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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
The past decade has seen improvements in computational efficiency, seismic data coverage, and communication technology - driven by societal expectation for timely, accurate information. While aspects of earthquake research have taken advantage of this evolution, the adoption of improvements in earthquake monitoring has not been fully leveraged. In real-time monitoring, earthquakes are...
It is well know that every earthquake can spawn others (e.g., as aftershocks), and that such triggered events can be large and damaging, as recently demonstrated by L’Aquila, Italy and Christchurch, New Zealand earthquakes. In spite of being an explicit USGS strategic-action priority (http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2012/1088; page 32), the USGS...
Development of a domestic earthquake alert protocol combining the USGS pager and FEMA Hazus systems
The U.S. Geological Survey’s PAGER automated alert system provides rapid (10-20 min) loss estimates in terms of ranges of fatalities and economic impact for all significant earthquakes around the globe. In contrast, FEMA’s Hazus software, which is currently operated manually by FEMA personnel internally within several hours of any large domestic...Wald, David J.; Seligson, H.A.; Rozelle, Jesse; Burns, J.; Marano, Kristin; Jaiswal, Kishor; Hearne, Mike; Bausch, D
Increasing earthquake insurance coverage in California via parametric hedges
California has the highest earthquake risk of any state in the United States. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reported in 2017 that 73% of the nation’s annual losses to earthquakes were expected to be concentrated in California and the Pacific Northwest. California alone constitutes 61% ($3.7 billion out of an estimated $6.1 billion...Franco, Guillermo; Tirabassi, G; Lopeman, M; Wald, David J.; Siembieda, W.J.
State transportation agencies partner to deploy and enhance ShakeCast
The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is organizing and leading a three-year Transportation Pooled Fund (TPF) project, Connecting the Dots: Implementing ShakeCast Across Multiple State Departments of Transportation for Rapid Post-Earthquake Response. Ten state Departments of Transportation (DOT)—CA, ID, MO, MS, OK, OR, SC, TX, UT...Turner, L.; Wald, David J.; Lin, Kuo-wan; Chiou, Brian; Slosky, Daniel
Stronger peak ground motion, beyond the threshold to initiate a response, does not lead to larger stream discharge responses to earthquakes
The impressive number of stream gauges in Chile, combined with a suite of past and recent large earthquakes, makes Chile a unique natural laboratory to study several streams that recorded responses to multiple seismic events. We document changes in discharge in eight streams in Chile following two or more large earthquakes. In all cases, discharge...Mohr, Christian H.; Manga, Michael; Wald, David J.
ShakeMap-based prediction of earthquake-induced mass movements in Switzerland calibrated on historical observations
In Switzerland, nearly all historical Mw ~ 6 earthquakes have induced damaging landslides, rockslides and snow avalanches that, in some cases, also resulted in damage to infrastructure and loss of lives. We describe the customisation to Swiss conditions of a globally calibrated statistical approach originally developed to rapidly assess...Cauzzi, Carlo; Fah, Donat; Wald, David J.; Clinton, John; Losey, Stephane; Wiemer, Stefan
The intensity signature of induced seismicity
We analyze a comprehensive database of ∼63,000">∼63,000 geocoded community intensity observations from >400">>400 earthquakes of moment magnitude M≥3.5">M≥3.5 in Oklahoma from 2010 to 2016 to define the intensity signature of induced events. We show that natural and induced...Atkinson, Gail M.; Wald, David J.; Worden, Charles; Quitoriano, Vince
Improving near‐real‐time coseismic landslide models: Lessons learned from the 2016 Kaikōura, New Zealand, earthquake
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is developing near‐real‐time global earthquake‐triggered‐landslide products to augment the USGS Prompt Assessment of Global Earthquakes for Response (PAGER) system. The 14 November 2016 Mw">MwMw 7.8 Kaikōura, New Zealand, earthquake provided a test case for evaluating the performance and near‐real‐...Allstadt, Kate E.; Jibson, Randall W.; Thompson, Eric M.; Massey, Chris; Wald, David J.; Godt, Jonathan W.; Rengers, Francis K.
