David J Wald
Dr. Wald is a Seismologist with the USGS in Golden. He is involved in research, development & operations of several real-time earthquake information systems at the USGS National Earthquake Information Center. He developed and manages “ShakeMap”, “Did You Feel it?”, & is responsible for developing other systems for post-earthquake response & pre-earthquake mitigation, including ShakeCast and PAGER.
Wald's scientific interests include the characterization of rupture processes from complex recent and historic earthquakes using combined geodetic, teleseismic, and strong motion data; waveform modelling and inversion; analysis of ground motion hazards and site effects; earthquake source physics; and modelling earthquake-induced landslides, liquefaction, and losses, macroseismic intensity, building damage, financial and human impact, rapid damage and impact assessment, earthquake scenario development and mitigation planning and drills, and communication with the media, public, and emergency managers.
Previously at Caltech, and now at the Colorado School of Mines, Wald has advised dozens of post-doctoral, graduate, and undergraduate student research projects. Wald directly supervises 10 PhD level scientists and 5 five BS and MS level support staff, and supervises several students. Wald serves on several PhD committees at this time. This research has resulted in more than 450 professional publications that David has authored or co-authored, including journal papers, USGS publication series, conference papers, and published abstracts.
Post-doctoral Fellow, Geophysics, National Research Council, USGS, Pasadena, 1995
Ph.D., Geophysics, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, 1993
M.S., Geophysics, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, 1986
B.S., Geology & Physics, St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY, 1984
Science and Products
Money matters: Rapid post-earthquake financial decision-making
Post-earthquake financial decision-making is a realm beyond that of many people. In the immediate aftermath of a damaging earthquake, billions of dollars of relief, recovery, and insurance funds are in the balance through new financial instruments that allow those with resources to hedge against disasters and those at risk to limit their...Wald, David J.; Franco, Guillermo
USGS approach to real-time estimation of earthquake-triggered ground failure - Results of 2015 workshop
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Earthquake Hazards and Landslide Hazards Programs are developing plans to add quantitative hazard assessments of earthquake-triggered landsliding and liquefaction to existing real-time earthquake products (ShakeMap, ShakeCast, PAGER) using open and readily available methodologies and products. To date, prototype...Allstadt, Kate E.; Thompson, Eric M.; Wald, David J.; Hamburger, Michael W.; Godt, Jonathan W.; Knudsen, Keith L.; Jibson, Randall W.; Jessee, M. Anna; Zhu, Jing; Hearne, Michael; Baise, Laurie G.; Tanyas, Hakan; Marano, Kristin D.
Uncertainty in Vs30-based site response
Methods that account for site response range in complexity from simple linear categorical adjustment factors to sophisticated nonlinear constitutive models. Seismic‐hazard analysis usually relies on ground‐motion prediction equations (GMPEs); within this framework site response is modeled statistically with simplified site parameters that include...Thompson, Eric M.; Wald, David J.
Get your science used—Six guidelines to improve your products
Introduction Natural scientists, like many other experts, face challenges when communicating to people outside their fields of expertise. This is especially true when they try to communicate to those whose background, knowledge, and experience are far distant from that field of expertise. At a recent workshop, experts in risk communication offered...Perry, Suzanne C.; Blanpied, Michael L.; Burkett, Erin R.; Campbell, Nnenia M.; Carlson, Anders; Cox, Dale A.; Driedger, Carolyn L.; Eisenman, David P.; Fox-Glassman, Katherine T.; Hoffman, Sherry; Hoffman, Susanna M.; Jaiswal, Kishor S.; Jones, Lucile M.; Luco, Nicolas; Marx, Sabine M.; McGowan, Sean M.; Mileti, Dennis S.; Moschetti, Morgan P.; Ozman, David; Pastor, Elizabeth; Petersen, Mark D.; Porter, Keith A.; Ramsey, David W.; Ritchie, Liesel A.; Fitzpatrick, Jessica K.; Rukstales, Kenneth S.; Sellnow, Timothy L.; Vaughon, Wendy L.; Wald, David J.; Wald, Lisa A.; Wein, Anne; Zarcadoolas, Christina
Compilation of VS30 Data for the United States
