Archives for March 2014

California Earthquake Clearinghouse Workshop for First Responder Agencies

Location: Oakland, California


Event info:


NRC Community Workshop on Liquefaction

Location: Tempe, Arizona, USA


Event Info:


David Wald to Deliver 2014 EERI Distinguished Lecture

David Wald (M. EERI, 1988), USGS seismologist and Colorado School of Mines adjunct professor, will deliver the 2014 EERI Distinguished Lecture, “Challenges in Estimating Real-time Earthquake Shaking & Impact,” at the Tenth U.S. National Conference on Earthquake Engineering (10NCEE) to be held July 21–25 in Anchorage, Alaska.

David WaldWald has been a pioneer in developing tools, such as “Did You Feel It?,” Shake Map, and ShakeCast, that serve a broad audience including first responders, government officials, utilities, earth scientists, and engineers. More than 70,000 individuals receive ShakeMap alerts in California, Washington, Utah, Hawaii, Nevada, and Alaska.

Wald and Paul Earle developed PAGER (Prompt Assessment of Global Earthquakes for Response), which estimates the number of people subjected to levels of ground shaking within 30 minutes of an earthquake anywhere around the globe. The PAGER report also provides a simplified color coded alert related to the level of the catastrophe using the Earthquake Impact Scale (EIS). This advancement has enabled humanitarian organizations to provide quick and appropriate responses to disasters.

Wald earned a Ph.D. from Caltech after which he worked as a National Research Council postdoctoral research associate, 1993-1995. Wald’s experience also includes a position at the USGS in Pasadena, both as a seismologist and visiting associate faculty at Caltech, and a consulting seismologist with Woodward-Clyde Consultants in Pasadena, 1986-1988. He is an excellent speaker and often appears on television in news broadcasts or specials produced by the History Channel, the Learning Channel, PBS, and others to discuss earthquakes, earthquake ground motions, hazards, and damage.

Dr. Wald’s groundbreaking work will fit with the “Frontiers of Earthquake Engineering” theme of the 10NCEE in Alaska. His ability to address the needs of many audiences means that he is able to create a talk with broad appeal. His innovative use of technology to address challenging problems will interest students who are truly immersed in the information age.

Abstract: “Challenges in Estimating Real-time Earthquake Shaking & Impact” Lecture

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has developed several near-real time earthquake information systems that provide rapid and automated alerting of estimated economic and human impacts following earthquakes. In this talk I describe the four components that rapidly assess an earthquake’s impact. First, earthquakes trigger rapid source characterization; second, these source parameters help inform our estimates of shaking-distribution (ShakeMap). Third, losses are modeled by computing populations exposed per shaking intensity level, and country-specific loss functions are used to provide estimates of economic impact and potential casualties (PAGER). Finally, these uncertain loss estimates are communicated in an appropriate form for actionable decision-making among a variety of users.

Several aspects of our problem cannot yet be adequately solved with purely empirical or solely mechanistic approaches. The “physics-based” model components are essential for informing empirical loss models where they are data-limited, and for providing a framework for better understanding the causative pathways that dominate earthquake losses. In the course of explaining the end-to-end strategies and science/engineering we employ, I describe the pragmatic choices made in balancing the uncertainties in and benefits provided by our empirical and physical models. Recognizing and reconciling the complimentary benefits of data-driven versus theoretical problem solving is at the core of our end-to-end earthquake hazard and loss estimates, as it is for a wide variety of other challenges within the earth and engineering sciences.

EERI student chapters will be sent a survey later this year where they can make a request for Dr. David Wald’s presentation of his Distinguished Lecture at their school. Other groups who would like to make this request should contact the EERI office at and 510-451-0905.

Note: See the full list of 2014 EERI Award Recipients at In the next issue of The Pulse, we will feature the 2014 William B. Joyner Lecturer.