Integrate urban‐scale seismic hazard analyses with the U.S. National Seismic Hazard Model
For more than 20 yrs, damage patterns and instrumental recordings have highlighted the influence of the local 3D geologic structure on earthquake ground motions (e.g., M">M 6.7 Northridge, California, Gao et al., 1996; M">M 6.9 Kobe, Japan, Kawase, 1996; M">M 6.8 Nisqually, Washington, Frankel...Moschetti, Morgan P.; Luco, Nicolas; Frankel, Arthur; Petersen, Mark D.; Aagaard, Brad T.; Baltay, Annemarie S.; Blanpied, Michael; Boyd, Oliver S.; Briggs, Richard; Gold, Ryan D.; Graves, Robert; Hartzell, Stephen; Rezaeian, Sanaz; Stephenson, William J.; Wald, David J.; Williams, Robert A.; Withers, Kyle
Spatial and spectral interpolation of ground-motion intensity measure observations
Following a significant earthquake, ground‐motion observations are available for a limited set of locations and intensity measures (IMs). Typically, however, it is desirable to know the ground motions for additional IMs and at locations where observations are unavailable. Various interpolation methods are available, but because IMs or their...Worden, Charles; Thompson, Eric M.; Baker, Jack W.; Bradley, Brendon A.; Luco, Nicolas; Wald, David J.
An open repository of earthquake-triggered ground-failure inventories
Earthquake-triggered ground failure, such as landsliding and liquefaction, can contribute significantly to losses, but our current ability to accurately include them in earthquake-hazard analyses is limited. The development of robust and widely applicable models requires access to numerous inventories of ground failures triggered by earthquakes...Schmitt, Robert G.; Tanyas, Hakan; Nowicki Jessee, M. Anna; Zhu, Jing; Biegel, Katherine M.; Allstadt, Kate E.; Jibson, Randall W.; Thompson, Eric M.; van Westen, Cees J.; Sato, Hiroshi P.; Wald, David J.; Godt, Jonathan W.; Gorum, Tolga; Xu, Chong; Rathje, Ellen M.; Knudsen, Keith L.
Grand challenges for integrated USGS science—A workshop report
Executive SummaryThe U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has a long history of advancing the traditional Earth science disciplines and identifying opportunities to integrate USGS science across disciplines to address complex societal problems. The USGS science strategy for 2007–2017 laid out key challenges in disciplinary and interdisciplinary arenas,...Jenni, Karen E.; Goldhaber, Martin B.; Betancourt, Julio L.; Baron, Jill S.; Bristol, R. Sky; Cantrill, Mary; Exter, Paul E.; Focazio, Michael J.; Haines, John W.; Hay, Lauren E.; Hsu, Leslie; Labson, Victor F.; Lafferty, Kevin D.; Ludwig, K.A.; Milly, Paul C. D.; Morelli, Toni L.; Morman, Suzette A.; Nassar, Nedal T.; Newman, Timothy R.; Ostroff, Andrea C. ; Read, Jordan S.; Reed, Sasha C.; Shapiro, Carl D.; Smith, Richard A.; Sanford, Ward E.; Sohl, Terry L.; Stets, Edward G.; Terando, Adam J.; Tillitt, Donald E.; Tischler, Michael A.; Toccalino, Patricia L.; Wald, David J.; Waldrop, Mark P.; Wein, Anne; Weltzin, Jake F.; Zimmerman, Christian E.
Development and utilization of USGS ShakeCast for rapid post-earthquake assessment of critical facilities and infrastructure
The ShakeCast system is an openly available, near real-time post-earthquake information management system. ShakeCast is widely used by public and private emergency planners and responders, lifeline utility operators and transportation engineers to automatically receive and process ShakeMap products for situational awareness, inspection priority,...Wald, David J.; Lin, Kuo-wan; Kircher, C.A.; Jaiswal, Kishor; Luco, Nicolas; Turner, L.; Slosky, Daniel