special Issue of BSSA.

This project was initiated by BSSA editor Diane Doser and pursued by stalwart SSA volunteer Bill Rinehart. Diane helped Bill select the final list of articles to be included. All of the articles selected were previously published in BSSA under the normal BSSA publication process.

This virtual Special Issue of BSSA can be found in the "Special Issues" section of the online journal. SSA Members may access it using this link (SSA Member username & password required).

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Call for Papers: BSSA Special Issue on the 2012 Haida Gwaii, BC & 2013 Craig, AK Earthquakes

6 Feb 2014

The Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America will publish a special issue on the 28 October 2012 Haida Gwaii, British Columbia (Mw 7.7) and the 5 January 2013 Craig, Alaska (Mw 7.5) earthquakes, both of which are associated with the Pacific-North America plate boundary on the west coast of North America. The 2013 Craig event was a strike-slip event along the Queen Charlotte transform fault, while the 2012 event (about 350 km to the south) occurred along an east-dipping blind thrust fault beneath the Queen Charlotte Terrace. It was the largest thrust event ever recorded in this region. This special issue will focus on results of investigations into all seismological, geodetic, tsunami, other geophysical, geological, paleoseismic, and engineering aspects of the earthquakes. Authors working in this area are encouraged to submit research papers for consideration.

We recommend that authors contact one of the guest editors:

Papers on seismology or engineering seismology:
John Cassidy (jcassidy [at] nrcan [dot] gc [dot] ca)
Garry Rogers (grogers [at] nrcan [dot] gc [dot] ca)
Papers on tsunami, regional tectonics, geodesy, and other topics:
Peter Haeussler (pheuslr [at] usgs [dot] gov);
Thomas James (tjames [at] nrcan [dot] gc [dot] ca)

Submission deadline is 1 June 2014.
The special issue will be published in late spring 2015

Prepare manuscripts as described at
and submit via

Address questions about scientific issues to Diane Doser at

Address questions about submissions to Betty Schiefelbein at

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IRIS / SSA Distinguished Lecturers Announced for 2014 and 2015 Call for Nominations is Now Open!

30 Jan 2014

The 2014 IRIS / SSA Distinguished have been announced!

Dr. Jean-Paul Ampuero and Dr. Meredith Nettles have been selected as the lecturers for the 12th year of this jointly-sponsored annual national lecture series in seismology. The 2014 Distinguished Lecture series Schedule will be available soon on the IRIS/SSA Distinguished Lecureship page of the IRIS website.

Dr. Jean-Paul Ampuero is an Assitant Professor of Seismology at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California. The topic of his lecture series is Deciphering the Physics of Earthquakes with Global Seismic Arrays.

Dr. Meredith Nettles is an Associate Professor of Earth and Environmental Science at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbis University located in Palisades, New York.

2015 - Call for Nominations!

IRIS and SSA are pleased to announce the 'Call for Nominations' for the 2015 Distinguished Lectureship series. The selection committee seeks nominations from the seismological community for two lecturers for 2015. The general goal of the program is to increase the general public's awareness of the relevance of seismology through increased exposure.

Each of the two lectures will be given at least four times to general audiences at museums, universitites or other public venues with a target audience of 200 or more. The general scope of the research presented must have clear and acknowledged tie-ins to SSA and IRIS. Lecturers must be resident int he U.S. durning 2015.

Please note, for full consideration nominations must be received by Friday, February 28, 2014.

For more information, please see the '2015 Call for Nominations' page of the IRIS website.

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SSA Announces Board of Directors Election Results

24 Jan 2014

And the votes are in for the SSA Annual Election!

The annual election of the Seismological Society of America was held on January 3, 2014. Votes of current members that were received by the deadline, 5 PM on that date, were tabulated and validated by Election America, Inc.

The following four nominees for Director were elected to three-year terms which begin in April 2014: Laurie G. Baise, Eric Calais, Christine A. Goulet and Andy Michael.

The candidates' statements are available here.

