Nevada M5.3 Earthquake Information

By Sarah Robinson |
Nevada M5.3 Earthquake Information
Image courtesy USGS

Magnitude: 5.3
Depth: 4 km

Date/Time: 2015-05-22 at 18:47:42.968 UTC; 2015-05-22 at 11:47:42.968 PDT
Location: 37.2842 ; -114.6545

At 11:47 on May 22, 2015 a M5.3 earthquake occurred 37 km SSW of Caliente, Nevada.

Despite the remote location of the epicenter, more than 1900 people in 116 zip codes and 3 states reported feeling weak to moderate shaking. Little to no damage is expected. So far there have been more than 10 aftershocks, the largest of which was a M3.4. This is the strongest on-land earthquake in the US so far this year.
Nevada has a history of large earthquakes, including a M7.2 near Cedar Mountain in 1932, a M7.1 near Fairview Peak in 1954 and a M6.0 near Wells, NV in 2008. For more information on the earthquake history of Nevada please visit the USGS page on Nevada earthquakes 
Additional Links:

Congrats to the EarthScope Geochronology Student Research Award winners!

By Sarah Robinson |
Congrats to the EarthScope Geochronology Student Research Award winners!
Wendy Bohon does geochronology processing for 10Be CRN samples at PrimeLab

The EarthScope AGeS (Awards for Geochronology Student Research) program is a multi-year educational initiative aimed at enhancing interdisciplinary, innovative, and high-impact science by promoting training, education, and interaction between graduate students, scientists, and geochronology labs at different institutions. The program offers support of up to $10,000 for graduate students to collect and interpret geochronology data that contribute to EarthScope science targets through visits and hands-on data acquisition in participating geochronology labs.

This year the award was highly competitive with 47 entries, and 10 winners were selected. The 2015 winners have been announced and are listed below. Congratulations! We are looking forward to seeing the results of your work.

Mariana Bonich, Syracuse University

Developing novel methods to link source rock to sediment sink: overcoming the 'stepladder effect'

This work addresses the possibility that whole rock analyses of clastic rocks may be a poor proxy for determining the composition of source rocks due to mineral sorting during transport. The researcher will use Sr isotopic composition coupled with U-Th/(He) dating of detrital apatites to examine sedimentary source to sink patterns.

 Aaron Bufe, University of California Santa Barbara

Investigating deformation in the wake of the Yellowstone hotspot using markers along the Snake River

This work aims to bridge the gap between decadal and millenial scale studies of hotspot geodynamics, in this case of the Yellowstone Hotspot. The researcher will use OSL data collected from terraces along the Snake River in combination with geomorphic analyses to estimate deformation and incision rates along the Snake River Plain. 

 Jaime Delano, Western Washington University

Understanding earthquake-cycle contributions to uplift and incision of the southern Olympic Mountains, WA

Using OSL and high resolution lidar, this study will examine the relationship between the deformation caused by the megathrust earthquake cycle and the longer term deformation recorded in the landscape. This will lend insight into the processes that control topographic development above active subduction zones.

Shelby Fredrickson, University of California Santa Barbara

A geomorphic investigation of the tectonic transition between the Santa Barbara and Ventura folds belts near Rincon Point, California

The goal of this work is to characterize the pattern of deformation between the slowly uplifting Santa Barbara fold belt and rapidly uplifting Venture fold belt in Southern California. Using OSL and variety of topographic analysis techniques the researcher will try to determine the nature of the transition between these two systems and lend insight into other related tectonic questions.

Victor Guevara, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Durations and rates of Archaen high temperature metamorphic implications for continental stabilization and early Earth tectonics

This work hopes to uncover the mechanisms and timescales responsible for the formation of high- to ultra-high temperature metamorphic rocks in the Pikwitonel Granulite Domain found within the Superior Craton by using U-Pb and trace element geochemistry of zircon and monazite coupled with geodynamic modeling. This work will contribute to our understanding of continental evolution, assembly and stability.

Sean Kinney, Columbia University

Re-evaluating the White Mountain magma series through high-precision zircon U-Pb geochronology and trace element geochemistry

Using zircon U-Pb measurements from ID-TIMS, this researcher will constrain the age of the White Mountain Magma Series (WMS). The high precision measurements will offer insight into the timing and geodyanmic setting of magamtic emplacement of the WMS which will  provide insight into the tectonic evolution of the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province.

