From the Directors: Learning from the Past & Planning for the Future



In This Issue (July 2022)

Landers 30th Anniversary: Legends and Legacies

Remembering the 1952 Kern County earthquake, seventy years later

Seismologist Emily Brodsky awarded Nemmers Prize in Earth Sciences

Prospective evaluation of multiplicative hybrid earthquake forecasting models in California

Advance Your Professional Development with SCEC's Interhships and Transitions Programs

Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety

ECA materials now available in the most common languages of Calfiornia

Past Issues
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.

Dear SCEC Community,

The newsletter is back after a hiatus during which we had our hands full with developing the NSF proposal for the new Center (submitted at the end of March) and working simultaneously on moving the Collaboration Plan for 2022 forward, transitioning into a “bridge period” for the Center, and attending to many other SCEC activities. An important and exciting major theme proposed for the new Center is to expand the scope of our natural laboratory to its natural boundaries that include the entire state of California. SCEC has long been engaged in research, education, and preparedness activities that are California-wide (and beyond), but these activities will be more effective with increasing involvement of organizations statewide. In February, the San Diego Supercomputer Center became the 22nd Core institution of SCEC. We look forward to welcoming UC Berkeley, Pasadena City College and East Los Angeles College as Core Institutions of the new Center. The California Geological Survey has expressed interest in increasing interactions with SCEC and providing a northern CA hub for activities. The SCEC acronym will transition in the new Center to stand for Statewide California Earthquake Center.

SCEC is in a transitional mode with bridge funding from the USGS, anticipated supplemental funding from NSF, and additional support from the DOE, NASA, FEMA, CalOES, PG&E and other partners. We regret that the notifications on subawards are so delayed this year; but our expectation is that the awardees will nevertheless be able to use the funds productively in the current collaboration year. 

Some great news on the computing front is that SCEC researchers working on ground motion simulations received a very large HPC allocation from the Department of Energy, consisting of 472,500 Service Units on Summit at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and 783,000 node-hours on Cori at the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center. In addition, we received from the San Diego Supercomputer Center (our new Core institution) an allocation consisting of 1 million computational core-hours annually on their newest supercomputer, Expanse.  Enhanced computing is an important part of SCEC’s future, so we are delighted to report these successes.

2022 SCEC Annual Meeting

We look forward eagerly to returning to Palm Springs on September 11-14 for the first in-person SCEC Annual Meeting since 2019.  We will implement some changes from previous in-person meetings to enhance safety, and to facilitate exciting interactions with many in the community at the meeting and the workshops that precede it. More Information about the 2022 annual meeting was sent by email yesterday (7/26). Be sure to register and submit your abstract before the August 19th deadline.

June 28 marked the 30th anniversary of the 1992 M7.3 Landers earthquake that was felt broadly in southern California and led to several key science advances including the first interferometric image of earthquake deformation based on satellite radar interferometry and the recognition of remote triggering. The USGS and SCEC marked the Landers anniversary with a response exercise on 6/27 led by Sue Hough focused on interagency coordination, a joint webinar on 6/28 organized by Mark Benthien (recording available), a new USGS Special Earthquake webpage, and a SCEC newsletter article featuring interviews with SCEC Community members. July 6 marked the 3rd anniversary of the 2019 M7.1 Ridgecrest earthquake and July 21 marked the 70thanniversary of the 1952 M7.3 Kern County earthquake, which is also highlighted in a SCEC Newsletter article. These events, along with the 1989 M6.9 Loma Prieta1994 M6.7 Northridge1999 M7.1 Hector Mine2010 M7.2 El Mayor-Cucapah, and other earthquakes, demonstrate that impactful seismic events occur frequently within the Pacific and North American Plate boundary region. The next large earthquake to occur in California near one of the major urban areas could have staggering impacts on communities and the economy. Earthquake anniversaries provide important reminders that we must increase efforts to advance the understanding of earthquakes and the damaging ground motion they generate to inform seismic risk reduction and improve societal preparedness.

