30 October 2017–Due to the devastating impacts of Hurricanes Irma and Maria on Puerto Rico, the Latin American and Caribbean Seismological Commission (LACSC) and the Seismological Society of America (SSA), with full agreement from the Puerto Rican members of the Program Committee, have decided to move the 2018 joint conference, Seismology of the Americas, from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Miami, Florida to be held 14-17 May 2018.
We regret that the meeting will not contribute to the Puerto Rican economy in 2018 and are exploring plans to return there in a few years. We are also developing other ways for the meeting to provide support to Puerto Rico and its recovery.
This difficult decision needed to be made now to allow time for everyone to plan and for contractual reasons. It is the result of many discussions with the hotel and convention facilities, the government of Puerto Rico, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (U.S. Government) and our members. While we hope that Puerto Rico has a rapid recovery, there is too much uncertainty regarding conditions in April to be confident of a successful meeting. A survey of the SSA membership revealed strong, divergent views, but a majority of members preferred a move to Miami. Informal discussions among LACSC members pointed to Miami as an excellent alternate choice to San Juan.
Seismology of the Americas is more than one of our usual meetings. Bringing together our two organizations presents an opportunity to build collaborations throughout the hemisphere, as we work to mitigate earthquake hazards and increase resilience to natural disasters. A broad range of special sessions have been submitted and will be announced on November 1. We hope that you will submit abstracts, beginning December 1, and take advantage of this special opportunity.
To make this meeting a success, SSA is asking for your donations to support travel grants for student members of SSA and LACSC, and to fund a special campaign to support travel by Puerto Rican scientists and students to the upcoming conference.