Stephen Nguyen, Texas Tech University

Is there evidence in the magmatic record from a high-standing plateau in the Great Basin?

The goals of this work are to use zircon and monazite U-(Th)-Pb ages coupled with trace element geochemistry to determine if there is evidence for thermal metamorphism and partial melting in the East Humbolt Range, and to examine the possibility of a temporal change in magamatic source. This data will enrich the general understanding of deep crustal processes in the region and may lend insight into the sustaining mechanism for the "Nevadaplano".

Barbara Ratschbacher, University of Southern California

Timescales of shallow-level pluton construction via fractionation and cyrstal-melt separation - implications for the volcanic-plutonic connection and upper crustal differentiation

Using ID-TIMS-TEA to precisely measure U-Pb in zircons from the Guadalupe Intrusive Complex, this researcher will examine the timescale of the production of silicic magma from mafic parent melt by in-situ fractionation and crystal melt separation. This work can improve the understanding of crustal differentiation, volcanic-plutonic connections and the rate of crustal growth.

Trevor Waldien, University of California, Davis

Neogene deformation at a Mesozoic terrane margin in the eastern Alaska Range, Alaska

Apatite (U-Th)/He cooling ages will help to constrain fault kinematics along the Broxson Gulch fault in the Alaska Range. These data will test the hypothesis that thrusting on this fault system contributed to Neogene crustal thickening in the region.

Randolph Williams, University of Wisconsin - Madison

Dating using the diagenetic record of the earthquake cycle, Loma Blanca Fault Zone, Socorro Basin, NM

This research will address fluid flux and the rate of fracture sealing within faults by utilizing U-series dating of the calcite cements formed within the Loma Blanca fault zone, Socorro Basin, NM. These data will constrain the recurrance and timing of fault slip and fracture formation as well as the rate and duration of diagentic sealing of the fracture.

Nepal Earthquake Information

By Sarah Robinson |
Nepal Earthquake Information
Image courtesy of the BBC.

Information on M7.2 earthquake in Nepal, May 12, 2015

The M7.2 earthquake in Nepal on May 12, 2015 was located 76 km east of Kathmandu close to the Chinese border. You can see in this image courtesy of the USGS that the location of the epicenter of this earthquake was hundreds of kilometers away from the April 25, 2015 earthquake.



Here is a list of helpful links on the event. We will be adding more links relating to this event soon as more information becomes available.


Here is the IRIS Ground Motion Visualization for the M7.2 event. The visualization shows EarthScope seismic stations picking up the seismic waves generated from the earthquake. Red stations mean the station is moving up vertically and blue means the station is moving down vertically. The waving lines show the direction that the station is moving. The seismogram at the bottom of the visualization shows data from the station circled in yellow. For more information visit the IRIS ground motion visualization page. For more Ground Motion Visualizations, click here.


Information on M7.9 earthquake in Nepal, April 25, 2015

The M7.9 earthquake in Nepal on April 25, 2015 caused significant damage in and around Kathmandu. Here is a list of helpful links on the event.


Here is the IRIS Ground Motion Visualization for the M7.9 event. The visualization shows EarthScope seismic stations picking up the seismic waves generated from the earthquake. Red stations mean the station is moving up vertically and blue means the station is moving down vertically. For more information visit the IRIS ground motion visualization page. For more Ground Motion Visualizations, click here.

Community Workshop Emphasizes Importance of PBO after EarthScope

By Sarah Robinson |

In September of 2014, a community workshop sponsored by the National Science Foundation titled "The Future of PBO in the GAGE Facility (2013-2018) and after EarthScope" was held in Breckenridge, Colorado. The workshop allowed 69 individuals to participant in the three-day workshop and included 42 scientists at academic institutions, including all four members of the organizing committee and the PIs of the workshop proposal, five USGS staff, including the Program Officer for Volcano Hazards, the NSF EarthScope and SAGE Facility Program Officer, four representatives from state departments of transportation or the state spatial reference networks, 15 UNAVCO technical and 2 UNAVCO support staff. The objectives for the workshop were to initiate community discussion into how best to position PBO to support priority science topics and education and outreach within the context of current and likely future budgetary scenarios.

