UW News

March 7, 2002

Earthquake expert to speak

Hiroo Kanamori, one of the world’s most respected seismologists and a scientist who helped define the seismic threat to the Puget Sound region, will speak at the UW next week.

Kanamori, a geophysics professor at the California Institute of Technology, will present the Mindlin Lecture at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 13, in 120 Kane. The UW Department of Earth and Space Sciences sponsors the lecture, which is free and open to the public.

His visit comes shortly after the first anniversary of the Nisqually earthquake, but he will discuss the fact that a much more damaging earthquake on the Cascadia Subduction Zone could lie ahead.

While the existence of the subduction zone was recognized much earlier, Kanamori’s work in the 1980s first quantified the size and likelihood of a future earthquake there. The subduction zone, which lies off the coast of Washington, Oregon and northern California, is where the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate dives beneath the North American plate on which this region sits.

He will review the progress that has been made in understanding the basic physics of earthquakes that allows seismologists to anticipate long-term seismic activity and the resulting damage in order to devise response plans.