Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Lifeline Corridor Crossing the San Andreas fault

This article appeared today and nicely explains the situation at Cajon Pass. A great San Andreas event with surface faulting through this and other lifeline corridor crossing points will potentially sever the links between the urban metropolitan area and the rest of the nation. Through the ShakeOut study, we see that the economic and social impacts of this are enormous. It is therefore crucial to plan for efficient repairs to these lifelines in the event of a real earthquake. ShakeOut is an opportunity for people to engage in such planning, and we have been working with the lifeline utilities operators to accomplish this and to encourage retrofitting and creative engineering solutions to make lifelines more resistant to earthquake damage.


In the photo, a scarp along the San Andreas lies in shadow beneath my arm.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Fun with the Qfaults on-line database

Here is the main link to the Qfaults web site - start here:

Now, try going to this link, then typing in San Andreas as the fault name.

It should return more links, and for each of the 10 section you can then click to bring up various levels of detailed information about each fault section.

This is a very nice compilation of references by Bill Bryant and colleagues from the California Geological Survey, and a convenient way to look up published information.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Mud Pots - an extension of San Andreas fault?

Mud Pots Signal Possible Extension Of San Andreas Fault

ScienceDaily (2008-07-29) -- A linear string of mud pots and mud volcanoes suggest surface evidence for a southern extension of the San Andreas Fault that runs through the Salton Sea, according to a paper published in the August issue of the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Nature article - Earthquake Prediction

Here is a BBC article on the recent Nature letter by Niu et al., which describes a new method and potential for earthquake prediction.

The article is entitled Preseismic velocity changes observed from active
source monitoring at the Parkfield SAFOD drill site
and the authors claim to have detected anomalous velocities in rock prior to rupture in two small earthquakes near Parkfield, California the experimental site on the San Andreas fault. Here is the abstract.

In 1999, Nature moderated a fascinating debate on earthquake prediction that I encourage people to read as well as the latest findings.

Monday, June 30, 2008

San Diego Natural History Museum

Last Friday, after giving a talk on ShakeOut to a group called InfraGard at the San Diego Natural History Museum, I had the pleasure to try out the new display on the 2nd floor that allows visitors to make the fault move with their own hands! The offset at Wallace Creek can be manually cranked backwards and forwards to illustrate how the offset formed. Also, the classic collection of Shelton's aerial photos of the San Andreas and other points of geological fascination on the third floor were spectacular.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

San Andreas - photos from airplanes & a helicopter!

Here are some photos of the San Andreas that I've taken from various aircraft (usually commercial planes, and recently a helicopter). Picassa allowed me to locate them on a map. Follow this link and try clicking 'view map' - then you can hit 'play' and it will take you on a slide show trip down the fault. There's also a link that allows you to download an HTML file that you can then view using Google Earth, etc. If there's interest I'll add captions later.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Monday, April 14, 2008

UCERF Press Release

A press conference is taking place now on the new Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast (UCERF).

This is important and I hope you will take the time to read and study this report which is available from USGS in full detail here.

A large group of scientists, led by my colleague Ned Field (USGS), put together a new seismic hazard estimate for the State of California. This work is inherently important for having made a uniform statewide product, and for identifying a fresh new research agenda for the future.

Pop Culture in California - TV's Eli Stone - only M6.8?

Did you watch last night's episode of Eli Stone? He and also quite an eccentric 'mad scientist' character successfully predicted a damaging earthquake in San Francisco. Eli has a premonition in a day dream due to his brain aneurysm. Wow! Anyhow, the crazy lawyer and crazy scientist somehow convince the Mayor to close the Golden Gate bridge, which is then damaged badly. Oh well, I guess someone figures this is what people want to see on TV - is it really? This makes me think we should pay for cable so that we can watch some worthwhile documentaries on science instead.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

ShakeOut participants

We are asking everyone in SoCal to participate in ShakeOut, and many organizations and people are already joining up. Today, I was very impressed by the level of intensity shown by LADWP, who have just performed a preliminary set of exercises as part of the lead-in to the main ShakeOut event. They are checking their systems and already discussing what can be done to improve. We're hoping that other major utilities will participate at such a high level. The LADWP General Manager came to personally hear the outbriefs on water and power systems, then to guide response efforts and direct recovery in the simulation. I was very pleased at how the exercise went today, and this was an early step of many they will take.

On May 5th, there will be a USGS-OES press conference in Ontario to announce more details of the ShakeOut scenario, and to encourage widespread public participation in the Nov. 13th main event.

On July 16th, LADWP will hold a full-scale exercise based on the ShakeOut scenario, along with a series of related activities to make their systems more robust.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

ShakeOut - a simulated Big One on the San Andreas fault

I have worked with colleagues to create a scientifically realistic great San Andreas fault earthquake, that is, a Big One. It has been a major effort, funded by the USGS Multi-Hazards Demonstration Project, to develop a detailed scenario including physical impacts and damages from the surface faulting and shaking caused by the earthquake. On November 13, 2008 quite likely the largest earthquake response exercise ever conducted in the USA will take place based on the ShakeOut earthquake scenario, as we call it. The idea of this is to achieve several things, including raising public awareness of earthquake hazards. Most importantly, I think, is that we will engage people in thinking about vulnerabilities we face as a society. Some of these vulnerabilities are relatively obvious, and yet would cost a lot to retrofit ahead of time. By discussing such issues with responsible organizations, we hope to motivate an even higher level of effort in capital investment in critical infrastructure. We hope to make southern California overall far more resilient, so that a future great earthquake need not be a catastrophe.