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UAF researchers show work at Seismological Society of America meeting

Fifteen people from the Geophysical Institute attended the annual meeting of the Seismological Society of America annual meeting in person in San Juan, Puerto Rico earlier this month.

The GI group, which included graduate students, gave several oral and poster presentations at the four-day meeting.

“The Seismological Society of America meeting is routinely a favorite of graduate students,” said Alaska Earthquake Center Director Michael West. “It is big enough to draw our entire field while still being accessible.”

“The society has existed for well over a century and offers a meaningful blend of leading edge fundamental research together with applications to reduce earthquake risk,” he said.

Research seismologist Ezgi Karasözen of the Alaska Earthquake Center and graduate student Liam Toney of the Alaska Volcano Observatory and Wilson Alaska Technical Center, along with Kate Allstadt of the U.S. Geological Survey, gave an oral presentation titled, “Detecting, Locating, Characterizing and Monitoring Non-earthquake Seismoacoustic Sources.”

Karasözen also presented a poster about the launch of the open-access journal Seismica. She has been involved in the creation of the journal, which opened for submissions in July 2022. The idea for the journal began in 2020 in response to steep increases in article processing charges at some journals.

Ph.D. student Sarah Noel gave an oral presentation about machine learning phase-detection algorithms, specifically the Earthquake Transformer algorithm as a third source of cataloging Alaska earthquakes.

Graduate student researcher Nealey Sims presented a poster about his work creating a high-resolution seismic catalog for the Minto Flats fault zone in central Alaska. The research provides the most complete catalog of activity in the Minto Flats fault zone from September 2014 to December 2019.

Postdoctoral fellow Julien Thurin gave an oral presentation about the seismic characterization of the explosive subevents of the January 2022 Hunga-Tonga volcanic eruption. His research suggests that the subevents were similar in nature and that they may aid in understanding the overall sequence of the massive eruption.

Thurin also presented the latest developments of MTUQ, an open-source python package for moment tensor estimation and uncertainty quantification in 1D and 3D Earth models. Thurin’s poster showcased recent applications of the code, including the result of a study of the Hunga-Tonga eruption.

Graduate student researcher Amanda McPherson’s poster presentation explained her research in creating a database that she then used to invert for the moment tensor solutions of 70 regional earthquakes in Alaska using the Python-based package MTUQ.

Postdoctoral fellow Yuan Tian gave an oral presentation about the seismic response of the Nenana Basin based on 3D seismic wavefield simulations of local and regional earthquakes. Knowing the seismic response of a sedimentary basin can aid in understanding active tectonics and in assessing seismic hazards.

Postdoctoral fellow Evans Onyango gave an oral presentation about the subduction zone interface of the southern 1964 Great Alaska Earthquake, which measured magnitude 9.2. He used data collected as part of the Alaska Amphibious Community Seismic Experiment in 2019.

West gave an oral presentation about the land, air and water signature of large calving events at Alaska’s Barry Glacier, located above the Barry Arm of Prince Willian Sound. 

Postdoctoral fellow Bryant Chow gave an oral presentation about his research into deformation and structure in northern Alaska. His work included the use of adjoint tomography, a seismic imaging method that generates high-resolution images of Earth structure.

Travel distance will be a little shorter next year. The 2024 annual meeting will be held April 23-27 in Anchorage. West and associate professor Carl Tape are the meeting’s co-chairs.


Rod Boyce, University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute, 907-474-7185,