Special Interest Groups

SSA 2022 offers eight Special Interest Group meetings (SIGs). All are free to attend with meeting registration, but RSVP is required.

The SIG schedule will be announced February 2022. Attendees may RSVP beginning March 2022.


50-State Update of the USGS National Seismic Hazard Models Open Discussion

The National Seismic Hazard Model Project invites open discussion following the 50-State Update of the USGS National Seismic Hazard Models Technical Session.

Conveners: Sanaz Rezaeian, U.S. Geological Survey; Allison M. Shumway, U.S. Geological Survey


Future of Seismic Infrastructure, Invitation for Early Collaborative Efforts Both On Land and Offshore

The goal of this SIG is to provide a forum for the community to discuss longer term monitoring and science goals for future innovations and advancements for seismic and related networks. We invite contributions from all monitoring and science communities including global, regional, local and focused monitoring (such as geothermal or CO2 sequestration). Possible topics include instrumentation, station and network design, data handling, diagnostics and opportunities for synergies among a variety of subfields of geophysics. Identifying and applying best practices for investment and operation of large scientific facilities will lead to infrastructure investments that serve to achieve a project’s immediate scientific goals, while also facilitating any future transition to longer-term operations and monitoring. We hope to provide an opportunity to discuss ideas regarding next generation arrays utilizing new technologies including DAS, deep boreholes, low Earth orbit telemetry, long term broadband OBS, dual use dedicated oceanic observatory cables and telecom SMART cable proposals. 

Conveners: Emily L. Wolin, U.S. Geological Survey; Tim Parker, Nanometrics, Inc., Robert Mellors, University of California, San Diego


Ground Motion Simulation Validation (GMSV)

Simulated ground motions can advance seismic hazard and structural response analyses, particularly for conditions with limited recorded ground motions, such as large magnitude earthquakes at short source-to-site distances. Rigorous validation of simulated ground motions is required before regulatory bodies, practicing engineers or hazard analysts can be confident in their use. A decade ago, validation exercises were mainly limited to comparisons of simulated to observed waveforms and median values of spectral accelerations. In 2011, we formed the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC) Ground Motion Simulation Validation (GMSV) group to increase coordination among simulation modelers and research engineers with the aim of devising and applying effective methods for simulation validation. In this special interest group, we intend to review the lessons learned from the past decade of GMSV exercises in order to define a path forward for validation of simulated ground motions. Some of the key lessons learned by our GMSV group are that validation is application specific, our outreach and communication must be improved and much research remains unexplored.

Purpose: To bring together simulation modelers and research engineers at the 2022 SSA Annual Meeting, to reflect on the last decade of GMSV research and development and to look towards the future to establish a vision for future GMSV. Our aims are to: (1) identify the most significant insights and technical developments that have proven to have lasting value; (2) based on our successes, but also on those efforts that may not have borne fruit, consider what we could have done better; and (3) discuss where do we want to be in 10 years and what research themes need to be explored to get us there.

Conveners: Sanaz Rezaeian, U.S. Geological Survey; Christine Goulet, University of Southern California; Jonathan Stewart, University of California, Los Angeles; Nicolas Luco, U.S. Geological Survey


Is the Southern Cascadia Region Different? Known Unknowns, Unknown Unknowns and What to Do about Them

The southern Cascadia subduction zone differs from the rest of Cascadia, with much higher intraplate seismicity and complex interactions with the Mendocino and San Andreas faults at the triple junction. There are gaps in our knowledge about the tectonics of the region and the transition into the Juan de Fuca region to the north. These unknowns may affect hazard assessment and contribute to differences in how Washington, Oregon and California address tsunami and seismic hazards. New geologic and geophysical data being collected by the U.S. Geological Survey and other academic groups sheds light on these questions. Now, fiber optic infrastructure being developed both on and offshore in Humboldt County, CA, and other prospective offshore commercial projects such as a wind farm, may provide additional opportunities for innovative investigations.

In this Special Interest Group meeting, we invite you to discuss the most important open questions about Southern Cascadia, and to brainstorm ideas about the instrumentation and the scientific opportunities these projects may provide and how they could integrate with other ongoing and new investigations.

Conveners: Jason R. Patton, California Department of Conservation; Lori A. Dengler, Humboldt State University; Peggy Hellweg, University of California, Berkeley; Robert McPherson, Humboldt State University; Rick Wilson; California Department of Conservation


Latest Seismological and Geodetic Data and Results from Onshore-Offshore Southern Alaska

This brief meeting will provide an opportunity for scientists to exchange ideas, initial findings, and establish new collaborations with those who have been working with the Alaska Amphibious Community Seismic Experiment (AACSE) and related efforts. A sequence of M>7 and M>8 earthquakes in 2020 and 2021 ruptured portions of the plate boundary sampled by AACSE shortly after the 2018-2019 dataset was released, raising interest in this already-valuable dataset. A number of projects using these data are underway. This SIG will give an opportunity for scientists studying the Alaska subduction zone to summarize their efforts and to highlight new datasets, such as those generated by the rapid response to the Chignik 2021 M8.2 earthquake and potential future observation programs. The SIG will include a few invited overview talks of recent efforts, lightning talks by any attendees and discussion.