The workshop included several keynote presentations, and participants were asked to submit a 500 word abstract to define goals and priorities related to the future of PBO. UNAVCO staff provided extensive backup materials for the workshop participants and gave several brief presentations related to current status of the EarthScope PBO. The bulk of the workshop was organized around scientific and technical breakout sessions. The first breakout session was entitled “Identify key values and scientific priorities for immediate and longer term future,” with three working groups: 1) Interseismic deformation and long-term-tectonics; 2) Earthquake processes and aseismic deformation; and 3) Other observations and data products from PBO. The second breakout session built upon the results of the first, and was entitled “Plan and scenario development: Optimizing infrastructure and data products for scientific priorities; alternative revenue streams; implementation.” This breakout session also featured three working groups: 1) Sensors and instrument clusters; 2) Coordination with key stakeholders; and 3) Data products: tools, users, and uses. All working group reports are available on the workshop website.

For more information about the workshop, view the workshop final report (PDF).

Amphibious Array Workshop Emphasizes Importance of Amphibious Science in Report

By Sarah Robinson |
Amphibious Array Workshop Emphasizes Importance of Amphibious Science in Report
Year 3 Amphibious Array deployment in Cascadia.

In October 2014, nearly 90 scientists gathered in Snowbird, Utah to evaluate the ongoing deployment of the Amphibious Array Facilities (AAF) and to chart potential future directions for the array. The AAF were built to resolve critical issues related to the better understanding of coastline systems and their tectonic hazard. These hazards include tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and landslides along coastlines that are often populated. A seismic and geodetic array consisting of 27 broadband onshore seismographs, 60 new broadband ocean-bottom seismographs (OBSs), and upgrades to 232 GPS EarthScope sites was initially deployed across the Cascadia margin of Washington, Oregon, and Northern California. 

The workshop identified three major systems, building on recent EarthScope and GeoPRISMS Science Plans: (1) Subduction Factory and Magma Volatiles, (2) Passive Margins and Transform Faults, and (3) Seismogenic Processes at Subduction Margins. The workshop highlighted the many successes of the Amphibious Array deployment so far, and identified several potential future targets for Amphibious Array deployment including the Alaska-Aleutian subduction system, the eastern North American passive margin, and the California transform system. Overall, additional deployments of the Amphibious Array Facilities were seen as having tremendous potential for significant discovery and should be enabled. 

For more information, read the complete Amphibious Array Facility Workshop Report.

EarthScope at the 2014 AGU meeting

By Sarah Robinson |
EarthScope at the 2014 AGU meeting
EarthScope Town Hall at AGU

A big thanks to all who came to the EarthScope Town Hall at AGU this year! As usual EarthScope had a booth presence in addition to over 150 EarthScope-related talks and posters. The EarthScope National Office chaired an education-related poster session on Tuesday afternoon of the AGU week that featured outreach efforts from EarthScope researchers and educators.

>>> Continue reading "EarthScope at the 2014 AGU meeting"

EarthScope Scientists Identify New Seismic Zone Near Illinois-Missouri Border

By Sarah Robinson |
EarthScope Scientists Identify New Seismic Zone Near Illinois-Missouri Border
In this figure, the dots mark the epicenters of earthquakes of magnitude 2.0 or greater between January 1974 and December 2013. The stars mark the epicenters of earthquakes of magnitude 5.0 or greater since 1800. Geological structures identified in the figure include the Ste. Genevieve, New Madrid and Wabash Valley seismic areas, Illinois Basin, Ozark Dome (OD) and Reelfoot Rift (RR).

EarthScope's Ozark, Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky (OIINK) experiment using Flexible Array seismometers to study the structure and evolution of the mid-continent in a region centered on the Illinois Basin has been receiving quite a bit of media attention over the discovery of a new seismic zone near St. Louis, Missouri. Check out the Indiana University news release, along with the St. Louis Public Radio interview with Gary Pavlis (the lead Indiana University Principle Investigator).

OIINK is a collaborative project involving Indiana University, Purdue University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the Illinois State Geological Survey and Indiana Geological Survey.