Exciting news! We're transitioning to the Statewide California Earthquake Center. Our new website is under construction, but we'll continue using this website for SCEC business in the meantime. We're also archiving the Southern Center site to preserve its rich history. A new and improved platform is coming soon!

From the Directors: Rolling Forward in the Fall


In This Issue (October 2021)

The Walker Lane: A Potential Target for SCEC Studies?

There is Plenty of Room in the Fault Zone!

The Salton Trough Collaboratory

Q&A with SCEC Annual Meeting Presenters

2021 Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills: Resources for Your Class, Office, or Home Drills!

Past Issues
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 2021 SCEC annual meeting was held remotely starting on the evening of Sunday, September 12, and running (with a Thursday break for Yom Kippur) through mid-day Friday, September 17. The annual meeting had plenary oral and poster sessions with the goal of illuminating research frontiers, exchanging information on progress and challenges across disciplines, and forging interdisciplinary research efforts. Among the highlights of the meeting were the SCEC Distinguished Lecture given by Kerry Sieh on “My Sojourn into and through Paleoseismology,” the highly effective and interactive poster sessions, and the steady stream of inspiring plenary talks featuring primarily early career scientists. The meeting managed to clear the very high bar set by the 2020 SCEC meeting (also remote), which was cited by many people as a highlight of the online meeting landscape so far. SCEC staff, particularly Tran Huynh and Edric Pauk, deserve the credit for the excellent infrastructure in the last two remote meetings. The success of the meetings is also a strong reflection of the community spirit of the SCEC collaboration. Often at the end of a long meeting there is diminished energy, but the energy and enthusiasm for the future at the end of the 2021 annual meeting were difficult to contain. It felt like the discussions would have gone on for at least another half day if we had the time. We need to harness that energy! 

SCEC 2021 Annual Meeting image

On February 1, 2022, the Center will enter a “bridge period”. It will do so with the support of a 6th year of funding from the National Science Foundation for SCEC5, and a (soon to be submitted) bridge proposal to the USGS to sustain new and ongoing efforts in earthquake science. What will the bridge period lead to? On Friday, October 1, NSF posted a solicitation for new centers under a new program in EAR, “Centers for Innovation and Community Engagement in Solid Earth Geohazards.” While there is inevitably some uncertainty associated with this process, the new solicitation provides exciting possibilities for moving to the next level, and we look forward to the opportunity of making the case for fundamental and applied research topics and educational activities in earthquake science. This effort will benefit from the excellent collection of white papers submitted by many in the community in response to the announcement of NSF on the re-competition process, and several documents prepared by committees that we established in 2020 and 2021 to explore different aspects of a future center.

In parallel with the process of developing structure and content for a new earthquake center, we will continue to operate SCEC5. The 2022 Science Plan seeks project proposals with a due date of November 23. It is through this mechanism that we recruit the science SCEC needs to reach our goals, and we anticipate a strong response from the community. The combination of continuing operations and formulating the scope and direction of the next center will require double duty from the Science Planning Committee, the Board of Directors, SCEC Staff, and the SCEC Community at large. We know that it’s a daunting amount of work, but we’ve done it before and look forward to doing it again.

Stay tuned for the Great ShakeOut exercise on October 21, 2021 (coordinated globally by the SCEC Communication, Education and Outreach team; see article in this newsletter for useful resources that may be used in your own drills), and several SCEC workshops in the coming months. 

Best wishes and regards,

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


Science Highlights

The Walker Lane: A Potential Target for SCEC Studies?

Studies outside Southern California proper can further our understanding of aspects of the earthquake process that are the grist for development of seismic hazard maps in Southern California. It is therefore natural that the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC) is considering expanding its geographic scope. The Walker Lane extending northward from the Eastern California Shear Zone (ECSZ) in the Mojave is part of the discussion. The newsletter is a fitting place to introduce aspects of the Walker Lane fault system to the unacquainted. The Walker Lane and ECSZ are characterized by numerous active faults, abundant seismicity, a history of large surface rupture earthquakes, and the potential to host more. 
[Read full article by Steven Wesnousky (UNR)]

There is Plenty of Room in the Fault Zone!

The internal structure of fault zones in the upper continental crust exhibits considerable complexity. Mature faults consist of several basic structural elements including: (i) A zone of concentrated shear, the fault core, which is often defined by the presence of extremely comminuted gouge; (ii) A damage zone, with the primary fault core centralized in or bordering that damage zone, in addition to a segmented network of several secondary cores within the damage zone. Damage zones display a greater intensity of deformation relative to the surrounding host rock, and contain features such as secondary faults and fractures, microfractures, folded strata, and comminuted grains; and (iii) host country rock with little or no damage.
[Read full article by Ahmed Elbanna, Mohamed Abdelmeguid, and Md Shumon Mia (UIUC)]

The Salton Trough Collaboratory

The Salton Trough, including its extension down into Baja California, is perhaps one of the best laboratories in the world to study transtensional fault interaction, fault zone architecture and damage zones, and paleoseismology, all components of understanding earthquake physics and the earthquake process itself. The region has a rich history of paleoseismic studies (see map) that encompass the entire southern San Andreas system, including the San Andreas, San Jacinto, Elsinore and Imperial faults. This is facilitated by the frequent presence of ancient Lake Cahuilla, which has filled to 13 m elevation six times in the past 1100 years.
[Read full article by Thomas Rockwell (SDSU)]

Q&A with SCEC Annual Meeting Presenters

The 2021 SCEC Annual Meeting (held online) was a phenomenal success with more than 800 registrants from 229 organizations worldwide! This included 216 first-time attendees, and 169 who have attended 10 or more Annual Meetings. Nearly half of the registrants were early-career researchers, several of which were featured as speakers during plenary sessions. Many attendees were also co-authors of the 267 posters presented.   

To provide additional background about several plenary session researchers and their presentations, we sent a few simple questions to several presenters.  Their responses and links to their presentations are below.
[Read full article by Mark Benthien (USC) and presenters]


Outreach Highlight

2021 Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills: Resources for Your Class, Office, or Home Drills!

SCEC's Communication, Education, and Outreach program has coordinated Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills since 2008, in partnership with local, national, and international colleagues and organizations as ShakeOut has expanded from southern California, across the U.S., and around the world. Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic required new guidance for how to practice earthquake safety, safely. Through collaborating with our partners and stakeholders, we developed special COVID-19 ShakeOut messaging, graphics, and other resources, hosted at ShakeOut.org/covid-19, which has been updated for 2021, along with many other resources.
[Read full article by Mark Benthien and Jason Ballmann (USC)]