Minutes of ANSS Pacific Northwest Regional Advisory Committee

12 July 2011, UW Club

Minutes prepared by Tom Yelin, USGS Seattle 

Meeting began at 11AM. The list of attendees is directly below.


RAC members in attendance:

C. B. Crouse, RAC Chair (URS Corporation)

Vicki McConnell (Oregon Dept. of Geology and Mineral Industries [DOGAMI]),

Tamara Biasco (FEMA Region X earthquake manager)

Tim Walsh (WA State DNR, Div. of Geology & Earth Resources)

John Schelling (WA State Emergency Management Division)

Nick Arcos (City of Bellevue)

Susan Chang (City of Seattle Planning & Development)

Bill Perkins (Shannon and Wilson)


PNSN and USGS scientists in attendance:

Art Frankel, Craig Weaver, Tom Yelin (all USGS)

Paul Bodin, Bill Steele, John Vidale (all UW/Pacific Northwest Seismic Network) 

John Vidale reviewed agenda and the reviewed recent history of PNSN.  John noted that on a national level ANSS is ~25% complete.

Possible action items for this committee to consider:  how to move toward earthquake early warning,  appropriate emphasis for ShakeCast,  next advances in strong motion monitoring,  priority to be accorded to GPS monitoring

There has been a significant global seismicity in the past 18 months.  John briefly reviewed things learned from the Haiti, Chile, Japan (Tohoku) and New Zealand earthquakes.

He reviewed the multitudinous PNSN funding sources, including one more year of NOAA/CREST funding in 2012 (~$75K) (CREST is an acronym for “Consolidated Reporting of Earthquakes and Tsunamis”).

UW budget – 9% cut to PNSN last year (2010) (~$46K out of $412K).  So far for this biennium, the PNSN has been protected from further cuts in the UW budget.

Non-PNSN station installations – NSF Cascadia Initiative.  ~25 onshore broad band + strong motion stations that could be purchased by PNSN for $500K.

ShakeCast pushes customized ground motion information to subscribers.  Progress has been slowed on PNW ShakeCast due to prioritization of resources for switching over to the AQMS seismic data acquisition system.

Bill says ShakeCast has been discussed with several western Washington cities and Puget Sound Energy, Washington Emergency Management Division and Microsoft

Wide-ranging discussion of GPS & EEW (earthquake early warning).  John Schelling said he thought that Roger Hansen is working on integration of GPS & seismic in Alaska. Paul said he would contact Roger.

Craig Weaver (USGS)

Briefed us on USGS reorganization.  Craig has been serving on the so-called “Science Strategy Planning Team” (SSPT), which is preparing a ten-year strategic plan for hazards activities in USGS.  The draft plan will be delivered in early August to David Applegate, the new USGS “hazard themes” coordinator.

The SSPT members traveled around the country and spoke with numerous users of USGS hazards research.  Users warned against USGS having too much breadth and not enough depth in the realm of hazards.

Craig urged people to review document when it comes out and send comments to:  conversation@usgs.gov.

If Bill Leith’s becomes senior scientist for earthquakes and the global seismic network, he will be lost to ANSS.  Leith’s leadership of ANSS will be missed. 

Vicki McConnell (DOGAMI)

Oregon has budget for next biennium.  DOGAMI survived.  Many budget readjustments.  18% cut in general fund contribution to DOGAMI and no more lottery funds will flow to DOGAMI.  LIDAR acquisition will continue.  Areas for focused data collection:   Mary’s River area, Burns-Malheur, Rouge River area.  Flood issues drove some of the choices.

Trenching on NW side of Mt. Hood guided by LIDAR.  Blue Ridge fault, in September.  NW-trending faults pointed at Bonneville Dam. 

Portland area multi-hazard project – some publications will be coming out this year.  – surficial mapping, bedrock mapping.

House Resolution 3 addresses mitigation, expresses good thoughts, less planning and no money.

Vicki testified to US House committee on earthquake hazards.  This committee is working on legislation for a NEHRP reauthorization.  Both House and Senate bills are still in committees.

The Oregon legislature authorized $7.5M of general obligation bonds for school retrofit.  However retrofit bonds are near the bottom of a bond priority list.

Rob Witter is moving from DOGAMI to Alaska USGS, thus DOGAMI will be looking for a “coastal geologist”.