The results will be published in the March/April issue of Seismological Research Letters (SRL 85:2).

Thank you to all of the members who participated in this year's election of the Board of Directors, especially those who stood for election.

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SSA Signs Letter Urging Federal Support for Seismological Research and Facilities

16 Jan 2014

On November 5, 2013, SSA joined IRIS and AGU in a sending letter to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the President's Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) urging federal support for seismological research and facilities in the Fiscal Year 2015 Budget.

The letter, addressed to Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Director of OMB and Dr. John P. Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, emphasized the complementary role of major federal programs that have been successfully coordinated among multiple agencies.

The letter states: "The consensus building by multi-agency partnerships has focused these programs on high-priority national scientific needs including the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP), Earthquake Early Warning (EEW), EarthScope, the Global Seismographic Network (GSN), and Collaborative Research Centers such as the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC)."

SSA, AGU and IRIS: "urge the Administration to support these multi-agency activities and budget them at levels that allow the seismology community to continue to invest in research and technologies that ultimately protect people’s lives and property. From these efforts will come a nation more earthquake resilient."

To view the letter online click here.

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2013 Geo-CVD Student Travel Grant Winners Announced!

26 Aug 2013

This past July, the Seismological Society of America (SSA) invited U.S. graduate students to apply for a travel grant to attend the Sixth Annual Geosciences Congressional Visits Day (Geo-CVD) in Washington, D.C., September 17–18, 2013. Many qualified students submitted applications for consideration, and the decision for choosing a student to receive the travel grant was very difficult for the selection committee.

The two students chosen to receive grants this year are Kevin Milner of the University of Southern California SCEC and Kevin Foster of Virginia Tech‎. The Student grant will cover up to $2000 of travel expenses (transportation, lodging, and food costs), and the winners will write a brief report on the experience for publication in the SSA journal, the Seismological Research Letters (SRL).

Many congratulations to the winners!

This student member opportunity would not have been possible without the generous support of the Weston Geophysical Corporation, and SSA gives them special thanks for offering one of this year's grants. The second grant was offered by SSA in response to the overwhelming number of applications received for consideration.

SSA thanks all of those who participated for the Geo-CVD Student Travel Grant opportunity. Stay tuned for updates and look for the winner's reports to be published in SRL in the coming months.

If you would like to participate in this year's Geo-CVD and would like to coordinate with SSA, please send an e-mail to with 2013 Geo-CVD in the subject line.

SSA Student members, please be alert to other Student travel grant opportunities offered by the Society and coming up soon!

Yearly, SSA offers modest travel grants to attend the SSA Annual Meeting, and next year the meeting will be held in Anchorage, Alaska! Student travel grant information will be available shortly, so please check the SSA 2014 Annual Meeting page for updates as the first date of Abstract Submission approaches.

SSA also offers a bi-yearly reciprocal grant with the European Seismological Commission (ESC), and the next ESC General Assembly will be held in Istanbul, Turkey in August 2014. (This is a Joint Assembly with the European Association of Earthquake Enginnering.)

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SSA Supports NSF's Merit Review Process

30 May 2013

The Seismological Society of America (SSA) has joined one hundred and nine other organizations in a letter to the members of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation regarding the merit review process and research portfolio of the National Science Foundation.

The letter cautions against changing the criterion for awarding grants, highlights the importance of the research supported by the foundation, and urges making the funding of basic research in all NSF-supported disciplines a national priority.

To view the full letter online or to view the entire list of signing organizations, go to

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SSA Signs Letter on Government Travel Restrictions (Updated - 29 May 2013)

29 May 2013

On April 17, SSA joined other professional societies and associations in a letter to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requesting affirmation of “the Administration’s support of these open exchanges of information, and amend OMB guidance to specifically exempt federal employee travel to conferences, seminars, and meetings where attendance promotes agency interests as well as the professional development and competency of government scientists, engineers, or other specialized experts.” The letter asked for clarification regarding meetings that would be exempted from the memorandum.

