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Clara Yoon

Clara is an earthquake seismologist at the United States Geological Survey in Pasadena, California.  She conducts research on earthquake activity using machine learning algorithms applied to large seismic data sets.  Previously, she led the IT and software operations on the USGS side of the Southern California Seismic Network (SCSN,


2018                Ph.D. Geophysics, Stanford University

                        Thesis: A FAST Data Mining Approach for Similar Earthquake Detection

2015                M.S. Geophysics, Stanford University

2006                B.S. Physics, University of California Los Angeles


Professional Experience

2020 - present    Research Geophysicist, U.S. Geological Survey, Pasadena, CA

2018 - 2020       Supervisory Geophysicist, U.S. Geological Survey, Pasadena, CA

2012 - 2018       Graduate Student Researcher, Department of Geophysics, Stanford University, Stanford, CA

2006 - 2012       Staff Scientist, Areté Associates, Northridge, CA


Current Interests

Understanding physical processes driving the 2020 Puerto Rico earthquake sequence

Southern California earthquake monitoring, seismicity analysis, and hazards

Testing machine learning algorithms in operational earthquake monitoring software, in collaboration with Caltech Seismo Lab

What new insights about earthquakes can be extracted from the application of data mining and machine learning techniques to large seismological and geophysical data sets?

How do earthquakes start, what can trigger earthquakes, how do earthquakes stop, and why do some earthquakes grow large when most do not?   How do earthquakes interact with each other?

How can software development best practices, open data repositories, cloud computing, and automated workflows improve transparency, reproducibility, collaboration, and dissemination of computational earthquake science research?


Past Projects (USGS)

USGS lead role in development, maintenance, and operation of real-time earthquake monitoring software in the Southern California Seismic Network (SCSN), in collaboration with Caltech Seismo Lab

Product planning and requirements development for the next-generation Earthquake Notification Service (ENS), which sends customized real-time email and text earthquake notifications to over 400,000 users

Planning and requirements development for the next-generation ANSS Quake Monitoring Software (AQMS) used in regional seismic networks

Software maintenance, testing, documentation, and user support for the AQMS Jiggle GUI, an application for human review of earthquake waveforms, locations, and magnitudes

Planning, coordination, and support for real-time ground shaking intensity (ShakeMap) products for southern California earthquakes

Promoting software development best practices: version control, git workflow, coding standards, unit tests, integration tests, issue tracking, code review, documentation

Management, supervision, and hi