What's Shaking?
in the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program (EHP)

Stephen R. Walter
Associate Chief Scientist
Western Earthquake Hazards Team
U.S. Geological Survey

October 22, 2003

(MS Word)
Slides: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Related Websites:
About the Earthquake Hazards Program
USGS Earthquake Hazards Program
EHP, Northern California
National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program
Earth Science Week

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Steve's initial exposure to earthquake hazards came in 1980 following the Mt. St. Helens eruption when he worked the midnight shift monitoring seismicity on the volcano from the USGS field office in Seattle. After graduating with an MS in Marine Geology from the University of Washington in 1981, Steve worked for a summer on USGS seismic experiments at Mt. Shasta and Medicine Lake volcanoes. He joined the USGS in 1982 to lead the seismic monitoring of the northern California Cascade volcanoes where he was the first to recognize long-period "volcanic" earthquakes beneath the Lassen Peak and Medicine Lake volcanoes. When this project merged with the Northern California Seismic Network (NCSN) in the late 1980's, Steve's monitoring duties expanded to include the rest of northern and central California. He began using GIS in the early 1990's, publishing seismicity maps for the San Francisco, San Jose, and Santa Rosa quadrangles, and eventually managing the Earthquake Team's GIS lab. In 2001 he accepted the assignment of Chief Scientist for Operations for the team. Since 1986, Steve has shared the duty of "on-call seismologist", carrying a beeper and responding to "significant" earthquakes throughout northern and central California.

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The Earthquake Hazards Program (EHP) of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is part of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) led by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The USGS role in NEHRP is to provide Earth sciences information and products for earthquake loss reduction. The goals of the USGS earthquake program are:

1. Improve earthquake hazard identification and risk assessment methods and their use;

2. Maintain and improve comprehensive earthquake monitoring in the United States with focus on "real-time" systems in urban areas, and

3. Improve the understanding of earthquakes earthquake occurrence and their effects and consequences.

These goals represent the program priorities for the period 1999-2004. These goals are inextricably linked and form a tripod that supports earthquake loss reduction efforts. The effectiveness of each element is dependent on the other two.

These goals are consistent with Goals 1 and 2 of the Science Strategy of the Geologic Division of the USGS, 2000-2010 which are:

1. Conduct geologic hazard assessments for mitigation planning.

2. Provide short-term prediction of geologic disasters and rapidly characterize their effects.