A letter with similar wording, signed by SSA and over 60 other associations, was sent to key Members of Congress in late May. “We ask that you affirm Congress’s support of these open exchanges of information, establishing legislative guidance that exempts federal employee travel to conferences, seminars, and meetings where attendance promotes agency interests as well as the professional development and competency of government scientists, engineers, or other specialized experts," this this letter states.

To view either letter online, please select from the links below.

17 April 2013 - Letter 1
29 May 2013 - Letter 2

Other Useful Links:
U.S. Office of Management and Budget
U.S. Congress

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Earthquake Notes and Early SRL’s Are Now Online

1 Feb 2013

Did you know that SRL began its life as a journal of the Eastern Section of SSA?

It began back in 1929 as Earthquake Notes, a tiny journal (4-8 pages) with news, an abstract or two, notifications of papers published elsewhere, and reports of scientific findings focused on Eastern North America. Over time it evolved to include more scholarly articles. Then, in 1987 it changed its name to Seismological Research Letters and in 1995 it assumed the format we use today. (The earlier journal survives in today's SRL as a special section on Eastern North America and intraplate earthquakes.)

And why is this important today?

Now when you view SRL online, you have access to issues back to 1929!

Due to the small size of most issues of Earthquake Notes (volumes 1-57), each of those issues is posted online as a single PDF that includes all the articles in the issue. You can see (and search on) the Table of Contents for each issue. In areas where earthquakes are less frequent, historical records and journal archives become especially important to the science.

Enjoy this new online resource either via the Members' Area of the SSA website (for members) or by going directly to GeoScienceWorld.

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SSA Opposition Letter to Senate Amendment 2060

3 Dec 2012

The Seismological Society of America has written and delivered the letter below to targeted Members of Congress opposing the passage of any postal reform bill that includes Senate Amendment 2060. Senate Amendment 2060, if approved, would strictly limit Federal spending on conferences and employee travel, and impose stringent constraints on the participation of government scientists in public meetings, scientific conferences, and professional society activities.

December 3, 2012

The Honorable Dianne Feinstein
United States Senate
31 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Barbara Boxer
United States Senate
112 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Senator Feinstein and Senator Boxer:

I am writing on behalf of the Seismological Society of America (SSA), an international scientific society of over 2,000 members devoted to the advancement of seismology and the understanding of earthquakes for the benefit of society, to respectfully urge you to oppose passage of any postal reform bill that includes Senate Amendment 2060, which is currently in the postal reform bill (S.1789) passed by the Senate in April, 2012.

SA 2060 is unrelated to the fiscal crisis facing the Postal Service and would have the unintentional effect of severely restricting government employees from attending meetings and conferences held by associations, nonprofits and other private sector organizations. While intended to improve accountability and financial reporting for government-sponsored meetings, the amendment in the Senate postal reform bill has unintentionally broad and serious implications for participation at non-governmental meetings that would hinder scientific progress in the public interest. One of the provisions, for example, would limit federal agencies’ participation to just a single conference sponsored by a private organization per year.

At SSA’s scientific meetings, many government, academic and consulting scientists share the latest research in earthquake seismology and related fields. In addition to seismologists, members include geophysicists, geologists, engineers, insurers, and policy makers actively engaged with government, academic, and private sectors to promote earthquake public safety. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of our focus on earthquake safety, many of these scientists also attend a conference focused on their broader discipline: geology, geophysics, engineering, etc.

Approximately 20% percent of the registrants for our annual meeting are employed by federal agencies such as the US Geological Survey, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association and National Institute of Standards and Technology. The dialogue that takes place at meetings among government, academic and private sector scientists is essential to the development of informed policymaking on earthquake hazards. Our meetings are also heavily attended by university faculty and students, and the associations and interchanges that occur between government representatives and the next generation of scientists are critical to determining career paths and promoting future service to the U.S. Government. If SA 2060 were passed without modifications as part of postal reform, it would severely impact these dialogues.

