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January 10, 2005

UCSC experts to discuss recent earthquake and tsunami on Wednesday

By Tim Stephens

The Department of Earth Sciences invites the campus community to a discussion of the recent earthquake and tsunami in South Asia on Wednesday, January 12, at 12:30 in Room 152, Baskin Engineering Building.

Related information

• Acting Chancellor Martin M. Chemers announced formation of a committee to coordinate support for victims.

A computer simulation shows how the tsunami waves spread.

A special campus web site has been established with links to ways to help.

The event, titled "The Sumatran Tsunami: Cause, Effects, and Potential for Local Tsunami," will feature research geophysicist Steven Ward, an expert on tsunamis, and seismologists Thorne Lay and Susan Schwartz, both professors of Earth sciences with expertise on the causes and consequences of large earthquakes.

The South Asia disaster began with a magnitude 9.0 earthquake beneath the sea near Sumatra, triggering a tsunami that swept through the Indian Ocean and devastated coastal areas in a dozen countries. Ward has created a computer simulation showing how the tsunami waves spread out from the site of the earthquake. His expertise on the subject of tsunamis has led to numerous media interviews and appearances on local and national television programs, including Dateline NBC.

Photo: Tsunami receding

Waters receding from the tsunami
Photo courtesy of Digital Globe

Lay, director of the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics at UCSC, is an expert on earthquake seismology and the internal structure of the Earth. He has worked on the development of rapid analysis capabilities that allow fault geometries and rupture attributes to be determined very rapidly after an earthquake.

Schwartz, director of UCSC's Keck Seismology Laboratory and the Center for the Study of Imaging and the Dynamics of the Earth, is an expert on the use of regional seismic network data to learn about earthquake movements. Her research interests include the processes that generate earthquakes at subduction margins and the use of arrays of sensitive instruments to study seismogenic zones.

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