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Exploring the Future of Earthquake Shaking and Impact Estimation*

David Wald, USGS

Event Details:

Wednesday, January 25, 2023
4:30pm - 6:30pm PST


Stanford University
Huack Auditorium, Joan and David Traitel Building
435 Lasuen Mall
Stanford, CA 94305
United States

This event is open to:

General Public

Reception in Traitel Pavilion at 3:30pm


Estimating impacts due to earthquakes—whether rapidly for emerging disasters or planning for future scenarios—entails the direct interface of seismological and civil engineering expertise and tools. Both endeavors require considering uncertain models and data since the main components of loss estimation—namely shaking, exposure, and vulnerabilities—entail inherent uncertainties. Since actionable response or planning requires confidence in our results, improvements in our loss calculations require continued collaboration. Fortunately, advancements in remote sensing, rapid in-situ monitoring and impact reporting, and machine learning allow for innovative data-fusion strategies that integrate with existing models and should significantly improve the accuracy and spatial resolution of rapid shaking and loss estimates. Some key contributing datasets, when integrated, could radically improve our loss estimate capabilities include better ShakeMap macroseismic constraints, global building footprints and inventories, Bayesian fatality updating based on early reporting, Structural Health Monitoring (SHM), and several other emerging technologies. Some of these same tools and strategies are also applicable for long-term loss and risk assessments. Wald’s William B. Joyner lecture features a combined seismological and earthquake engineering view of future earthquake response and recovery, where the initial impact estimates—as well as secondary hazards—are rapidly supplemented with crowd-sourced and remotely sensed observations that are integrated holistically for more a more accurate view of the consequences.

* Based on his William B. Joyner Lectureship awarded by the Seismological Society of America and the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute.


David Wald

David Wald a seismologist with USGS at the National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colorado. Wald leads development and operations of real-time information systems including ShakeMap, Did You Feel it?, PAGER, ShakeCast, and Ground Failure. David is currently the Editor-in-Chief of the EERI's journal Earthquake Spectra and is an Adjunct Professor in the Geophysics at the Colorado School of Mines. He was an IRIS/SSA Distinguished Lecturer and EERI’s Distinguished Lecture. He also served on the Board of Directors for both SSA and EERI and was the 2009 recipient of SSA’s Frank Press Public Service Award. In 2021, Wald was awarded the EERI-SSA Joyner Lectureship, an AGU Fellow, and received the USGS Shoemaker Lifetime Achievement Award in Communications, an award granted annually to a scientist who creates excitement and enthusiasm for science among non-scientists by using effective communication skills.

Wald earned his undergraduate degree in Geology and Physics at St. Lawrence University, and M.S. in Geophysics at the University of Arizona, and his Ph.D. in Geophysics from Caltech in 1993. Previously at Caltech, and now at the Colorado School of Mines, Wald has advised scores of post-doctoral, graduate, and undergraduate student research projects. His own scientific interests include a wide variety of earthquake applications including real-time monitoring, earthquake rupture processes, analysis of ground motion hazards and site effects, macroseismology, modeling earthquake-induced ground failure, citizen-seismology, and estimating human and economic losses.

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