Past IDS Activities

2013 July 26–27: ALMAS Meeting

Points of contact from member institutions of the Alliance for Middle America Seismology (ALMAS) were invited to attend the student presentations on the concluding day of the Advanced Studies Institute on Site Response and then continue in Santo Domingo for a two-day meeting to draft plans for future activities. The participants prepared a meeting report that outlines concepts for three projects that could be undertaken cooperatively among ALMAS member institutions over the next few years.

2013 July 15–25: Advanced Studies Institute on Site Response

Bringing New Tools and Techniques to Bear on Earthquake Hazard Analysis and Mitigation in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, was the first IRIS event to combine a short course with field work for data acquisition. This Advanced Studies Institute was partly funded by the NSF/OISE PASI program and designed to enable early-career scientists to begin collaborating in frontier seismological research. To address this broad goal, we drew participants from a dozen different countries of Middle America. The specific objective was to develop understanding of the principles of earthquake hazard analysis, particularly site characterization techniques. Participants broke into small teams to acquire data, analyze it on their own computers, and make presentations to the assembled group describing their techniques and results. The teams quickly learned to collect high-quality data for several methods of analysis, determined the depth of a disaggregated layer known to underlie near-surface limestone terraces, and discovered important variations resonance period across Santo Domingo.

2013 January 19–22: Advanced Studies Institute on Lithospheric Structure

Determining Lithospheric Structure Using the Joint Inversion of Receiver Functions and Surface Waves was an IRIS Advanced Studies Institute in Kuwait City, Kuwait. The receiver function method has proven successful at using the recordings of teleseismic earthquakes to model the timing of reverberations in the crust and upper mantle due to major seismic discontinuities directly below the recording stations (e.g. basement, Moho). Combining receiver functions with information from surface waves allows us to improve our estimates of crustal velocities and, correspondingly, the depths to the discontinuities, providing a better overall image of the lithospheric structure.

2012 January 14–17: Advanced Studies Institute on Earthquake Location

Earthquake Location: Recent Developments, Challenges and Opportunites and Double Difference Techniques for Earthquake Location was an IRIS Advanced Studies Institute in Bangkok, Thailand. The topics covered included 

  • Multiple event relocation, with an overview of multiple event location methods and an introduction to double-difference and crosscorrelation methods for high-resolution seismic event location.
  • Real-time double-difference seismic monitoring, employing double-difference and cross-correlation algorithms in a seismic monitoring context and strategies for building a relational seismic data archive, procedures for large-scale earthquake catalog relocation, and evaluation of real-time performance and location precision.
  • Event locations and tomography, covering the fundamentals of three-dimensional seismic tomography and use of applications for conventional and double-difference.

2011 July 10–24: Advanced Studies Institute on Sustainable Networks

New Frontiers in Seismological Research: Sustainable Networks, Earthquake Source Parameters, and Earth Structure was an IRIS Advanced Studies Institute in Quito, Ecuador. This Institute focused on strategies for developing and maintaining modern seismological observatories and exploring recent advances in the analysis of seismological data in support of basic research, education, and hazard mitigation. Designed to engage graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and new faculty from across the Americas in an interactive collaborative learning environment, the Institute’s broad objectives included developing an understanding of the principles of sustainable network operations; promoting open access and data exchange within and between countries in support of research, education, and hazard mitigation; and examining recent advances and current challenges in  characterizing earthquake sources and imaging Earth structure.

2011 April 13–15: Guide to Sustainable Seismographic Networks

At a special session at the SSA Annual Meeting in Memphis, Tennessee that was organized by IRIS, John Filson and Steve Malone led plans for a community initiative to develop a publication based on 21st century seismological practices that would be useful to government decision-makers in developing countries.

2010 October 24–27: Strategic Planning for Middle America

Nearly 100 scientists, planners and development experts met at Geophysical Hazards and Plate Boundary Processes in Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean, an IRIS-organized workshop to build seismoloogical collaboration and capacity. Meeting in Heredia, Costa Rica, workshop participants outlined concrete strategies to develop and sustain seismological capacity in Middle America. The event was made possible by support from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the American Geophysical Union.

2010 August 8–13: Natural Hazards and Disaster Risk in Latin America and the Caribbean

IRIS organized a symposium at the AGU Meeting of the Americas in Foz do Iguassu, Brazil.

2010 May 6: Science, Preparation, and Resilience

In cooperation with the Congressional Hazards Caucus Alliance, IRIS helped to organize a Congressional briefing about What we can learn from the Hatian Earthquake. The briefing covered the background of earthquake research and prediction in Haiti and the Caribbean, potential future seismic activity, risk mitigation, and the prospect of early warning systems. The discussion also included rebuilding earthquake-resistant structures, building codes, and how they contribute to lives lost or saved.

2008 March 22–23: Rebuilding for Resilience

IRIS collaborated with multiple government, non-government, academic and private organizations from the U.S., Haiti, and other nations on a two-day interdisciplinary dialogue at the University of Miami on How Science and Engineering Can Inform Haiti Reconstruction. Key Findings of the Workshop were addressed at the "International Donors' Conference towards a New Future for Haiti" held in New York City.

2008 February 17–19: Out of Africa

In 2008, the NSF Office of International Science and Engineering and Division of Earth Sciences jointly funded IRIS to convene a workshop on transitioning networks of earthquake monitoring stations in developing countries into fully sustainable networks of advanced seismic observatories. Held in conjunction with the Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in February that year, the workshop brought together key members of the IRIS community in the US and in Southeast Asia, South America, and Middle America to build strategies for transitioning networks of earthquake monitoring stations in developing countries into fully sustainable networks of advanced geophysical observatories. The Workshop Report summary recommendations were that

  • Geophysicists must be "densified" through more education and training
  • New instruments are needed, but must be coupled to effective capacity building
  • Software and instruments must be adapted for local requirements
  • Regional data centers and confidence building measures are needed to move towards open data