Register Today for 10NCEE and Scenic Technical Tours

Register today for the Tenth U.S. National Conference on Earthquake Engineering (10NCEE) being held this July in Anchorage, Alaska. For the latest 10NCEE information about Travel Grants, Travel and Lodging, Pre-Conference Events, Thursday Evening at the Alaska Native Heritage Center, and Paper Acceptances, visit the 10NCEE website at

Technical Tours

Alaska fjordThe Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) and the local 10NCEE organizing committee have planned a number of technical tours for conference participants (listed below). For up-to-date information about technical tours, visit the 10NCEE website at

Full Day Tour: The Mountains and Glaciers of Turnagain Arm and Portage Valley
Date: Monday, July 21, 2014
Time: Depart Anchorage Hilton lobby at 8:00 a.m. and return at approximately 3:00 p.m.
Enjoy a trip back in time exploring the impacts of the 1964 earthquake that are still visible along Turnagain Arm. Before the conference gets going, enjoy a trip traveling through Girdwood and Portage.
Trip Leaders: local experts

Half Day Tour: Hatcher Pass and Tsunami Warning Center
Date: Friday, July 25, 2014
Time: Depart Dena’ina Conference Convention Center at 1:45 p.m. and return to the Anchorage Hilton Lobby at approximately 7:30 p.m.
Following the final 10NCEE presentations, a tour will head north to the Matanuska-Susitna Valley and discuss examples of local damage from the 1964 earthquake. Explore earthquakes and tsunamis in Alaska and beyond at the West Coast & Alaska Tsunami Warning Center.
Trip Leaders: local experts

4-Day Tour: Active Faults and Seismic Hazards in Central Alaska
Date: Saturday, July 26 to Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Time: Depart Anchorage Hilton lobby at 8:00 a.m. Saturday, July 26. Return to Anchorage Tuesday evening, July 29, around 5:00 p.m. As we cannot guarantee the return time of the field trip to Anchorage, please plan on staying in Anchorage on Tuesday night, July 29 (at your own expense).
The route provides memorable views of the Susitna Basin, Alaska Range, Denali National Park, Tanana Valley, Copper River Basin, and the Wrangell Mountains, some of the most dramatic landscapes in the world. (*This trip is dependent on a minimum number of participants. If this quota is not reached by March 15, 2014, the trip will be cancelled and money will be refunded.)
Trip Leaders: Dr. Gary Carver (M. EERI, 2008), Dr. Richard Koehler, Dr. Sean Bemis, and Dr. Douglas Nyman (M. EERI, 1975)

Register today for 10NCEE at! We hope to see you in Anchorage this summer.

Welcome New EERI Subscribing Member: Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers

Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers (MRCE) logoEERI would like to take this opportunity to announce new Bronze Subscribing Member: Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers.

Sissy Nikolaou (P.E., Ph.D.),  MRCE Senior AssociateMueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers (MRCE), founded in 1910 in New York City, is the first firm in the United States to combine a geotechnical specialty with structural foundation design engineering. Today MRCE remains a leader in the field they pioneered, providing structural design of foundations and waterfront structures and complete geotechnical studies. By combining geotechnical engineering with structural foundation design engineering, MRCE specializes in complicated sites, especially in urban areas.

Visit the MRCE website at external link icon.


To view the full list of EERI Subscribing Members, visit:

Become an EERI Subscribing Member Today
If you would like to learn more about how your company can become an EERI Subscribing Member and support the Institute’s mission and programs, visit the EERI website at

EERI Team to Study Indicators of Recovery in New Zealand

An EERI team is convening in New Zealand this month to observe and understand how stakeholders in the country are measuring, monitoring, and acting upon data-driven indicators of recovery after the Canterbury earthquakes. The team will spend time in Christchurch and Wellington to meet with New Zealand experts about the collection and management of data, including its usefulness; data exchangeability; and limitations for measuring and monitoring all aspects of recovery from the Canterbury earthquake sequence.

