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Natural and Unnatural Earthquake Hazard in the Heartland

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Linda Hall Library

5109 Cherry Street

Kansas City, MO 64110

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The lecture

It has long been recognized that the North American mid-continent experiences infrequent but potentially large earthquakes. Because seismic waves travel especially efficiently in the region, large earthquakes moreover have an especially long reach compared to earthquakes of comparable magnitude in the west. The 1811-1812 New Madrid earthquake sequence, centered in the boot heel region of Missouri, has posed an especially enduring enigma, generating considerable lore and legend over the years. Since 2009 a new concern has emerged: the risk from so-called induced earthquakes associated with oil production and wastewater injection. In some regions, the numbers of induced earthquakes has far surpassed the number of natural earthquakes. High numbers of felt earthquakes in previously quiet areas has led naturally to concern about the possibility of a larger induced event than those yet seen. In this talk, Susan Hough will present an overview of our current understanding of hazards associated with both natural and unnatural earthquakes in the heartland.

The speaker

Susan Hough is a seismologist at the United States Geological Survey in Pasadena, California, and scientist-in-charge of the office. She has served as an editor and contributor for many journals and is a contributing editor to Geotimes Magazine. Dr. Hough has written numerous articles for mainstream publications such as the Los Angeles Times and she is the author of five books, including Earthshaking Science: What We Know (and Don’t Know) About Earthquakes. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley and is a University of California, San Diego alumna, earning her Ph.D. in geophysics from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

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Linda Hall Library

5109 Cherry Street

Kansas City, MO 64110

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