Some Seismology reminders for EGU2018 General Assembly

Some Seismology reminders for EGU2018 General Assembly

With only 2 days left for the kick off of the annual European Geosciences Union General Assembly (2018), here is a quick-list to go through in time for EGU.

First, read this page for information concerning activities for Early Career Scientists at the GA:

EGU2018 mobile app
The EGU2018 mobile app is now available. Go to to download the app. 

Short Courses
With an ever increasing number of short courses held at the GA,  probably there is one good course for you. The full list is here:

Medal Lectures
Get the opportunity to listen to world class experts in various geosciences. Medal Lectures are special sessions that give merit to distinguished scientists. They are usually followed by insightful (and thought provoking)  presentations. These lectures are well attended and seats are quickly taken. Note for seismologists: the Beno Gutenberg Medal Lecture by Haruo Sato on Thursday 12th April 19:00–20:00 / Room G1! 

Sunday 8th April: The Opening Reception, 18.30-21.00 in Foyer E.
Mingle and tingle with the crowd, old, not so old, and young scientists, all in one place. A perfect place for a cheer and networking. A gathering point for early career scientists provides the opportunity to meet like-minded fellows, especially if it is your first time at the General Assembly or you are coming alone.

A quick look on the Seismology Program:

Monday 9/04: Consider attending our yearly own Short Course: Seismology for non-seismologistsMonday 09th April, 13:30-15:00, Room -2.91. A dedicated short course directed to non-seismologists or early career seismologists, with a particular focus how to integrate seismology within your own research. Every year this short course has been a success. We likely won’t turn you into the next Charles Richter in 90 minutes, but will rather make you aware how seismological techniques can help you in geoscience.

Tuesday 10/04 – Thursday 12/04: Meet the EGU Division President and new representatives in Seismology
Get a unique opportunity to meet with P. Martin Mai, the current president for the Seismology Division, and the new ECS representative team of the Seismology Division. You are invited to stop at the EGU booth to ask EGU related questions or discuss ways you would like EGU to improve. Martin will be available on Tuesday and Thursday before lunch: 11:15-12:45 / Room EGU Booth

Wednesday 11/04Division Meeting for Seismology – 12:15
In the Division Meeting for Seismology (SM), the division president will present the latest information on the state of the division, statistics for abstracts and sessions in 2017, and the news related to the various divisional activities. All members are invited, and encouraged to actively participate in the meeting. Lunch is provided.  Wed, 11 Apr, 12:15–13:15 / Room G1

Wednesday 11/04: 20h: SEISMOLOGY SOCIAL EVENT: Meet us for an informal dinner at upstairs in the Bermuda Brau! We pre-booked 30 places for those who wish to attend. After dinner we will move downstairs in the Bermuda Brau for a joint TS – GD – SM division social drink. Interdisciplinary fun assured!

Early Career Scientists’ LoungeIn the Red Level of the conference centre you can find a place to take a break, grab a free coffee or soft drink and gather your thoughts away from the buzz of the Assembly. The lounge is also a great place to catch up with colleagues you haven’t seen in a while and perhaps strike up a new collaboration. On the notice boards you can find information about cultural activities on offer in Vienna. There is also the opportunity to provide feedback via suggestion boards.

By Koen Van Noten

Koen Van Noten is an earthquake geologist at the Geological Survey of Belgium. He investigates the influence of site effects on intraplate earthquake ground motions by Did You Feel It?” macroseismic data and near-surface geophysical techniques. Koen’s role as ECS is to encourage students to promote their results in seismology, geology and near-surface geophysics in various ways.

Seismology for non-seismologists

Seismology for non-seismologists

Short Course at EGU2018, organized by the ECS-Team of the Seismology Division
: SC1.23 – Seismology for Non-Seismologists
Time: Monday 9 April, 13:30 – 15:00
Location: Room -2.91

Are you getting ready for the upcoming General Assembly EGU2018? Consider attending our short course in Seismology on Monday. How do seismologists detect earthquakes? How do we locate them? Is seismology only about earthquakes? Seismology has been integrated into a wide variety of geo-disciplines to be complementary to many fields such as tectonics, geology, geodynamics, volcanology, hydrology, glaciology and planetology.

In this short course, dedicated to non-seismologists and particularly to early career scientists, an introduction to the basic concepts and methods in seismology will be presented. An overview will be given on various methods and processing techniques, which are applicable to investigate surface processes, near-surface geological structures and the Earth’s interior. The course will highlight the role that advanced seismological techniques can play in the co-interpretation of results from other fields.

