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Opening Ceremony and Welcome Reception

Monday, May 14 from 5–7:30 PM
We are looking forward to welcoming you to our Seismology of the Americas conference.

SSA Awards Ceremony

Tuesday, May 15 from 12–2 PM

Special Interest Group: Articulating the Mission of State and Regional Earthquake Centers

Tuesday, May 15 from 6 – 7 PM

We invite participation in this brief meeting from anyone interested in the capabilities and future directions of state and regional earthquake facilities. The meeting will build on the ideas and content of the technical session Regional Seismic Network Approaches and Stakeholder Collaborations. By identifying common themes across organizations, our goal is to help articulate the importance and common needs of these facilities. The exact outcomes will be determined by the attendees, but potential directions include summary publications, organized advocacy and frameworks for closer collaboration. While the emphasis of this meeting is on U.S. organizations, we welcome the experience and input of international colleagues.

We encourage you to join us and lend your voice. Light refreshments will be served.

Conveners: Michael West, Kristine Pankow, Margaret Hellweg and Aaron Velasco


Mentoring Breakfast for Early-Career and Student Attendees

Wednesday, May 16 from 7–8:15 AM
Back by popular demand! Are you an early-career or student attendee? Join seasoned professionals of seismology for a social breakfast on Wednesday morning. This is your time to ask questions, discuss your research and network!

William B. Joyner Memorial Lecture: Ellen M. Rathje

Wednesday, May 16 from 5:30–6:30 PM
University of Texas at Austin Professor Ellen M. Rathje has been selected as the 2018 recipient of the William B. Joyner Lecture Award. Rathje is the Warren S. Bellows Centennial Professor in the Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering and also a Senior Research Scientist at the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas at Austin.

In her nomination for the award, Rathje was commended for her leadership across many aspects of earthquake research, as well as her impactful investigations of earthquake-induced landslides and ground failure, site response and damage patterns for earthquakes around the world, including Haiti, New Zealand, Turkey and the United States.

To read more about Professor Rathje and the Joyner Lecturer Award, please visit our website.

LACSC-SSA Reception

Wednesday, May 16 from 6:30–8 PM

LACSC Business Meeting

Wednesday, May 16 from 8–9 PM

Women in Seismology Reception

Wednesday, May 16 from 8–9:30 PM
Join us for an hour of networking at our inaugural Women in Seismology reception!

LACSC-SSA Thursday Evening Celebration Cruise

Thursday, May 17, early evening
Join us for a 90-minute cruise along the Biscayne Bay: open bar, light refreshments and plenty of good music and cheer. The 111-foot yacht docks right at the hotel, steps from our meeting rooms. Board at approximately 5:30 PM and return by 8 PM, in time for dinner in Miami!

Lightning Talks

Tuesday, May 15 from 6–7 PM
Join us for an evening of Lightning Talks: quick, five-minute presentations of 20 slides or fewer.

