From the Directors: SCEC In Transformation

Dear SCEC Community,


The 2023 Kahramanmaras Earthquake Sequence in Turkey: Relations to California Earthquakes, Ground Motion, and Seismic Risk

My Experience with SCEC SOURCES

Past Issues

December 2022
July 2022
October 2021
June 2021
March 2021
December 2020
October 2020
June 2020
March 2020
December 2019

Article Suggestions
If you have suggestions for recent research, education, or outreach activities to highlight in a future newsletter; or recognition, award, or honor of a member of the SCEC community, email Mark Benthien.


Articles from SCEC, our partners, and other sources.

We have been hard at work and are now pleased to provide an update on recent developments and planned near-future activities. 

For over three decades, the Southern California Earthquake Center has used the San Andreas Fault system in Southern California as a natural laboratory to study fundamental and applied aspects of earthquake science. On September 8, NSF-EAR announced funding for a 3-year grant titled “Understanding the Coupled Evolution of Earthquakes, Faults, and Geohazards of the San Andreas Fault System”. The funding will support a transformation of SCEC to a new Statewide California Earthquake Center (same acronym), with an expansion of the focused natural laboratory to the natural boundaries of the Pacific-North America transform plate boundary. This expanded domain includes more diverse geology, as well as additional modes of tectonic deformation and slip, that bring with them important new research opportunities. The NSF project includes five Major Activities focusing on Earthquake System Science, Research Computing, Community Engagement, Workforce Development, and Planning & Evaluation. As a Statewide Center, a broader community of researchers will be encouraged to collaborate, opportunities for students and early career researchers will be emphasized, and millions more people at risk will benefit from our collective research.

The new Statewide Center will develop community models spanning the full plate boundary, engage a broad, diverse workforce, and educate and prepare a resilient California.

The new Statewide Center will also be supported by the USGS and other sponsors and partners of SCEC including PG&E, FEMA, Cal OES, and the California Seismic Safety Commission. We are nearing the end of a 2-year USGS award and are working on a USGS proposal to sustain activities of the Statewide Center for another 2 years with a focus on applied earthquake science and hazards. Proposed activities will include hazard analysis through CyberShake simulations, Operational Earthquake Forecasting, the Earthquake Engineering Interface, and a range of studies needed to facilitate these and other activities. 

To aid the transformation of SCEC to a Statewide Center, we established three Task Forces to provide guidance on the following aspects: 1) Updating the Organizational Structure to reflect the five Major Activities included in the NSF-EAR project along with activities supported by other sponsors and partners. 2) Center-wide Science Planning to reflect basic and applied research topics with a focus on new opportunities, particularly in central and northern California and western Nevada. 3) Launching the New Center to initiate the Statewide center in a way that that builds on important strengths of SCEC1-SCEC5 while nucleating or deepening new Statewide partnerships. The work of these Task Forces is expected to continue until early 2024. 

We are pleased to share the further news that the CSSI program of NSF just funded a 5-year SCEC-SDSC project to develop a science gateway framework named Quakeworx. The key goal of Quakeworx is to deliver innovative service-oriented and easy-to-use cyberinfrastructure that will facilitate development, validation, application, and reproducibility of improved Earthquake Rupture Forecasts. Quakeworx will curate and seed leading simulation tools and the SCEC community models needed as input for the simulations, along with tools needed to analyze related simulation and observational results. The Quakeworx gateway will reduce barriers to the use of computational methods in earthquake research by simplifying access to compute and storage resources.

We just concluded another excellent annual meeting during September 10-12, with pre-meeting workshops of the Computational Infrastructure for Geodynamics (CIG) organization and the Rupture and Fault Zone Observatory (RuFZO) initiative. The annual meeting had about 375 participants including over 170 early career researchers and 35 international participants from 15 countries. The meeting had the usual blend of plenary and poster sessions on timely topics, with significant time for exchanges and interactions of the participants, and important illustrations of state-of-the-art focused and collaborative activities by the SCEC community. The talks given in the plenary sessions will be posted at the SCEC website soon. 

In a virtual meeting at the end of August, a 20th Anniversary celebration was held for the SCEC-led Earthquake Country Alliance (ECA), which has contributed significantly to improved community preparedness in California and around the world. The ECA activities are expected to move forward even more vigorously in the Statewide Center. SCEC also coordinates the annual Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills, coming up on October 19. The release of the Request For Proposals (RFP) for SCEC’s 2024 research core program will also be in October.