While addressing the long-term solvency of the Postal Service is a critical issue, allowing SA 2060 to be included in any final bill would have long-term and serious repercussions for assuring that federal employees stay well-informed about current scientific results affecting the nation’s interests and would also be detrimental to the pipeline of young scientists who are considering national service.

Thank you for your consideration of this important issue and please contact me if you have any questions about how this amendment affects the Seismological Society of America and many other science societies.


Susan Newman
Executive Director, SSA

Seismological Society of America • 400 Evelyn Avenue, Suite 201 • Albany, California 94706-1375

Telephone: 510-525-5474 • Fax: 510-525-7204 • E-mail:

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SSA Releases Statement on Conviction of Italian Seismologists

25 Oct 2012

The Seismological Society of America has released the following statement on the conviction and sentencing of six Italian scientists and one government official for manslaughter in connection with the tragic L’Aquila earthquake of 6 April 2009:

The seismological community is alarmed by the conviction and sentencing of six Italian scientists and one government official for manslaughter in connection with the tragic L’Aquila earthquake of 6 April 2009. We are concerned that this verdict may only serve to reduce life-saving communication about earthquake hazards in the future in Italy and in many other countries around the world.

The occurrence of this disastrous earthquake illuminates both the high level of uncertainty in the science of short-term earthquake forecasting and the lack of a public policy framework in Italy and many other parts of the world for providing short-term guidance for coping with that uncertainty to the communities, populations, and infrastructure at risk.

Rather than pursuing unprecedented legal action against members of the seismological community, SSA urges public officials and community leaders to work to improve the way earthquake risks are communicated to the public. We also urge continued proactive efforts to support earthquake science and engineering and to establish and implement local and national programs in earthquake preparedness and risk mitigation. The best approaches currently available for mitigating the effects of future earthquakes are education, awareness, and preparedness of public officials and the general public, coupled with sound construction practices and retrofitting of older structures.

As background, SSA has posted the audio of a presentation by Thomas H. Jordan given at the Public Policy Luncheon at the SSA 2012 Annual Meeting on Lessons of L'Aquila for Operational Earthquake Forecasting.

Dr. Jordan chaired the International Commission on Earthquake Forecasting for Civil Protection. He is Director of the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC), W.M. Keck Foundation Professor of Earth Sciences at USC, and currently serves on SSA’s Board of Directors.

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SSA Hosts Congressional Briefings on Earthquake Early Warning (EEW)

28 Sep 2012

(L-R) Chris Terzich, Richard Allen, Bill Leith

On Friday September 28th SSA hosted two congressional briefings on Earthquake Early Warning (EEW) — a morning briefing on the House side and an afternoon session on the Senate side. The briefing moderator, Bill Leith of USGS Natural Hazards Risk & Resilience Assessment, provided an overview and discussed the USGS's efforts on EEW to date. Richard Allen of the UC Berkeley Seismological Lab detailed California’s current plans and timeline for public inclusion. Allen noted efforts still needed in order to make California’s EEW system suitable for the public and how that is addressed by current plans. Chris Terzich, with the Regional Consortium Coordinating Council, provided the public/private sector partnerships perspective and focused on the benefits of early warning for the private sector as well as the public safety angle.

Additional information about the briefing, including Powerpoint presentations and speaker biographies, is available on this page at the USGS website.

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SSA Strategic Plan

4 Sep 2012

For the last year SSA has been working to develop a strategic plan to set forth new SSA initiatives and future Society objectives. We are proud to announce that a basic plan has been carefully crafted with the help of SSA’s Board of Directors, outside consultants, and most notably SSA’s members.

A letter from SSA's President, Christa von Hillebrandt-Andrade, further describing the strategic plan process and the strategic plan itself are both now available online. SSA could not have accomplished this important task without the broad participation of SSA members and leadership. We now have a plan to guide us into the future.

To read the letter from the President and the Strategic Plan, please follow the link:

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SSA Online Store

1 Sep 2012

SSA has a new online store!

