Cascadia Subduction Zone and PNW: Beauty and the Beast
With Doug Toomey, PhD, Professor of Geophysics at the University of Oregon
October 10, 2019 | 6:30-8:30PM; Doors open @ 5PM | $5 Suggested Donation
The identity of the Pacific Northwest is rooted in its landscape and seascape. The beauty and natural bounty that defines our collective home also comes with risks — earthquakes, wildfires, landslides, floods, and volcanic eruptions — that pose threats to people, built infrastructure, and the economic vitality of the region. In addition to natural hazards, climatic changes are impacting the health of forests, the severity of wildfires, the quality and availability of water, and the impact of extreme weather events. How society understands, accepts, plans for and mitigates these hazards is vital to a resilient and prosperous future, not only for Oregon and the Pacific Northwest, but the entire Pacific Rim.
In this talk, geophysicist Doug Toomey will describe how onshore and offshore research using arrays of sensors improves understanding of the seismic hazard of Cascadia and illuminates the dynamic forces that shape the PNW landscape. Prof. Toomey will also discuss how the tools used for basic science are being repurposed to early warning systems for earthquakes and wildfires – the ShakeAlert and ALERTWildfire programs. This merger of basic and applied research is catalyzing public-private partnerships that underpin the emerging Internet of (Wild) Things.
Doug is a Professor of Geophysics at the University of Oregon, where he is the Director of the Oregon Hazards lab and principal investigator for the Oregon components of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, ShakeAlert, and ALERTWildfire. He is a pioneer in the use of ocean bottom seismology to explore tectonic plate boundaries and has led scientific expeditions in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Mediterranean oceans, the Galápagos Archipelago, and the Oman ophiolite. On a stormy day in the North Atlantic, when the deployment of an ocean bottom seismometer went badly, Doug was able to prevent a shipmate from losing several fingers. Over twenty years later, they have 3 wonderful children, a beloved dog, never enough bikes, and they explore the PNW in an 87 Westy that Doug pretends he knows how to fix. His kids have been heard to say, “if we’re not cold, wet, hungry, and stranded, it’s not really an adventure.”
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