  • Earthquake-Induced Gravity Changes Heralding the Arrival of the Direct Seismic Waves, Martin Vallée, Institut de Physique Du Globe de Paris
    • After an earthquake, the earliest deformation signals are not expected to be carried by the fastest (P) elastic waves but by the speed-of-light changes of the gravitational field. The observations of these weak signals, and their full understanding, would provide a new data type with a strong potential for a rapid estimate of the earthquake magnitude. We show here that gravity perturbations are particularly well observed with broadband seismometers at distances between 1000 and 2000 kilometers from the source of the 2011, moment magnitude 9.1, Tohoku earthquake. We can accurately model them by a new formalism, taking into account both the gravity changes and the gravity-induced motion. These prompt elasto-gravity signals open the window for minute time-scale magnitude determination for great earthquakes, in particular in places where good-quality broadband seismometers are installed in front of the megathrust area, at distances ranging from a few hundreds to a few thousands of kilometers. In North America, the seismic monitoring of both the Cascadia and Alaska subduction zones would benefit from the early detection of such gravity changes.
  • Volcanic Thunder from Explosive Eruptions at Bogoslof Volcano, Alaska, Matthew Haney, AVO – US Geological Survey
    • Infrasound observations of volcanic thunder from the recent eruption of Bogoslof volcano in Alaska are the first documented observations of volcanic thunder, which is thunder due to lightning occurring in a volcanic ash plume. Detection of volcanic lightning on global lightning location networks is a new technique used for real-time alerts of eruptive activity at volcanoes. It’s especially useful for volcanoes in remote regions and contains information on the dynamics of volcanic plumes. The ability to observe volcanic thunder offers a new window into the physical process of volcanic lightning generation. This Lightning Talk on lightning itself (in addition to thunder) from volcanoes focuses on volcanic lightning from eruptions for non-experts, with exciting visual displays of the phenomenon and a discussion of the new volcanic thunder observations.
  • Similar Seismicity at Turrialba and Poas, Costa Rica: What Can It Tell Us?, Rebecca Salvage, Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica
    • Seismicity in volcanic settings is thought to be related to a number of physical processes at depth, including the migration of magmatic fluids and fracturing of the conduit itself. In addition to this, seismicity can also be generated by surface processes such as pyroclastic flows and rockfall events. The extreme variety of seismic signals generated in volcanic settings is a reflection of the number of different processes and the great structural heterogeneities found in this context. I will present an introduction to seismicity in volcanic settings from an Observatory perspective including: the types of seismicity observed; the ways in which we characterise seismic events; how seismicity can help us distinguish different ongoing processes at depth; and forecasting volcanic eruptions using seismicity. I will focus upon seismicity at active volcanoes in Costa Rica (Turrialba, Poas, Rincon de la Vieja, Irazu and Arenal), and how it is at the forefront of monitoring and determining changes in volcanic activity, in particular in real time and during crisis events.
  • Heliotrope: A DIY Free Flying Infrasound Sensor Network, Daniel C. Bowman, Sandia National Laboratories
    • The focus of this talk: the world’s first free flying infrasound network in the stratosphere, with sensors built from open source Arduino hardware and the balloons constructed from materials purchased at the local hardware store
  • Geodesy and Seismogeodesy for Hazards in the Americas, Linda Rowan and Beth Bartel, UNAVCO
    • Significant portions of the west coasts of the Americas are bordered by major subduction zones that can produce large earthquakes, volcanic unrest and devastating tsunamis. The Caribbean is the focus of complex plate tectonics and complex weather patterns and this complexity can lead to significant natural hazards affecting people, places and property. UNAVCO with support from NSF and in partnership with many governments and institutions in the Americas operates and maintains a Network of the Americas (NOTA) – a geodetic, seismogeodetic and meteorologic network spanning North, Central and South America plus the Caribbean. Research has shown that NOTA can help with severe weather forecasts, hurricane tracking, earthquake early warning, tsunami early warning and monitoring volcanic unrest or landslides. Here we will discuss efforts to integrate geodetic and seismogeodetic observations into hazard preparedness, warning and response. There is a critical need to apply the infrastructure, data and research to the appropriate and authoritative systems for forecasts, warning and response for damaging hazards in different countries and through international collaborations.
  • Drilling Through the Seismogenic Zone of Large Megathrust Earthquakes: an on-land Opportunity in Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica, Marino Protti, Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica
    • A great opportunity exists in Osa peninsula, Costa Rica, to drill and instrument a locked segment of the Middle America Subduction Zone, where the plate interface beneath the peninsula is only 4 to 8 km deep.
  • The Canadian Cordillera Array: Towards a Multi-Disciplinary Geoscience Program for Canada, Tim Parker, Nanometrics
    • The Canadian Cordillera Array (CCArray) is an initiative to install a Cordilleran-scale open-data network with the goal of holistically examining the Earth system from the core to the magnetosphere. Building on the scientific momentum of previous Earth systems research and data acquisition initiatives in North America (e.g. Lithoprobe (1984 to 2004) and EarthScope (2004 to ~2018 or later)), the vision for CCArray is to install a network of multidisciplinary telemetered observatories. The core CCArray network is envisaged to include broadband seismometers (including ocean bottom seismometers in the Beaufort Sea and offshore British Columbia) and Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receivers. Additional instrumentation and measurements at selected locations could include meteorological and atmospheric gas sensors, borehole temperature and moisture sensors, riometers and magnetometers, relative and absolute gravity measurements. Education-outreach- communication programs will be integral to CCArray. While some instruments may only be in place for up to three years, some techniques, such as GNSS monitoring of crustal motions, require longer operational times. The intention is to continue operation of some stations to densify long-term monitoring across Canada. CCArray represents the initial component of an envisaged future pan-Canadian Earth observation network called Earth-system Observing Network – Réseau d’Observation du Système TerrestrE (EON-ROSE).
  • Updates on the Finite-Fault Rupture Detector Algorithm (Finder v.2), Deborah E. Smith, US Geological Survey
    • The Finite-Fault Rupture Detector (FinDer) algorithm determines a real-time line-source model that is best suited to explain current spatial ground-motion patterns observed at any given time in a dense seismic network.
  • Performance of the Seismic Early Warning System during the Mexico September Earthquakes, Gerardo Suarez, Instituto de Geofísica, UNAM
    • The Mexican seismic early warning system was the first to begin issuing open and public warnings. In September, Mexico suffered two large magnitude earthquakes that are relatively unusual from a tectonic point of view. The warning time available in Mexico for these two events was very different. The 8 September M8.2 event offered almost two minutes of warning to Mexico City. In contrast, strong motion shaking of the destructive 19 September event (M7.1) arrived almost simultaneously to the emission of the alert. These two sharply contrasting events offer a useful lesson to future efforts to install seismic early warning systems. I believe that future seismic early warning systems should learn from this experience. The lessons are both technical, in terms the algorithms used and the station spacing and the resulting time that is necessary to issue an early warning. Secondly, the experience of these two large earthquakes underscores the need to accompany the technical developments with a social and governmental programs and plans to make use of the seismic early warnings.

  • Small Town Geoscientist, Scientific Outreach for Better Communities in Colombia, Albert Aguilar, Universidad Nacional de Colombia
    • What do the Armero, Chinchiná and Florencia tragedies have in common? We had the geological knowledge to prevent most of the losses. The Armenia 1999, Páez 1994 and Popayán 1983 earthquakes although small in magnitude (6.1 Mw, 6.8 Mw and 5.5 Mw respectively) are the greatest and most destructive in the recent history of Colombia producing thousands of casualties. The Geological Society of Colombia together with other student and professional associations are carrying out a project to put an earth scientist in every town in Colombia so as to help advance risk mitigation not only associated to earthquakes but also to landslides, flooding and climate change in order to prevent those catastrophes from happening again. We show the major scientific and political challenges of providing communities the geological, geophysical and seismological knowledge in a country where science seems to be considered secondary by the government.