SSA has opened a new online store on with everything from SSA shirts & sweats to baseball caps & back-packs. The online store has lots of different items for you to choose from.

Pick and personalize gifts for yourself, friends, and family.

Visit the SSA online store here: .

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BSSA and SRL Available on GSW Mobile Site

31 Aug 2012

GeoScience World has recently launched a new mobile-optimized site and SSA members can easily read both BSSA and SRL on any equipped mobile device.

The mobile sites have a user-friendly interface, easy search features, and will allow you to check out recent SSA journal articles on the go.

Visit the new GSW mobile sites for BSSA ( and SRL ( from your handheld device and see for yourself how easy it is to read SSA's journals from anywhere!

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Help identify regional ground motion databases and reports for PEER’s Global GMPE Project

19 Jul 2011

The Global Earthquake Model (GEM) Foundation has awarded the PEER Center with a project aimed at selecting a suite of Ground Motion Prediction Equations (GMPEs) that can be used for Seismic Hazard evaluation at global and regional levels.

To complete this work for the Global GMPE Project, PEER researchers are in the process collecting comprehensive data and publications from around the world. In an effort to make sure that all relevant information is collected, PEER is seeking help from all members of the earthquake community to identify regional resources. In particular, the following two items are needed:

(1) Any regional Ground Motion Databases with a minimum moment magnitude Mw of 4.5 (except PEER, SHARE, K-Net, and KIK-NET);

(2) Any published Reports and Papers showing compatibility or performance of exisiting GMPEs versus regional data.

Please direct your information, references or publications to, before August 30, 2011 so that they can be included in the research project.

Additional information on PEER’s Global GMPE Project can be found at

Thanks for your collaboration!

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SSA Releases Statement on Prosecution of Italian Seismologists

30 Jun 2011

The Seismological Society of America has released the following statement:

We are deeply concerned to learn that members of our society and their colleagues have been indicted by the Prosecutor’s Office in L’Aquila in connection with the tragic L’Aquila earthquake of 6 April 2009. The occurrence of this disastrous earthquake unfortunately brought into the harsh light of public scrutiny both the high level of uncertainty in the science of short-term earthquake forecasting and the lack of a public policy framework in Italy (and, for that matter, many other parts of the world) for providing short-term guidance to the communities, populations, and infrastructure at risk.

Rather than pursuing unprecedented legal action against members of the seismological community, SSA urges public officials and community leaders to work to improve the way earthquake risks are communicated to the public. We also urge continued proactive efforts to support earthquake science and engineering and to establish and implement local and national programs in earthquake preparedness and risk mitigation. Education, awareness, and preparedness of the public officials and the general public, coupled with sound construction practices and retrofitting of older structures are currently the best available approaches for mitigating the effects of future earthquakes.

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SSA President Rick Aster Testifies before Congress on USGS Budget Priorities

24 Mar 2011

SSA President Rzick Aster and others at Congressional HearingSSA President Rick Aster (left) testifying before the House Natural Resources Committee's subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources

On 9 March 2011 the U.S. House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee, subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held a hearing on Examining the Spending Priorities and the Missions of the U.S. Geological Survey and the President’s FY 2012 Budget Proposal". SSA President Rick Aster provided invited testimony.

A webcast of the hearing is available at the Natural Resources Committee's website.

Also testifying were Marcia McNutt, USGS Director; John Palatiello of he Management Association for Private Photogrammetric Surveyors (MAPPS); Johnathan Price representing the Association of American State Geologists (AASG); Craig Schriffries of the Geological Society of America (GSA).

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House Holds Hearings on NEHRP Reauthorization

26 Jun 2009

Hearings on the Reauthorization of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program: R&D for Disaster Resilient Communities were held on June 11, 2009 by the the US House of Representatives Committee of Science and Technology, subcommittee on technology and Innovation. Testimony of the invited witnesses is available on the Committee's website at SSA submitted a written comment for the record. It is posted at

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Last Modified: 26 Jun 2014