The topics covered this year will include a demonstration of earthquake detection and location, introduction how to use free tutorials and how the Earth’s structure can be studied using earthquakes, ambient noise and seismic array instrumentation. We will also discuss the link between earthquakes and tsunamis, environmental seismology, and how felt earthquake reports can be used in earthquake communication.

We likely won’t turn you in the next Charles Richter in 90 minutes, but would rather like to make you aware how seismology can help you in geoscience. The intention is to discuss each topic in a non-technical manner, emphasizing their strengths and potential shortcomings. This course will help non-seismologists to better understand seismic results and can facilitate more enriched discussion between different scientific disciplines. The 90-minute short course is organised by early career scientist seismologists and geoscientists who will present examples from their own research experience and from high-impact reference studies for illustration. 15-20 minutes will be reserved for questions from the audience on the topics covered by the short course and general seismology.

By Koen Van Noten
Koen Van Noten is a structural and earthquake geologist at the Geological Survey of Belgium. He investigates the influence of site effects on intraplate earthquake ground motions by Did You Feel It?” macroseismic data and near-surface geophysical techniques. Koen’s role as ECS is to encourage students to promote their results in seismology, geology and near-surface geophysics in various ways.

SeismoChat: How to disarm earthquakes

SeismoChat: How to disarm earthquakes

Solmaz Mohajder is a researcher at the Earth System Dynamics Research group of University of Tübingen in Germany. She has published an online database and an interactive map for active faults in Central Asia (Mohajder et al., 2016).  More recently, Solmaz and her colleagues have compiled fault slip rates to investigate whether deformation rates from GPS and from geologic observations provide consistent slip rate information at the orogen scale (Mohadjer et al., 2017). In 2016, Solmaz was awarded an EGU Public Engagement grant.

The current call for applications for the EGU Public Engagement grant closes on February 15! See this page for more information.

Recently, Solmaz has described her work for and with the Public Engagement Grant on GeoLog. We have taken the opportunity to ask her about factors that shaped her career so far.

Please tell us about your research interests!

My research focuses on quantifying natural hazards using a variety of different techniques such as GPS geodesy and terrestrial remote sensing (Lidar), and making research results available to those at risk through geohazards education and community outreach.

In how many countries did you live/work up to now? How has living in many countries reshaped your way of doing research?

I have stopped counting. I was born and raised in Iran and spent most of my life living in the US (Pacific Northwest) and Germany with one year in Tajikistan.

I learned and embraced the culture of volunteerism, community outreach and education for the first time in the United States. As an undergrad at the University of Washington, I volunteered with the Pipeline Project as a science/math tutor in Seattle public schools, immigrant/refugee community centers and correctional facilities in my neighborhood. I then took my newly-discovered passion and skills for science, education and outreach to the University of Montana. I combined scientific research with science education and outreach as part of my Master program, for example working on an earthquake education curriculum for K-12 schools (Mohadjer et al., 2010) and on quantifying the deformation field in Central Asia (Mohadjer et al., 2010).

But it wasn’t until I was asked questions by those I met in places like Pakistan and Tajikistan, particularly children, that I became aware of the importance of my research in practical life. Simple yet important questions such as “What is an earthquake?”, “How does it affect me?” or “What to do about them?” kept me up at night, and eventually shaped the way I’ve been doing research since 2006.


You have published a paper about “A Quaternary fault database for central Asia”. Tell us something about your work: What is the general context of this study?

To calculate and map seismic hazard, it’s essential to know where the active faults are and how they behave. The Quaternary fault database for Central Asia improves access to this kind of information through a web-based interactive map and an online database with search capabilities that allow users to organize data by different fields. The database can be accessed here.

It took about 2 years to build and populate the database. The work involved reviewing over 250 published papers and compiling three large sets of data: fault locations (~1196 traces of faults), fault attributes (for 123 faults) and seismicity (>34,000 earthquakes). But what you see on the site is subject to change based on community’s feedback.

What was the main motivation for this work?

The project was inspired by my interactions with the general public, their curiosity, and genuine concern for earthquakes. In Tübingen, Germany, I continue to make and take opportunities to interact with the public through events such as TEDx Stuttgart (e.g. How to disarm earthquakes) and by developing educational videos that can be shared globally (e.g., earthquake video library project).      

What is new with respect to previous similar studies?

We have access to a large amount of data on active faulting in Central Asia, but these data are often documented in a wide range of formats (digital, text, maps, etc.) and published in non-open access journals. This makes data access and dissemination difficult especially for non-academic users and the general public. This project provides an open-access and searchable database that includes an interactive fault map. It allows users to run queries (e.g., what are the faults located near I live?) and access important fault parameters such as slip rates and earthquake history.  

What are your hopes for the impact that it might have on science/society in general?

