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Geophysics Seminar - David Wald "Citizen Science and Macroseismic Intensity in Earthquake Research, Engineering, & Risk Assessment," USGS

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David Wald is a seismologist with USGS at the National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colorado. Wald leads development and operations of real-time information systems including ShakeMap, Did You Feel it?, PAGER, ShakeCast, and Ground Failure. David is currently the Editor-in-Chief of the EERI's journal Earthquake Spectra and is an Adjunct Professor in the Geophysics at the Colorado School of Mines. He was an IRIS/SSA Distinguished Lecturer and EERI’s Distinguished Lecture. He also served on the Board of Directors for both SSA and EERI and was the 2009 recipient of SSA’s Frank Press Public Service Award. In 2021, Wald was awarded the EERI-SSA Joyner Lectureship, an AGU Fellow, and received the USGS Shoemaker Lifetime Achievement Award in Communications, an award granted annually to a scientist who creates excitement and enthusiasm for science among non-scientists by using effective communication skills.

Wald earned his undergraduate degree in Geology and Physics at St. Lawrence University, and M.S. in Geophysics at the University of Arizona, and his Ph.D. in Geophysics from Caltech in 1993. Previously at Caltech, and now at the Colorado School of Mines, Wald has advised scores of post-doctoral, graduate, and undergraduate student research projects. His own scientific interests include a wide variety of earthquake applications including real-time monitoring, earthquake rupture processes, analysis of ground motion hazards and site effects, macroseismology, modeling earthquake-induced ground failure, citizen-seismology, and estimating human and economic losses.



Macroseismic intensity observations and analyses connect our collective seismological past with the present—and the present to the future—by facilitating hazard estimates and communicating the effects of shaking to a wide variety of audiences across the ages. Traditional macroseismic surveys are now supplemented by citizen-science-based intensity observations, greatly expanding datasets that now provide vital constraints on critical aspects of earthquakes and their impacts on society, including real-time earthquake situational awareness and response. In this presentation I expand on USGS’ continuing development of near-real-time earthquake information systems that depend on macroseismology. I also examine the wide range of other uses of intensity data, in essence, connecting earthquake science, earthquake engineering, and loss and risk analyses. These important uses require us to revisit traditional macroseismic scales in a modern context, standardize internet-based collection strategies, and assure compatibility of these alternative approaches of macroseismic data collection.


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