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Disciplinary Groups

The SCEC organization comprises a number of disciplinary groups, interdisciplinary focus groups, special project teams, and technical activity groups (Figure 2.1). The Center supports disciplinary science through standing committees in Seismology, Tectonic Geodesy, and Earthquake Geology (green boxes). A new disciplinary committee in Computational Science has been added for SCEC4. They are responsible for disciplinary activities relevant to the SCEC Science Collaboration Plan, and they make recommendations to the Science Planning Committee regarding the support of disciplinary research and infrastructure.

Interdisciplinary Focus Groups

SCEC coordinates earthquake system science through interdisciplinary focus groups (yellow boxes). Four of these groups existed in SCEC3: Unified Structural Representation (USR), Fault and Rupture Mechanics (FARM), Earthquake Forecasting and Predictability (EFP), and Ground Motion Prediction (GMP). The Southern San Andreas Fault Evaluation (SoSAFE) project, funded by the USGS Multi-Hazards Demonstration Project for the last four years, has been transformed into a standing interdisciplinary focus group to coordinate research on the San Andreas and the San Jacinto master faults. A new focus group called Stress and Deformation Over Time (SDOT) has merged the activities of two SCEC3 focus groups, Crustal Deformation Modeling and Lithospheric Architecture and Dynamics. Research in seismic hazard and risk analysis is being bolstered through a reconstituted Earthquake Engineering Implementation Interface (orange box) that includes educational as well as research partnerships with practicing engineers, geotechnical consultants, building officials, emergency managers, financial institutions, and insurers.

Special Projects

Special Projects and Initiatives are organized around large-scale projects funded through special grants outside of the NSF-USGS cooperative agreements that support the SCEC base program, but have synergistic goals and are aligned with the overall SCEC research program priorities. The current Special Projects teams include Working Group on California Earthquake Probabilities (WGCEP), the Collaboratory for the Study of Earthquake Predictability (CSEP), the Community Modeling Environment (CME), the Virtual Institute for the Study of Earthquake Systems (VISES), and the Central California Seismic Project (CCSP).

Technical Activity Groups

SCEC sponsors Technical Activity Groups (TAGs), which self-organize to develop and test critical methodologies for solving specific problems. TAGs have formed to verify the complex computer calculations needed for wave propagation and dynamic rupture problems, to assess the accuracy and resolving power of source inversions, and to develop geodetic transient detectors and earthquake simulators. TAGs share a modus operandi: the posing of well-defined “standard problems”, solution of these problems by different researchers using alternative algorithms or codes, a common cyberspace for comparing solutions, and meetings to discuss discrepancies and potential improvements. There are currently five active TAGs: Ground Motion Simulation Validation (GMSV), Aseismic Transient Detection, Source Inversion Validation (SIV), Dynamic Rupture Code Validation, and Earthquake Simulators.

Communication, Education, and Outreach

SCEC’s Communication, Education, and Outreach (CEO) program facilitates learning, teaching, and application of earthquake research. In addition, SCEC/CEO has a global public safety role in line with the third element of SCEC’s mission: “Communicate understanding of earthquake phenomena to end-users and society at large as useful knowledge for reducing earthquake risk and improving community resilience.” The theme of the CEO program during SCEC4 has been Creating an Earthquake and Tsunami Resilient California. However, since 2012, our geographic reach has been expanded far beyond the Golden State. The goal is to prepare individuals and organizations for making decisions about how to respond appropriately to changing seismic and related hazards, including tsunami warnings and new technologies such as operational earthquake forecasting and earthquake early warning.

SCEC CEO is organized into four interconnected focus areas:

  1. The Implementation Interface connects SCEC scientists with partners in earthquake engineering research, and communicates with and trains practicing engineers and other professionals.
  2. The Public Education and Preparedness thrust area educates people of all ages about earthquakes, and motivates them to become prepared.
  3. The K-14 Earthquake Education Initiative seeks to improve earth science education and school earthquake safety.
  4. Finally, the Experiential Learning and Career Advancement program provides research opportunities, networking, and more to encourage and sustain careers in science and engineering.

Past Projects and Working Groups

End-to-End (“Rupture-to-Rafters”) Simulation
Extreme Ground Motions (EXGM)
Petascale Cyberfacility for Physics-Based Seismic Hazard Analysis (PetaSHA)
Advancement of Cyberinfrastructure Careers through Earthquake System Science (ACCESS)
Community Deformation Model (CDM)
Lithospheric Architecture and Dynamics (LAD)
Seismic Hazard and Risk Reduction (SHRA)
SCEC Phase III Report
Borderland Working Group
National Partnerships through Earthscope