SCEC’s Communication, Education, and Outreach program is in high gear managing recruitment and messaging for the Great California ShakeOut and all other ShakeOut regions, with more than 10.4 million people already registered this year (showing a return towards pre-pandemic participation levels). With support from FEMA and CalOES for the SCEC-managed Earthquake Country Alliance (ECA), we have completed the translation of 13 earthquake safety guidance documents into 16 languages for use worldwide; we also manage ECA’s variety of webinars and other online training. Our Quake Heroes film is soon to be rolled out with screenings this Fall across the state in community centers, businesses, and hopefully SCEC institutions! The 2022 SOURCES interns have been hard at work and will be sharing their results at the SCEC Annual Meeting, which also will feature several components of SCEC’s Transitions Program. Engaging with these Experiential Learning and Career Advancement programs is a great way to advance your professional development; learn how to do this in an article in this newsletter by ELCA Director Gabriela Noriega.

In closing, we would like to express gratitude to the community that continues to sustain and enrich the SCEC enterprise. The past few years have been exceptionally challenging on many levels, and the past 6 months even more so. We especially thank John Shaw of Harvard University for his long and outstanding service to SCEC. John stepped down as the chair of the board of directors in April to take on the role of vice provost of research at Harvard. He contributed significantly to SCEC5 in many ways. Rachel Abercrombie from Boston University has been elected as interim chair of the Board until the end of the year, at which time the board will elect new leadership. We thank Tom Rockwell and Jean-Phillipe Avouac for their important service on the board of directors of SCEC5, and welcome new board members Yifeng Cui (SDSC), Brendan Meade (Harvard), Jillian Maloney (SDSU) and Zach Ross (Caltech). We thank Maggie Benoit from NSF, who has been our program manager since the beginning of SCEC5 and is now serving as Acting Integrated Activities Section Head at NSF-EAR, and welcome Luciana Astiz who, together with Steve Harlan, serve as SCEC’s NSF program managers. We look forward to thanking everyone in person and reconnecting with the SCEC community at the upcoming annual meeting in Palm Springs.

Best wishes and regards,

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


Science Highlights

The Legend and Legacy of Landers

At the end of June, the SCEC community marked the 30th anniversary of the Landers earthquake, which occurred on June 28, 1992. According to geologist Kerry Sieh, Landers was the largest earthquake to have occurred in the mainland United States in over 40 years. Significant damage occurred due to Landers, and many residents in the Mojave Desert experienced violent shaking. The amount and extent of rupture in the Landers earthquake was surprising to the scientific community as the rupture happened over multiple faults, both mapped and unmapped. According to SDSU professor Thomas Rockwell, this earthquake illustrated the idea of cascading ruptures.
[Read full article by Shreya Agrawal (USC)]

Remembering the 1952 Kern County earthquake, seventy years later

The Mw 7.3 1952 Kern County earthquake was one of California’s biggest earthquakes to date. Seventy years after the main event on July 21st, 1952, it has been forgotten by many, but still remains a significant event in the history of seismology. The earthquake occurred on the White Wolf fault near Bakersfield, California, close to the intersection of the San Andreas fault and the Garlock fault. The epicenter of the quake was near Lebec, but the greatest impacts were felt in the city of Tehachapi, where the earthquake was responsible for more than 30 casualties in a town with less than 2000 residents. The effects of the quake were felt all over California and Nevada, from San Francisco to Los Angeles to Reno. 
[Read full article by Shreya Agrawal (USC)]

Science Updates

Seismologist Emily Brodsky awarded Nemmers Prize in Earth Sciences   Prospective evaluation of multiplicative hybrid earthquake forecasting models in California


Education Highlights

Advance Your Professional Development with SCEC’s Internships and Transitions Programs

SCEC’s Experiential Learning and Career Advancement (ELCA) programs offer a variety of opportunities for students, postdocs and early-career faculty to support their skills development journey. SCEC internships allow students to participate in rewarding and diverse research experiences alongside SCEC researchers from across the country. Graduate students and early career researchers (ECRs) can hone their skills by participating in mentorship and communications workshops, exchanging ideas at a Transitions networking event, or promoting their work at a conference funded by a Transitions Research Travel Award. Professional development programs improve the knowledge and skills important in creating a thoughtful and engaged community. This article details how SCEC members can benefit from ELCA programs as they transition in their careers.
[Read full article by Gabriela Noriega (USC)]

Outreach Updates

The Earthquake Country Alliance (led by SCEC). has develop this guide for staying safe before, during, and after  earthquakes   ECA has developed a set of materials available in the most common languages spoken in California.