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SCEC Science Planning Committee

The Science Planning Committee (SPC) is responsible for formulating the Center's science plan, conducting proposal reviews, and recommending to the Board of Directors an annual research program with a balanced portfolio of projects. Their objective is a coherent science program, consistent with SCEC's basic mission, institutional composition, and budget that achieves the Center's short-term objectives and long-term goals. The SPC consists of the leaders of the SCEC science working groups---disciplinary committees, focus groups, and special project groups---who, together with the Center Director, SPC Chair and Vice-Chair, guide SCEC's research program. A USGS Joint Planning Committee (JPC) participates in the annual science planning process and enables coordination between SCEC and USGS earthquake hazard studies.

Greg Beroza
Stanford, Chair

Judi Chester
TAMU, Vice-Chair

Tran Huynh
USC, Managing Coordinator

The SPC Chair and Co-Director (Greg Beroza, Stanford) and Vice Chair (Judi Chester, TAMU) provide leadership for the Center's annual scientific program, including the development of the SCEC annual meeting program and science plan, review all proposals submitted to SCEC, and preparation of annual reports to our agencies. Each year, the SPC Chair or Vice-Chair participates in the USGS External Research Program's southern California proposal review panel to coordinate activities between SCEC and USGS. The SPC is supported by a Managing Coordinator (Tran Huynh, USC), who manages, with input from the Directors, SPC, and sponsors, the allocation of resources for the Center's research program.  
 

Cliff Thurber
UW Madison, Co-Leader

Jamie Steidl
UCSB, Co-Leader

The Seismology disciplinary group gathers data on the range of seismic phenomena observed in southern California, develops improved techniques for extracting detailed and robust information from the data, and integrates the results into models of velocity structures, source properties and seismic hazard. The group fosters innovations in network deployments and data collection, especially those that fill important observational gaps, real-time research tools, and data processing. SCEC resources available include (a) the Southern California Earthquake Data Center (SCEDC) that provides extensive data on southern California earthquakes, as well as crustal and fault structure; (b) the network of SCEC-funded borehole instruments that record high quality reference ground motions; and (c) the pool of portable instruments operated in support of targeted deployments or aftershock response.  
 

Gareth Funning
UC Riverside, Co-Leader

Manoo Shirzaei
Virginia Tech, Co-Leader

The Tectonic Geodesy disciplinary group uses geodetic measurements of crustal deformation to understand the interseismic, coseismic, postseismic, and hydrologic processes associated with the earthquake cycle along the San Andreas Fault system. Their aim is to determine (1) how faults are loaded across temporal and spatial scales, and (2) what the role of off-fault inelastic deformation on strain accumulation, dynamic rupture, and radiated seismic energy. The group plays a role in earthquake monitoring and response, from tracking surface deformation changes that may precede or accompany induced seismicity, to measuring coseismic displacements and postseismic transients, either in near-real time for earthquake early warning or for post-earthquake rapid scientific response. They are also tasked with developing a SCEC Community Geodetic Model (CGM) for system-level analyses of earthquake processes over the full range of length and timescales.  
 

Mike Oskin
UC Davis, Co-Leader

Ashley Griffith
Ohio State, Co-Leader

The Earthquake Geology disciplinary group promotes studies of the geologic record of the Southern California natural laboratory that advance SCEC science. Its primary focus is on the Late Quaternary record of faulting and ground motion, including data gathering in response to major earthquakes. The group fosters research activities motivated by outstanding seismic hazard issues, understanding of the structural framework and earthquake history of faults in southern California, and contributes significant information to the statewide Unified Structural Representation and the SCEC Community Rheology Model (CRM). Collaborative proposals that cut across disciplinary boundaries are encouraged. They manage the SCEC geochronology infrastructure, which supports C-14 and cosmogenic dating for SCEC-funded research. The purpose of shared geochronology infrastructure is to allow flexibility in the number and type of dates applied to each SCEC funded project as investigations proceed.  
 

Ricardo Taborda
EAFIT, Co-Leader

Ahmed Elbanna
UIUC, Co-Leader

The Computational Science disciplinary group promotes the use of advanced numerical modeling techniques, data intensive (big-data) computing, and high performance computing (HPC) to address the emerging needs of SCEC users and the scientific community on a variety of computer systems, including HPC platforms. The group works with SCEC scientists across a wide range of topics to take advantage of the rapidly changing computer architectures and algorithms. The group engages and coordinates with national HPC labs, centers, and service providers in crosscutting efforts to enable large-scale and data-intensive computing milestones. They also encourage research that uses national supercomputing resources, and supports students from both geoscience and computer science backgrounds to develop skills in the area.  
 

