Science Pub Portland: Earthquakes

JULY 16, 2019 | 7-9PM



What Past Earthquakes Tell Us About Future Earthquake Hazard: Facts & Fake Facts

With Susan Hough, PhD, Research Geophysicist at the US Geological Survey in Pasadena, California

July 16, 2019 | Doors Open @ 5PM 


Please Note: OMSI's restaurant, Theory will not be open for this event however, the Empirical Café will have additional food offerings including calzones, artisan sandwiches & salads as well as beer, wine and non-alcoholic drinks available.


$5 advance purchase for guaranteed seats; $5 suggested donation at the door. Tickets will be available online or at the OMSI front desk until 2pm the day of the event; see below for details.


Seismologists spend their lives working to understand earthquakes, including earthquakes caused by human activities, so that we can understand and mitigate the hazard they pose. Fortunately for us all, large earthquakes do not strike frequently in any one place. Many of the most important past earthquakes occurred before the invention of modern seismometers. To understand these events, scientists draw on sleuthing skills to explore all available sources of data. In this talk, I describe some of the ingenious work that has been done to understand past earthquakes, and the lessons they can teach us about present-day earthquake hazard. I also discuss evidence that, while earthquakes induced by wastewater injection appeared to be a new phenomenon, there is evidence that humans caused earthquakes in a number of places, including Oklahoma and Texas, as far back as the early 20th century.


Susan Hough graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a degree in geophysics in 1982 and received a PhD in Earth sciences from the University of California, San Diego in 1988. Since 1992 she has worked as a research geophysicist at the US Geological Survey in Pasadena. Her research interests include earthquake ground motions, induced earthquakes, historical earthquakes, and seismic hazard. She led deployments of portable seismometers following a number of damaging earthquakes, including the 1989 Loma Prieta, California, and 2010 Haiti earthquakes. She has co-authored over 120 articles, and was elected Fellow of the American Geophysical Union in 2009. She is now serving as President-Elect of the Seismological Society of America. In addition to technical articles, she has a long-standing interest in science communication, having authored five books on earthquake science for a nonspecialist audience as well as numerous popular articles. She has further led USAIDsupported capacity development projects in a number of countries including Nepal, Haiti, and Myanmar.


This lecture is presented by The Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology ( and the Seismological Society of America (

This lecture is sponsored by Earthquake Tech. Portland’s Authority in Seismic Retrofitting & Seismic Rehabilitation Since 1999.

OMSI Science Pub at the Empirical Theater is a ticketed event. To guarantee a seat at this event, please buy tickets online or at the OMSI front desk. Advanced tickets will be available for purchase until 2:00pm the day of the event. Please show your ticket at the theater entrance upon arrival.


If the event sells out, we will update the website and Facebook listings accordingly. If the event does not sell out in advance, attendance will be first-come, first-served at the door and at-the-door admission will remain a suggested donation.

Science Pub OMSI is a monthly event that is open to anyone and everyone – no scientific background required. Just bring your curiosity, sense of humor, and appetite for food, drinks and knowledge! For more information or to sign up for our mailing list, email:


Sandwiches, hotdogs, snacks and beverages are available from the Empirical Café. Food and drink are welcome in the theater. Parking is free for the event. Doors open at 5pm.


For more information or to sign up for our mailing list, email: