USGS Evening Public Lecture Series
Current Season - 2018 Video Archive
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ShakeAlert: The Path to West Coast Earthquake Early Warning ... how a few seconds can save lives and property
by Douglas Given, USGS Earthquake Early Warning Coordinator
- The ShakeAlert earthquake early warning system will begin limited operations this year.
- Alerts could save lives and properties but several challenges remain.
- With millions at risk, why isn't full public alerting happening yet?
The USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory
Research, monitoring, and the science of preparing society for low-probability, high-consequence events
Seth Moran, Scientist-in-Charge, USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory
- Volcanoes in the Cascade Range erupt twice per century on average, with eruptions often lasting for years.
- Although eruptions are generally not as high-consequence as large earthquakes, they are still high-consequence events.
- When a volcano wakes up there can be intense public interest - which requires crisis management, even if the eruption is small.
Snow and Avalanche Science
Highlights of applied avalanche research and forecasting
Erich Peitzsch, USGS Physical Scientist
- Avalanches impact transportation corridors, with subsequent economic ramifications, including the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park.
- Large magnitude avalanches affect the landscape creating new habitat for flora and fauna.
- Dendrochronology (study of tree-rings) is used to develop an avalanche chronology and examine contributory climate and weather factors.
The Role of U.S. Coral Reefs in Coastal Protection
Rigorously valuing flood reduction benefits to inform coastal zone management decisions
Curt Storlazzi, USGS Research Geologist
- Coral reefs are a first line of coastal defense
- We can account for the physical defense that reefs provide
- We can provide value-based information to guide restoration efforts at management-relevant scales (10s of meters)
- We can direct ecosystems restoration efforts to reduce risk and increase the resiliency of coastal communities
Yes, Humans Really Are Causing Earthquakes!
How Energy Industry Practices are Causing Earthquakes in America's Heartland
Justin Rubinstein, USGS Research Geophysicist
- In every year since 2014, Oklahoma has had more earthquakes than California.
- Oil and gas operations are "inducing" these earthquakes.
- The earthquake rate has dropped by more than 50 percent due to changes in industry practices.
Iron Mountain, California: An Extreme Acid Mine Drainage Environment
Charles Alpers, USGS Research Chemist
- "The world's most acid water" -- explaining negative pH
- Colorful mineral salts that store metals and acidity in underground mine workings
- Microbial iron oxidation and formation of pipe scale in the water treatment system
- Challenges and successes of environmental remediation by USEPA's Superfund program
What on Earth is going on at Kilauea Volcano?
Kyle Anderson, USGS Research Geophysicist
- First significant summit explosions in nearly a century
- Largest summit collapse volume since at least 1800
- Voluminous fissure eruptions feeding channelized lava flow
- Unparalleled new opportunities for understanding the volcanic system
The 150th Anniversary of the Damaging 1868 Hayward Earthquake: Why It Matters and How We Can Prepare for Its Repeat
Tom Brocher, USGS Research Geophysicist
- The Hayward Fault in the heart of the Bay Area is one of the most urbanized faults in the US.
- Studies of the fault reveal that it has produced 12 large earthquakes in the past 2000 years spaced 100-220 years apart.
- There is nearly a 3 out of 4 chance of a damaging M6.7 earthquake in the SF Bay Area in the next 30 years.
- Updated building codes, building and home retrofits, planning, and training are necessary to mitigate earthquake effects.
Post-Fire Debris-Flow Early Warning: The case for forecast-based warning systems
Dennis M. Staley, USGS Landslide Hazards Program
- Post-fire debris flows can initiate after only a few minutes of intense rain, and during the first storm following wildfire.
- Early warning systems must provide sufficient time to make informed decisions and take reasonable preventative action.
- If you're relying upon real-time measurements of stream flow or rainfall in your watershed to decide when to take action, it is too late
- Measurements of debris flows are important for improving our understanding of these phenomena, but are of limited utility for early warning.
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