VS30, the time-averaged shear-wave velocity (VS) to a depth of 30 meters, is a key index adopted by the earthquake engineering community to account for seismic site conditions. VS30 is typically based on geophysical measurements of VS derived from invasive and noninvasive techniques at sites of interest. Owing to cost...Yong, Alan; Thompson, Eric M.; Wald, David J.; Knudsen, Keith L.; Odum, Jack K.; Stephenson, William J.; Haefner, Scott
Rapid characterization of the 2015 Mw 7.8 Gorkha, Nepal, earthquake sequence and its seismotectonic context
Earthquake response and related information products are important for placing recent seismic events into context and particularly for understanding the impact earthquakes can have on the regional community and its infrastructure. These tools are even more useful if they are available quickly, ahead of detailed information from the areas affected...Hayes, Gavin; Briggs, Richard; Barnhart, William D.; Yeck, William; McNamara, Daniel E.; Wald, David J.; Nealy, Jennifer; Benz, Harley M.; Gold, Ryan D.; Jaiswal, Kishor S.; Marano, Kristin; Earle, Paul S.; Hearne, Mike; Smoczyk, Gregory M.; Wald, Lisa A.; Samsonov, Sergey
The Mw6.0 24 August 2014 South Napa earthquake
The Mw 6.0 South Napa earthquake, which occurred at 10:20 UTC 24 August 2014 was the largest earthquake to strike the greater San Francisco Bay area since the Mw 6.9 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. The rupture from this right‐lateral earthquake propagated mostly unilaterally to the north and up‐dip, directing the strongest shaking...Brocher, Thomas M.; Baltay, Annemarie S.; Hardebeck, Jeanne L.; Pollitz, Fred F.; Murray, Jessica R.; Llenos, Andrea L.; Schwartz, David P.; Blair, James Luke; Ponti, Daniel J.; Lienkaemper, James J.; Langenheim, V.E.; Dawson, Timothy E.; Hudnut, Kenneth W.; Shelly, David R.; Dreger, Douglas S.; Boatwright, John; Aagaard, Brad T.; Wald, David J.; Allen, Richard M.; Barnhart, William D.; Knudsen, Keith L.; Brooks, Benjamin A.; Scharer, Katherine M.
A VS30 map for California with geologic and topographic constraints
For many earthquake engineering applications, site response is estimated through empirical correlations with the time‐averaged shear‐wave velocity to 30 m depth (VS30). These applications therefore depend on the availability of either site‐specific VS30 measurements or VS30 maps at local, regional, and global scales....Thompson, Eric; Wald, David J.; Worden, Charles
Development of a globally applicable model for near real-time prediction of seismically induced landslides
Substantial effort has been invested to understand where seismically induced landslides may occur in the future, as they are a costly and frequently fatal threat in mountainous regions. The goal of this work is to develop a statistical model for estimating the spatial distribution of landslides in near real-time around the globe for use in...Nowicki, M. Anna; Wald, David J.; Hamburger, Michael W.; Hearne, Mike; Thompson, Eric M.
U.S. Geological Survey's ShakeCast: A cloud-based future
When an earthquake occurs, the U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) ShakeMap portrays the extent of potentially damaging shaking. In turn, the ShakeCast system, a freely-available, post-earthquake situational awareness application, automatically retrieves earthquake shaking data from ShakeMap, compares intensity measures against users’ facilities,...Wald, David J.; Lin, Kuo-Wan; Turner, Loren; Bekiri, Nebi
Geophysical advances triggered by 1964 Great Alaska Earthquake
A little more than 50 years ago, on 27 March 1964, the Great Alaska earthquake and tsunami struck. At moment magnitude 9.2, this earthquake is notable as the largest in U.S. written history and as the second-largest ever recorded by instruments worldwide. But what resonates today are its impacts on the understanding of plate tectonics, tsunami...Haeussler, Peter J.; Leith, William S.; Wald, David J.; Filson, John R.; Wolfe, Cecily; Applegate, David
Estimating structural collapse fragility of generic building typologies using expert judgment
The structured expert elicitation process proposed by Cooke (1991), hereafter referred to as Cooke's approach, is applied for the first time in the realm of structural collapse-fragility assessment for selected generic construction types. Cooke's approach works on the principle of objective calibration scoring of judgments couple with hypothesis...Jaiswal, Kishor; Wald, David J.; Perkins, David M.; Aspinall, Willy P.; Kiremidjian, Anne S.