In closing we would like to remember the passing of important longtime members of the SCEC community including Dave Jackson who passed on March 30, 2023, Ilya Zaliapin who passed on May 2, 2023, and Yan Kagan who passed on June 28, 2022. All three were towering figures of statistical seismology and exceptional human beings. Their passing is a huge loss to those who knew them, to SCEC, and to the global earthquake community. 

Stay well and stay in touch,

Yehuda Ben-Zion, SCEC Director
Greg Beroza, SCEC co-Director


Science Articles

SCEC Community Models Represent Over 20 years of Collaboration

The SCEC Community Models, now collectively known as CXM, have been a key component of the SCEC collaboration since the 1990’s. CXM has significantly expanded in recent years and is now a collection of six models that describe different features of Southern California geology that influence seismic activity.  CXM currently consists of the Community Fault Model (CFM), Community Geodetic Model (CGM), Community Rheology Model (CRM), Community Stress Model (CSM), Community Thermal Model (CTM), and the Community Velocity Models (CVM and the UCVM platform, which delivers multiple velocity models).
[Read article by Shreya Agrawal, Scott Marshall, and Philip Maechling]

New Perspectives on Hydrological Monitoring from Passive Seismic Interferometry

With climate change and population growth, securing freshwater supply is an imminent challenge faced by humanity worldwide [Figure 1]. An overarching component of freshwater resources is groundwater, which makes up 98% of liquid freshwater on Earth and contributes to over 60% of California’s water supply in dry years. Despite its critical importance to water security, groundwater is often poorly monitored and managed compared to more visible surface water (e.g., in rivers, lakes, and reservoirs) [1]. A fundamental obstruction to understanding groundwater systems is the lack of observations. In recent years, national or global networks of groundwater monitoring (e.g., the National Water Information System operated by USGS [2], and the Global Groundwater Monitoring Network [3]) have been established to facilitate the management of groundwater aquifers.  
[Read article by Shujuan Mao and Michel Campillo]

SCEC Community Fault Model (CFM) 6.0 Released

It is our great pleasure to announce the release of the SCEC Community Fault Model version 6.0! CFM6.0 is a significant revision from the previous CFM version, incorporating feedback from an in-depth community evaluation process. There are 37 new or revised fault representations, including updates to the San Andreas system, faults in the Los Angeles and Ventura basins, offshore areas, and many other regions. All additions and revisions feature a complete set of metadata that includes naming based on fault system hierarchy, average strike/dip, source references, and the associated fault ID number in the USGS Quaternary fault and fold database where available. The complete model archive has been assigned a DOI and is available for download.  
[Read article by Scott Marshall, Andreas Plesch, John Shaw, Mei-Hui Su, Philip Maechling, Tran Huynh, and Edric Pauk]

The 2023 Kahramanmaras Earthquake Sequence in Turkey: Relations to California Earthquakes, Ground Motion, and Seismic Risk

The 2023 Kahramanmaras earthquake sequence: On February 6, 2023, at 04:17 TRT (01:17 UTC), a devastating earthquake with a magnitude Mw 7.8 struck southern and central Turkey near the border with Syria1. Just a few hours later, another earthquake with a magnitude Mw 7.5 followed at 13:24 TRT (10:24 UTC), centered 95 km (59 mi) north-northeast from the first2. The seismic sequence resulted from shallow strike-slip faulting and led to widespread damage and tens of thousands of fatalities in Turkey and Syria. The Mw 7.8 Pazarcik earthquake was one of the strongest ever recorded in the region and its intensity was felt in multiple countries3. The two large events and their numerous aftershocks are referred to as the Kahramanmaras earthquake sequence.
[Read article by Ahmed Elbanna, Kevin Milner, and Yehuda Ben-Zion]


Workforce Development

My Experience with SCEC SOURCES

To say that the Southern California Earthquake Center's Supported Opportunities for Undergraduates and Researchers to Collaborate on Earthquake Science (SOURCES) 2022 Internship Program was a positive experience would be quite the understatement. As a non-traditional undergraduate student, returning to college in my 30’s has not been an easy task. When initially applying for internships in my second year of undergrad with minimal experience, I wasn't the most confident in my chances for being selected into the program. SCEC took a chance on me, welcomed me into the program with open arms, and far exceeded my expectations for my first internship experience. Dr. Gabriela Noriega, SCEC’s director of Experiential Learning and Career Advancement did a wonderful job on every level.
[Read article by Morgan Newton]