Christchurch, New Zealand (2011). Photo by Justin Marshall.The EERI New Zealand team is being led by Scott Miles (M. EERI, 2009), Western Washington University, and includes Chris Poland (M. EERI, 1998), Degenkolb Engineers; Liesel Ritchie (M. EERI, 2012), Natural Hazards Center; Yu Xiao (M. EERI, 2011), Texas A&M University; and Nick Hedley (M. EERI, 2014), Simon Fraser University. The group will be looking at all aspects of the recovery and the team members bring a wide range of expertise including: structural engineering, sociology, social capital, well-being, urban planning, economic development, recovery financing, geography, spatial data, data synthesis, crowd-sourcing and “informal” data, lifelines, urban developments, and schools.

The trip is the first case study as part of an NSF-funded project, “Seismic Observatory for Community Resilience — A Program to Learn from Earthquakes.” The project will help EERI understand the infrastructure necessary to facilitate measuring and monitoring recovery after future earthquakes. The final outcome of the project will be a guideline for establishing a “resilience observatory” after a disaster that includes guidance on how EERI can work with local agencies to help establish these observatories.

Opportunity to Serve on EERI Project Advisory Committees

EERI is currently recruiting members for new advisory committees that are being formed to provide guidance for two projects—the Concrete Coalition and the California Earthquake Clearinghouse. The advisory committees will help EERI staff set priorities for these two projects and provide guidance as the projects move forward. If you are interested in serving on either of these advisory committees, please complete the online survey by March 10, 2014 at external link icon. A few more details on each project follow.

The Concrete Coalition
India JaiswalThis project has been underway for several years. In an earlier phase, the focus was on conducting inventories of older concrete buildings in California cities. A database of damaged concrete buildings was developed in a later phase at In a most recent phase, the focus has been on developing a website and online tool kits that can help governments understand options for dealing with the most vulnerable of these buildings. In addition, volunteers have explored techniques to categorize buildings using photos and Google Earth. More information about the project and its phases is available at

The advisory committee will meet via conference call no more than monthly. There may be one face-to-face meeting early in the year. EERI members who are interested in older concrete buildings, both in terms of improving the understanding of their vulnerability and in helping develop policy options, are encouraged to apply.

The California Clearinghouse
California Earthquake Clearinghouse (EERI)EERI has received funding from this project from the USGS for several years. EERI is one of 5 managing partners of the Clearinghouse, along with the California Geological Survey, the USGS, the California Office of Emergency Services, and the California Seismic Safety Commission. Recent activities have centered on developing working relationships with many state, local, and federal agencies and on using the UICDS technology to transfer data among interested organizations.

EERI would like to create an advisory committee for this project that will focus specifically on EERI’s role after a future damaging earthquake. What are the data collection tools that are most useful for EERI members, what type of training needs to be developed, how will EERI contribute information to emergency responders, what are the options for long-term storage of data collected at the Clearinghouse, etc.

While the focus of this committee will be on California, many of these issues are directly applicable to EERI’s reconnaissance mission in other states. Thus not all committee members need to be based in California.

The advisory committee will meet via conference call no more than monthly. There may be one face-to-face meeting early in the year. EERI members who are interested in earthquake reconnaissance protocols, data collection tools, data display, and data management options are encouraged to apply.

California Earthquake Clearinghouse Workshop for First Responder Agencies

The California Earthquake Clearinghouse and its partners are hosting a one-day workshop for local first responder agencies on April 17, 2014 in Oakland, CA. The workshop offers a hands-on technology interchange opportunity. The goal of the workshop is to introduce local (city/county) First Responder agencies to tools for sharing spatial incident response information using the technologies that have been demonstrated in our Clearinghouse exercises.

California Earthquake Clearinghouse (EERI)The morning will include introductions to and demonstrations of a suite of data collections and sharing tools, and the afternoon will provide attendees the opportunity to use the tools to view and share data-related relevant use cases, e.g., major earthquakes. The workshop will be followed by a networking reception. There is no cost to attend the meeting and the workshop will also be broadcast online for those unable to attend in person.

To receive more details about the workshop as they become available, please sign up through the Clearinghouse website at