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Welcome to the 2010 Briefing Series for Members of Congress and Staff

This year's theme is "Start with Science"

Previous Congressional Briefings

Second in the 2010 series

Citizen Science and Earthquakes: Reducing the Risk with the Power of People

In the United States, 1 in 4 people live with the risk of earthquakes. The USGS and its partners are designing innovative tools to better detect quakes and share critical information. The involvement of citizens is key. Decisions made before and immediately after an earthquake can save many lives and protect property.

Date: May 21, 2010
Time: 10:00 a.m.

1334 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC


USGS identifierDavid Wald
U.S. Geological Survey

Magnusson Klemencic Associates logoJohn Hooper
Magnusson Klemencic Associates

Southern California Earthquake Center logo Mark Benthien
Southern California Earthquake Center



Video of the 2008 ShakeOut -- This film takes you on a visceral journey through the USGS ShakeOut Earthquake Scenario.

Citizen Science and Earthquakes: Reducing the Risk with the Power of People 
PDF (1.7 MB)
Congressional Sponsor: Hosted by: The following links leave the USGS site.

Speaker Biographies

David Wald is Seismologist with the U. S. Geological Survey in Golden, Colorado, and is on the Geophysics Faculty at the Colorado School of Mines. Wald is involved in management, operations, and development at the National Earthquake Information Center in Golden and the USGS Advanced National Seismic System. He developed and manages ShakeMap and “Did You Feel It?”, and continues development for ShakeCast, PAGER, the Earthquake Notification Service, and rapid finite-faulting modeling.

At the California Institute of Technology and the Colorado School of Mines, Wald has advised dozens of student research projects involving the rupture process from earthquakes using combined geodetic, teleseismic, and strong motion data; waveform modeling and inversion; analysis of their ground motion hazards; and earthquake source physics and loss modeling.

Wald earned his B.S. in Physics & Geology at St. Lawrence University in New York, his M.S. in Geophysics at the University of Arizona, and his Ph.D. in Geophysics from the California Institute of Technology. In addition, Wald has been the Seismological Society of America’s (SSA) Distinguished Lecturer, Associate Editor, and serves on the Society’s Board of Directors. He is an Editor for Earthquake Spectra. Most recently, Wald was awarded the SSA 2009 Frank Press Public Service award.

John Hooper is the Director of Earthquake Engineering at Magnusson Klemencic Associates, has 29 years of experience in seismic and renovation engineering and structural analysis. He is Chair of the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Seismic Subcommittee, member of the NEHRP Advisory Committee on Earthquake Hazards Reduction (ACEHR), and very involved with the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI), FEMA, and the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research (PEER) Center.

Through both his project and technical committee experience and his role as mentor of MKA’s Earthquake and Wind specialist groups, Hooper remains at the forefront of industry advancements and research, especially in seismic analysis, design, and retrofit. As a nationally recognized expert, he is frequently asked to give seminars on the 2006 and 2009 International Building Code and performancebased seismic design issues.

Hooper received his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Seattle University in 1981 and a Master of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley in 1984. In 2005, he was awarded the first James Merriam Delahay award by the National Council of Structural Engineers Associations; in 2008, he was recognized as “Engineer of the Year” by the Washington Society of Professional Engineers.

Mark Benthien is Director for Communication, Education and Outreach for the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC), headquartered at the University of Southern California (USC). Mr. Benthien received a Bachelor of Science degree in Geophysics from the University of California Los Angeles in 1995 and a Master of Public Policy degree from USC in 2003.

Mr. Benthien oversees the dissemination of earthquake knowledge to end-users and the general public by coordinating SCEC scientists and their partners, who include engineers, scientists, and government and business officials. He also works to increase earthquake knowledge and scientific literature at all educational levels, leading efforts to improve earthquake risk assessments and promoting earthquake preparedness, mitigation, and response and recovery planning.

Many of these efforts are in coordination with members of the Earthquake Country Alliance, a private-public partnership of organizations that provide earthquake information and services, for which Mr. Benthien serves as Executive Director. In this role he is the lead organizer of the Great California ShakeOut, a new annual earthquake drill with millions of participants throughout the state.

For information on the Briefing on Capitol Hill, please call 703-648-4455.

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