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!
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SCEC Update

Date: 09/18/2023

Dear SCEC Community,

It’s been a while since our last communication. We have been hard at work and are now pleased to provide an update on recent developments and planned near-future activities. 

For over three decades, the Southern California Earthquake Center has used the San Andreas Fault system in Southern California as a natural laboratory to study fundamental and applied aspects of earthquake science. On September 8, NSF-EAR announced funding for a 3-year grant titled “Understanding the Coupled Evolution of Earthquakes, Faults, and Geohazards of the San Andreas Fault System”. The funding will support a transformation of SCEC to a new Statewide California Earthquake Center (same acronym), with an expansion of the focused natural laboratory to the natural boundaries of the Pacific-North America transform plate boundary. This expanded domain includes more diverse geology, as well as additional modes of tectonic deformation and slip, that bring with them important new research opportunities. The NSF project includes five Major Activities focusing on Earthquake System Science, Research Computing, Community Engagement, Workforce Development, and Planning & Evaluation. As a Statewide Center, a broader community of researchers will be encouraged to collaborate, opportunities for students and early career researchers will be emphasized, and millions more people at risk will benefit from our collective research.

The new Statewide Center will also be supported by the USGS and other sponsors and partners of SCEC including PG&E, FEMA, Cal OES, and the California Seismic Safety Commission. We are nearing the end of a 2-year USGS award and are working on a USGS proposal to sustain activities of the Statewide Center for another 2 years with a focus on applied earthquake science and hazards. Proposed activities will include hazard analysis through CyberShake simulations, Operational Earthquake Forecasting, the Earthquake Engineering Interface, and a range of studies needed to facilitate these and other activities. 

To aid the transformation of SCEC to a Statewide Center, we established three Task Forces to provide guidance on the following aspects: 1) Updating the Organizational Structure to reflect the five Major Activities included in the NSF-EAR project along with activities supported by other sponsors and partners. 2) Center-wide Science Planning to reflect basic and applied research topics with a focus on new opportunities, particularly in central and northern California and western Nevada. 3) Launching the New Center to initiate the Statewide center in a way that that builds on important strengths of SCEC1-SCEC5 while nucleating or deepening new Statewide partnerships. The work of these Task Forces is expected to continue until early 2024. 

We are pleased to share the further news that the CSSI program of NSF just funded a 5-year SCEC-SDSC project to develop a science gateway framework named Quakeworx. The key goal of Quakeworx is to deliver innovative service-oriented and easy-to-use cyberinfrastructure that will facilitate development, validation, application, and reproducibility of improved Earthquake Rupture Forecasts. Quakeworx will curate and seed leading simulation tools and the SCEC community models needed as input for the simulations, along with tools needed to analyze related simulation and observational results. The Quakeworx gateway will reduce barriers to the use of computational methods in earthquake research by simplifying access to compute and storage resources.

We just concluded another excellent annual meeting during September 10-12, with pre-meeting workshops of the Computational Infrastructure for Geodynamics (CIG) organization and the Rupture and Fault Zone Observatory (RuFZO) initiative. The annual meeting had about 375 participants including over 170 early career researchers and 35 international participants from 15 countries. The meeting had the usual blend of plenary and poster sessions on timely topics, with significant time for exchanges and interactions of the participants, and important illustrations of state-of-the-art focused and collaborative activities by the SCEC community. The talks given in the plenary sessions will be posted at the SCEC website soon. 

In a virtual meeting at the end of August, a 20th Anniversary celebration was held for the SCEC-led Earthquake Country Alliance (ECA), which has contributed significantly to improved community preparedness in California and around the world. The ECA activities are expected to move forward even more vigorously in the Statewide Center. SCEC also coordinates the annual Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills, coming up on October 19. The release of the Request For Proposals (RFP) for SCEC’s 2024 research core program will also be in October.

In closing we would like to remember the passing of important longtime members of the SCEC community including Dave Jackson who passed on March 30, 2023, Ilya Zaliapin who passed on May 2, 2023, and Yan Kagan who passed on June 28, 2022. All three were towering figures of statistical seismology and exceptional human beings. Their passing is a huge loss to those who knew them, to SCEC, and to the global earthquake community. 

Stay well and stay in touch,

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