Geology Lecture: Facts & Fake Facts: What Past Earthquakes Tell Us About Future Earthquake Hazards

earthquake road

Coos Bay, OR  –  Southwestern’s geology lecture series kicks off for 2019-20 when Dr. Susan Hough speaks on Friday, October 18, 2019 at 7:00 pm.  Dr. Hough will present a lecture on “Facts & Fake Facts: What Past Earthquakes Tell Us About Future Earthquake Hazard”.  Dr. Hough comes to Coos Bay as a distinguished lecturer Lectures Series. For nearly two decades, the IRIS/SSA lecture series has enabled world-renowned scientists to travel and speak to public audiences about cutting-edge earthquake and seismologic research.

Dr. Susan Hough graduated with a B.A. in Geophysics from UC Berkley and a Ph.D. in Earth Sciences from UC San Diego.  Since 1992 she has worked as a research geophysicist at the U.S. Geological Survey in Pasadena.  Her research interests include earthquake ground motions, induced earthquakes, historical earthquakes and seismic hazard.  She led deployments of portable seismometers following a number of damaging events including the 1989 Loma Prieta and 2010 Haiti earthquakes. Dr. Hough has co-authored over 120 articles, was elected a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, and is the President-Elect of the Seismological Society of America.  In addition to technical articles, she has a long-standing interest in science communication, authoring five books on earthquake science for a general audience as well as numerous popular articles.  She has also led USAID-supported capacity development projects in a number of countries including Nepal, Haiti and Myanmar.

Seismologists spend their lives working to understand earthquakes, including earthquakes caused by human activities, so that we can understand and mitigate the hazard they pose. Fortunately for us all, large earthquakes do not strike frequently in any one place. Many of the most important past earthquakes occurred before the invention of modern seismometers. To understand these events, scientists draw on sleuthing skills to explore all available sources of data. In this talk, Dr. Hough will describe some of the ingenious work that has been done to understand past earthquakes, and the lessons they can teach us about present-day earthquake hazard. She will also discuss evidence that, while earthquakes induced by wastewater injection appeared to be a new phenomenon, there is evidence that humans caused earthquakes in a number of places, including Oklahoma and Texas, as far back as the early 20th century.

Geology Lecture Series talks are free and are held in the Hales Center for the Performing Arts on Southwestern’s Coos Campus, 1988 Newmark Ave., Coos Bay.  For those not able to attend in person, all lectures are Livestreamed and archived, with access from the College's web site at

Additional talks in the series for this academic year include:  Dr. Artie Rogers (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) on “Forecasting Ground Shaking from Earthquakes Using Supercomputers” on November 8, 2019;  Dr. Sarah Minson (US Geological Survey) for The 15th Annual Cascadia Anniversary Lecture on “Imminent Shaking: What Kind of Earthquake Warning is Possible?” on January 24, 2020;  Dr. Scott Burns (Portland State University) discussing “Radon in Oregon” on March 13, 2020; Dr. Sean Davis (NOAA) on "Lessons at the School of Hard Knocks: From the Ozone Hole to Global Climate Change” on April 24, 2020; and Dr. Ginny Edgcomb (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute) an Ocean Drilling Program distinguished lecturer with “Life at the Edge of What is Possible: Microbial Biosignatures in the Lower Oceanic Crust” on May 17, 2020.  Lecture series sponsors include DB Western, The Mill Casino-Resort, IRIS/SSA, Ocean Discovery Lecture Series, the Southwestern Foundation, and the College.

For additional information, please contact Ron Metzger at 541-888-7216.