John Schelling (WA Emergency Management Division)

Washington state seismic safety commission (SSC) activities – reinvigorated toward end of 2008 –

1)  Methodology for school building assessment – Aberdeen and Walla Walla school districts (SD’s) – SEAW did volunteer ASC 31 examinations on each building.  They won’t provide additional volunteer hours.  DNR did site characterizations, input this data into HAZUS, HAZUS results then used to create priority lists.  Glossy report with technical appendices for use by other SD’s will be released.

2)    Resiliency studies – modeled after a San Francisco study – they are aiming at a statewide resiliency study.

3)    Training for post earthquake damage assessment-  several sessions

  1. Reaching out to local communities about tsunami hazard and vertical evacuation possibilities.

Tim Walsh (WA DNR/DGER)

DNR fenced off Geology and Earth Resources from budget cuts this year, although budgets were severely cut in the recent past.  2 funded FTE’s were actually added.

Mapping along Hood Canal and southeastern South Whidbey Island Fault.  More characterization of ANSS strong motion instrumentation sites (~45 done in previous 2 years).   Tim says this year’s work is focused more on urban areas.

Perkins comments on site characterization:  Oregon has some downhole data that should be compared with results from surface methods.

Paul Bodin  PNSN network status

1.     Nine weeks to go on ARRA.  It will be done.

2.     Future of analog stations – input wanted from committee on this question.

3.     Having to prove we meet ANSS performance standards.

4.     Adoption of E. Wash. Network – more money but lots more responsibilities.

5.     Lack of representation from eastern Washington on the RAC.  Suggestions for new members?

Seattle liquefaction array – the end is in sight.  9 boreholes are completed and all conduit is laid and paved over.  All that remains is design and construction of power system for the array and installation of the sensors and completion of the telemetry system.

Collaboration with USGS National Strong Motion Program (NSMP)

Paul thinks the regional seismic networks will take over free field sites, NSMP will continue to be responsible for maintaining instrument networks in structures.

Quake Catcher Network  --  we are taking a wait and see attitude on this effort to use inexpensive accelerometer in laptops and desktops.  This idea has come out of Stanford University.

Policy question:  how many of ANSS (i.e., PNSN) resources should be used to pursue contributed data (e.g., data from organizations that purchase seismic instrumentation on their own and then ask that ANSS maintain it and receive and archive it).

Should ANSS standards be applied to these contributed data to decide if they are to be accepted?

What priority should be given to instruments on dams?


PNSN has deployed 57 Netquakes sensors.

Input from committee:

How much effort for further deployments?  Two important observations:

  1. They seem to be working pretty well; on occasion they have already provided good recordings of earthquakes as small as magnitude 3.

2.  Netquakes do not provide real time data.  They are generally not even available yet for the second iteration of Shakemap.

Vicki on Netquakes in Oregon

Oregon has been focused on large building instrumentation.  Netquakes is targeting an entirely different building population.

Possible action item:  establishment of Portland siting sub-committee.

Vidale – proposal to Moore Foundation for Earthquake Early Warning prototype

The Moore Foundation was created by Gordon Moore, the co-founder of Intel & the “Moore of Moore’s Law”, regarding computing capability as a function of time.

A 3 year/ $6M proposal from Caltech, UC Berkeley and the UW was solicited by the Moore Foundation and has been submitted.  Decision will be announced in August.

Do emergency managers want this early warning?  John Schellling notes legal questions and uncertainty that they would know what to do with it – does anyone know what to do with it?

Art Frankel

Topics Art reviewed:  Estimating hazard from CSZ and preliminary results on Tohoku earthquake of March 2011.

Report on workshop largely evaluating Chris Goldfinger’s results -- turbidite data and possible constraints on CSZ recurrence models from these data.

In March 2012 there will be regional Pacific Northwest workshop as part of the update process for the National Seismic Hazard map.

Craig suggests a brief overview of all the national issues at this workshop.

Action items

  1. Keep RAC informed of Moore Foundation result.
  2. Publicize roll out of new PNSN web site.
  3. Ask Vicki to help put together an Oregon instrumentation meeting

Update on Moore Foundation proposal 8-16-2011

A final decision on funding has been postponed to October, although review so far has been favorable.

At wrap-up, no urgent comments, suggestions, or requested were expressed.