Conveners: Geoff Abers, Cornell University; Donna Shillington, Northern Arizona University; Peter Haeussler U.S. Geological Survey, Anchorage


Modeling of Seismic Site Amplification using AI

The accurate modeling of the effects of near-surface earth structures on earthquake-induced ground motions (referred to as “site effects”, “site response” or simply “site amplification”) remains elusive in seismic hazard and/or risk analyses. Though the physics governing the main aspects of site amplification is relatively well understood, site amplification is too complex to be fully described by a set of differential equations under certain initial conditions. Therefore, some have resorted to artificial intelligence (AI) techniques, especially as AI has successfully solved numerous changeling tasks in other scientific disciplines, e.g., image recognition and protein structure prediction. Application of AI in amplification modelling is further fueled by the rapidly growing number of seismic stations with multiple earthquake observations, which provide a large set of labeled samples. Furthermore, the rapid growth in computational resources facilitates large-scale and collaborative AI-enabled scientific discoveries suitable for complex problems.  

However, existing investigations using AI in site amplification are somehow fragmented. Different teams prepare their own datasets for training, validation and testing, and adopt different metrics to judge the performance of their models. This makes it difficult to directly compare the effectiveness of different algorithms and identify the best approach, discounting these great efforts in using AI to predict earthquake site amplification. Thus, a highly-quality benchmark ground-truth data set is needed such that various AI models can be readily benchmarked, and the current best practice can be easily identified and improved on, potentially leading to a breakthrough on this topic. Such a need also accentuates the importance of discussion to adopt data-sharing policies within the community to increase transparency and consistency of AI models.  

We hope to discuss within the Special Interest Group (SIG) about the current hurdles prohibiting a potential breakthrough in accurate amplification modelling using AI. For instance, how could we directly compare the performance of different AI models? What evaluation metric shall we adopt and report? In addition, we aim to debate the open-ended challenges of data-driven scientific discovery through the lens of AI. For example, how can we Interpret AI models to deduce insights that complement our understanding of site amplification? This session shall be of interest to experts specializing in site-specific and regional amplification predictions, (near) real-time ground-motion intensity mapping and its cascading effects (landslides, ground liquefaction and subsidence). 

Conveners: Chuanbin Zhu, GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences; Mohsen Zaker Esteghamati, Virginia Tech; Weiwei Zhan, Tufts University


Role of Seismic Networks in Monitoring Climate Change

Climate change is a major challenge for society now and in the future. Permanent seismic networks (global, regional and local) have collected decades of data that may help understand how the climate has changed and the resulting effects. Innovative studies have used seismic data to estimate ocean temperature, track glacier motion and calving and to estimate the effect of climate change on seismic noise. Many questions remain and include: 

  1. How to enhance connections between seismologists and climate researchers?
  2. How can archived (digital and analog) seismic data be better used for climate research and what improvements might be made to enhance use?
  3. How can current data collection be modified to increase potential use? This might include new station locations or upgraded instrumentation at existing stations for example.
  4. What new technologies might be applicable?

Coveners: Rob Mellors, University of California, San Diego; Wenbo Wu, Caltech; Rick Aster, Colorado State University


SOS (Save Old Seismograms)

A Save Our Seismograms Special Interest Group held during the 2021 SSA meeting was extremely well attended and we seek to build on the momentum generated by it. Although we will use this opportunity to introduce the issues surrounding legacy data to those not yet familiar with them, the focus will be on providing updates on progress since the 2021 meeting and to solicit input from the legacy community regarding future directions, priorities and strategies.   

Analog seismograms, spanning an era of more than a century, comprise a vast and largely untapped data source, one that is increasingly at risk. Although many seismograms have been lost to natural causes as well as willful destruction, there are still many millions of records in existence. All of these are at risk from deterioration and many from pressures related to storage space and its associated costs. These data sets are not only hard to access but require innovative approaches to perform any type of modern seismic analysis. To unlock their potential, these records and their associated metadata must be scanned and digitized. Strategies must be developed for standards for both the waveforms and the associated metadata as well as for data sharing. Digitized legacy seismograms have the potential to enable discoveries in many fields beyond the reanalysis of historical earthquakes. As this data set is rediscovered, researchers have successfully adapted and applied techniques developed for use with digital data to legacy data.   

Conveners: Allison Bent, Natural Resources Canada; Lorraine Hwang, University of California, Davis; Peggy Hellweg, University of California, Berkeley

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