My hope is that local and intentional organizations working in Central Asia (especially those involved in development-related projects) consider fault location and parameters in their project analysis.

What will be the next step in the project?

The next steps may include: addition of new fault information (e.g., fault geometry, recurrence interval, slip/strain rate maps), as well as information from existing landslide and flood inventories for the region. We also hope to include geo-thermochronology data for catchment mass fluxes and fault offsets.   

You are last year’s EGU public Engagement Grant Awardee!

— Can you tell us more about what you did with this grant?

This grant has helped us produce 10 earthquake education videos covering topics that range from Earth’s interior and plate tectonics to liquefaction and structural hazards. These videos are designed to translate seemingly abstract or banal concepts into easily accessible, practical and potentially life-saving information. The production involved young scientists from several universities across the UK and Germany, and is endorsed by institutions such as the MIT BLOSSOMS, Teachers Without Borders, and Geology for Global Development. Most of these videos are currently available for viewing and download on the EGU Media channel– The remaining 2 are in production right now.

Do you have tips for other ECS on how to turn their science useful to the public?

Talk to the public and listen to their comments and questions, and take them seriously. Often, the public will tell you (or at least hint at) how you can make your work more relevant and useful to them. I’d suggest start with family members and friends and think twice about turning down a public speaking opportunity that you’ve been offered.

As a conclusion, what was the most helpful advice you have ever got for your scientific work/career and who gave it to you?

“Don’t kill or get killed” is a really important advice for those who work in remote and potentially dangerous parts of the world. Also “always save your data before you do anything else” because if you die, at least there’s a chance for someone else to use your data. Words of a role model, friend, colleague and an adviser.  

Thank you for the seismochat!

The open-access active fault database project:

Would you like to share the passion for your science in a seismochat? Contact us at

Edited by ECS representatives Redouane Chimouni, Koen van Noten, Lucia Gualtieri, Laura Ermert

New Early Career Scientist representatives wanted

Young scientists meeting corner at EGU General Assembly

The EGU seismology division is looking to elect a new enthusiastic team of early career scientist (ECS) representatives from the beginning of May. If you are a PhD or Postdoc, why not consider taking up this role?

Why should you consider becoming an ECS representative?

Producing innovative science is the first and foremost task of any early career scientist. However, this work is embedded in the scientific community that shapes its course through conferences, workshops, and collaborations. If you are interested in contributing actively to a lively European seismology community, you should consider becoming an ECS rep.

Besides the chance to be active in the Europe’s largest geoscience organization, being an ECS rep can be a great networking and team play experience. Depending on the activities you choose to undertake, it will broaden your scientific horizon, enable you to meet established scientists, or sharpen your science communication skills. Here you can find a description of the ECS role, and in this interview with Wouter Berghuijs, the union level ECS representative, you can read more about the importance of ECS reps.

What are typical tasks of the ECS representatives?

  • To be the first point of contact for ECS-related issues to EGU members and offices
  • To organize a social gathering for Early Career (&other) seismologists at the General Assembly
  • To coordinate and edit the seismology division blog and social media pages, currently Facebook and Twitter

Further activities in the past period included:

  • A short course “Seismology for non-seismologists” at EGU GA 2017, convened by ECS rep. Koen Van Noten with support of co-conveners from the ECS team and beyond;
  • A panel on “Career paths in and out of Academia” organized by ECS reps. Laura Parisi and Lucia Gualtieri. This took place during the 3rd TIDES training school in Oxford;
  • Visibility surveys and posters on the activity of the ECS reps at several conferences;

Of course, each and every representative’s creative ideas are most welcome to extend this list.

Will it affect your work?

Especially PhD students may worry that the ECS role takes too much time away from their scientific work. This is one of the reasons that a team will be elected, so that work can be shared and the workload as ECS rep. becomes manageable. In past two years, we (the current ECS team) have experienced that working together also led to scientific discussions beyond each one’s own expertise, which greatly improved our individual knowledge and led to some unexpected scientific collaborations. So being a Seismology Division ECS representative even enriches your scientific work.

Who can become an ECS rep?

Anyone EGU member who is a PhD student or scientist who has received his or her highest degree (BSc, MSc, or PhD) within the past seven years (with possible extension for parental leave).

How to become an ECS rep?

The ECS reps will be elected at this year’s general assembly (8-13 April 2018). Personal presence at the conference is not a requirement, so don’t worry if you are not going to make it to Vienna. If you are interested in taking on this role, send an email with a short motivation statement and your CV to Martin Mai, the Seismology Division President: and Laura Parisi, current head of ECS team: ecs-sm[at] Don’t even hesitate to contact them with questions!


Edited by ECS reps Laura Ermert, Laura Parisi and Koen Van Noten.