May 3, 2012

Musings on seismology and earthquake hazard

Posted by Austin Elliott

A seismogram of the M6.8 “Nisqually” earthquake that struck central Washington state in 2001.

Phew, I’ve been a neglectful blogger… probably to the benefit of my dissertation research. I’ve got a few interesting posts in the pipeline, so I think I’ll take what time I can to finish them, then set them up so they’re nice and distributed for you to read.

In the meantime, you should all check out two cool blogs maintained by earthquake aficionado Arne Christensen, in which he compiles media and eyewitness accounts from two of the U.S.’s most notable contemporary earthquakes: Loma Prieta and Nisqually.

Arne recently asked me a few pressing questions he had about seismology and seismic risk on the U.S. west coast. The questions were very provocative and very relevant, so I crafted some responses that were as informative as I could make them without stepping on anyone’s toes. They’re good distillations of my thoughts on earthquakes, and I’ll vouch for my own synopsis of current earthquake research (although I advise anyone seeking formal advice to seek more direct sources, like the USGS, the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, and contributing researchers). Caveats and citations aside, I think you should all go have a read of my “interview” for my personal take on modern seismic hazard “hot topics,” then you should peruse the wealth of accounts Arne has collected of recent significant quakes.

Part 1: Living with Earthquakes on the West Coast

Part 2: Seismology Issues and Changes in the State of the Art

I welcome any discussion of the points I made, and any corrections by more credible seismologists than myself.