Nadia Lapusta
Caltech, Co-Leader

Nick Beeler
USGS, Co-Leader

The Fault and Rupture Mechanics (FARM) focus group develops (a) constraints on the properties, conditions and physical processes that control faulting in the lithosphere over the entire range of pre-, co-, and post-seismic periods using field, laboratory, and theoretical studies; and (b) physics-based fault models applicable to various spatial and temporal scales, such as nucleation, propagation and arrest of dynamic rupture or long-term earthquake sequence simulations. This fundamental research aims to develop physics-based understanding of earthquakes in the Southern California fault system and contribute to SCEC hazards estimates such as the Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast (UCERF) and physics-based ground motion predictions.  
 

Roland Bürgmann
UC Berkeley, Co-Leader

Karen Luttrell
LSU, Co-Leader

The Stress and Deformation Over Time (SDOT) focus group aims to improve our understanding of how faults in the crust are loaded in the context of the wider lithospheric system. SDOT studies lithospheric processes on timescales from tens of millions of years to tens of years using the structure, geological history, and physical state of the southern California lithosphere as a natural laboratory. One objective is to characterize the present-day state of stress and deformation on crustal-scale faults and the lithosphere as a whole, and to tie this stress state to the long-term evolution of the lithospheric architecture through geodynamic modeling. Another central goal is to contribute to the development of a physics-based, probabilistic seismic hazard analysis for southern California by developing and applying system-wide deformation models.  
 

Max Werner
U Bristol, Co-Leader

Morgan Page
USGS, Co-Leader

The Earthquake Forecasting and Predictability (EFP) focus group coordinates five broad types of research projects: (a) the development of earthquake forecast methods, (b) the development of methods for evaluating the performance of earthquake forecasts, (c) expanding fundamental physical or statistical knowledge of earthquake processes relevant for forecasting, (d) the development and use of earthquake simulators to understand predictability in complex fault networks, and (e) fundamental understanding of the limits of earthquake predictability. Through the Collaboratory for the Study of Earthquake Predictability (CSEP) the group supports a wide range of scientific prediction experiments in multiple regional or global natural laboratories. A major focus of CSEP is to develop international collaborations between the regional testing centers and to accommodate a wide-ranging set of predictability experiments involving geographically distributed fault systems in different tectonic environments.  
 

Domniki Asimaki
Caltech, Co-Leader

Annemarie Baltay
USGS, Co-Leader

The primary goal of the Ground Motions (GM) focus group is to study the characteristics of ground motion data; understand and model the complex wave propagation mechanisms that give rise to these characteristics (e.g., nonlinearity, scattering effects); implement these models in physics-based ground motion simulation methodologies to predict strong-motion broadband waveforms and their effects (e.g., constitutive models for off-fault plasticity and permanent ground deformation); and validate the simulated time-series using ground motion data and their statistics. Both source and path characterization play a vital role in ground-motion prediction and are important areas of research. The group seeks to understand and simulate the conditions under which regional nonlinear effects can be captured by models, to ultimately produce simulated ground motions that are valid across a range of magnitudes, distances, and frequency bands, but especially for large magnitudes at close distances.  
 

Jon Stewart
UCLA, Co-Leader

Farzin Zareian
UC Irvine, Co-Leader

The Earthquake Engineering Implementation Interface (EEII) focus group provides the organizational structure for connecting SCEC scientists and research results with practicing engineers, government officials, business risk managers, and other professionals in order to improve application of earthquake science. These activities may include ground motion simulation validation, as well as the end-to-end analysis of structures and infrastructure systems. The group's goal of impacting engineering practice and large-scale risk assessments requires partnerships with the engineering and risk-modeling communities, and thus motivates the projects developed within SCEC. For example, the Committee for the Utilization of Ground Motion Simulations was formed to develop design spectra consistent with the building code requirements using a combination of the empirical approach and CyberShake simulations for the City of Los Angeles.  
 

Michele Cooke
UM Amherst, Co-Leader

Ramon Arrowsmith
ASU, Co-Leader

The San Andreas Fault System (SAFS) focus group aims to increase knowledge of slip rates, paleoearthquake ages, and slip distributions of past earthquakes, for the past two thousand years on the southern San Andreas fault system. From Parkfield to Bombay Beach, and including the San Jacinto fault, the objective is to obtain new data to clarify and refine relative hazard assessments for each potential source of a future 'Big One'. They develop projects within SCEC that are focused on the occurrence of large earthquakes along the San Andreas Fault system. Research includes projects that (a) collect and analyze data on the timing and size of large earthquakes on the SAFS and (b) investigate the features of the fault system that may halt or permit continued rupture. The second class of projects falls under the SCEC5 earthquake gates initiative, which is a multidisciplinary special fault study area effort that focuses on understanding conditional earthquake rupture processes.  
 

Scott Marshall
Appalachian State, Co-Leader

Elizabeth Hearn
Independent, Co-Leader

Laurent Montesi
U Maryland, Co-Leader

The SCEC Community Models (CXM) focus group develops, refines and integrates community models describing a wide range of features of the southern California lithosphere and asthenosphere. These features include: elastic and attenuation properties (Community Velocity Model, CVM), temperature (Community Thermal Model, CTM), rheology (Community Rheology Model, CRM), stress and stressing rate (Community Stress Model, CSM), deformation rate (Community Geodetic Model, CGM), and fault geometry (Community Fault Model, CFM). The goal of the CXM working group is to provide an internally consistent suite of models that can be used to simulate seismic phenomena in southern California.  
 

