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After a 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck near Ridgecrest, California, on July Fourth, Christine Goulet packed her bags and headed for an area near the epicenter of the Searles Valley Quake.
On July 6, after a long day of investigation, she and her fellow engineers and scientists were discussing where to eat dinner when a 7.1 magnitude quake struck the same area.
Goulet - Tremors - Call - Duty - Earthquake
For Goulet, tremors are a call of duty. She is an earthquake researcher and the executive director for applied science at the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC) at USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. The center is a coalition of more than 1,000 earthquake experts worldwide from 75 institutions. Much of the research by SCEC scientists is supported by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the lead federal agency on earthquake monitoring and response. SCEC's research is also utilized by national and state organizations.
Like a squadron of forensic investigators descending on a crime scene, teams of geologists, seismologists and engineers race to the epicenter after a quake occurs in California to analyze how much the faults shifted and to assess what it means for the region. Goulet is part of the Geotechnical Extreme Event Reconnaissance (GEER) team that looks at earthquake effects such as "ground failure"— that includes, in addition to the fault displacement itself, signs that the soil beneath amplified the shaking or liquified, causing lateral spread during the quake.
Goulet - GEER - Team - Share - Data
Goulet's GEER team is among several that share data with the California Earthquake Clearinghouse, a statewide databank of images, measurements, graphics, maps and other records made by scientists in the wake of a quake. The clearinghouse receives, curates and shares the data with other researchers, as well as state and regional officials. The scientists and engineers in the field often turn to the clearinghouse to...
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