Reston, VA – The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) announced today the re-establishment of the National Earthquake Prediction Evaluation Council (NEPEC) and the appointment of 12 scientists to the panel. The Council, which is conducting its initial meeting May 4-5 in Menlo Park, Calif., will advise the director of the USGS on earthquake prediction, forecasting and hazard assessment.
Earthquakes are one of the most costly natural hazards facing the nation, posing a significant risk to 75 million Americans in 39 states. As part of the multi-agency National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP), the USGS has the lead federal responsibility to provide notification of earthquakes in order to enhance public safety and to reduce losses through effective forecasts based on the best possible scientific information.
NEPEC was re-chartered based on advice from the congressionally authorized Scientific Earthquake Studies Advisory Committee, which provides oversight and guidance to the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program. The committee´s 2005 report called for a re-chartered NEPEC, "to serve as the forum to review predictions and resolve scientific debate prior to public controversy or misrepresentation, so decision makers are not misled by unfounded short-term earthquake predictions." NEPEC was first established in 1976, formally authorized by Congress in the 1980 reauthorization of NEHRP, and remained active through the early 1990s.
"I am delighted that we are re-establishing the National Earthquake Prediction Evaluation Council," said P. Patrick Leahy of the USGS. "The Council is made up of well-respected scientists, and under the leadership of Chairman James Dietrich, will be counted on to provide objective, credible analysis and opinions."
NEPEC members include: James Dieterich, University of California, Riverside, chair; David Applegate, USGS, vice chair; Goran Ekström, Harvard University; William Ellsworth, USGS; David Jackson, University of California, Los Angeles; Barbara Romanowicz, University of California, Berkeley; Bruce Shaw, Columbia University; Wayne Thatcher, USGS; Jeroen Tromp, California Institute of Technology; Ray Weldon, University of Oregon; Robert Wesson, USGS; and, Mary Lou Zoback, USGS. Michael Blanpied, USGS, will serve as executive secretary.
For information about earthquakes, visit http://earthquake.usgs.gov/.