Christine Goulet
USC, Co-Leader

Philip Maechling
USC, Co-Leader

The Special Projects are represented by SCEC's Executive Director for Applied Science (Christine Goulet, USC) and Associate Director for Information Technology (Philip Maechling, USC). They coordinate activities within "special projects" with the Center's annual research program. SCEC special projects are partnerships in targeted earthquake topics not funded by NSF/USGS core cooperative agreements. They provide SCEC with additional financial, computing, data, and personnel resources through competitive NSF, DOE, NASA and FEMA program awards, through grants and gifts from foundations or other partnerships; and with HPC resources obtained through competitive USC, NSF, and DOE allocation processes. The SCEC Board of Directors in 2005 established the policy requiring that "the objectives of all SCEC special projects must be aligned with those of the SCEC core program and explicitly included as objectives in the SCEC Annual Science Plan."  
 

 

Proposals Due: November 15, 2021

The DRAFT 2022 Science Plan is available for comments until Sep 24, 2021. Contact the Science Planning Committee group leaders listed above for questions and/or comments. The final 2022 Science Plan will be announced mid-October 2021.

How to Participate in SCEC Research

SCEC is an open community that nurtures early-career scientists and shares information and ideas about earthquake system science. The Center's working groups, workshops, field activities, and annual meetings enable scientists to collaborate over sustained periods, building strong interpersonal networks that promote intellectual exchange and mutual support. Researchers with new hypotheses are brought together with others who have observational insights, modeling skills, and knowledge of statistical testing methods to more quickly advance earthquake science.

SCEC Annual Meetings and Workshops. At the annual collaboration meetings, the SCEC community gathers to share recent research results, review project progress, and plan priorities for SCEC. Participants include SCEC project teams, leadership, advisory groups, and staff, as well as sponsors who fund Center activities. Researchers working on topics relevant to SCEC are encouraged to engage with SCEC at the annual meeting. Potential academic, government, and industry partners connected with computational science, earthquake engineering research, risk communication and other practical applications of SCEC research are also welcome. Early career scientists and students make up >40% of participants. SCEC also organizes workshops to focus collaborative efforts to support the Center research program. Participants with ideas for interactive workshops that engage more than one focus and/or disciplinary science group are strongly encouraged to submit a proposal to the current SCEC Science Plan. See SCEC meetings and events for more information.

SCEC FUNDED PROJECTS
PAST SCIENCE PLANS

Annual SCEC Collaboration Plan. SCEC's research program is investigator-driven and open to anyone willing to submit a qualified proposal for peer review. Science funding (from multiple sponsors) is allocated through an annual planning process. A SCEC Science Plan is released each fall, which solicits proposals for research activities the following year. Proposals are evaluated based on: (a) scientific merit of the proposed research; (b) competence, diversity, career level, and performance of the investigators; (c) priority of the proposed project for short-term SCEC objectives; (d) promise of the proposed project for contributing to long-term SCEC goals; (e) commitment of the principal investigator and institution to the SCEC mission; (f) value of the proposed research relative to its cost; and (g) the need to achieve a balanced budget while maintaining a reasonable level of scientific continuity given funding limitations. With respect to criterion (b), improving the diversity of the SCEC community and supporting early-career scientists is a major goal of the Center. Every year, 150-175 proposals are submitted to SCEC. These projects involve over 200 distinct investigators and many more graduate students and other early career scientists. The SCEC Collaboration Plan is a portfolio of science projects funded each year to meet the Center's objectives. To submit a proposal to the SCEC research program, see the current SCEC Science Plan.

Technical Activities Groups (TAGs). Researchers are encouraged to self-organize into technical activity groups (TAGs) to solve specific specific research problems. TAGs share a modus operandi: defining "standard problems", developing solutions for these problems by different researchers using alternative algorithms or codes, and a common cyberspace for comparing solutions, and meetings to discuss discrepancies and potential improvements. The longest standing TAG is the SCEC/USGS spontaneous rupture code verification project (Harris et al., 2009) that continues to add to the suite of benchmark exercises for verifying dynamic rupture codes (Harris et al., 2018). Past SCEC TAGs have included the earthquake simulators comparison project (Tullis et al., 2012), the geodetic transient‐detection validation exercise (Lohman and Murray, 2013), special fault study areas in the Ventura Basin and San Gorgonio Pass (Cooke et al., 2018); and more recently research groups that perform ground motion simulation validations, promote the utilization of ground motion simulations, advance ​computational methods for simulating sequences of earthquakes and aseismic slip (Erickson et al., 2020), investigate the nonlinear effects in the shallow crust, and focus research on the Cajon Pass earthquake gate area.