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Uplift vs sea level rise in Washington State; 100 year forecasts for coastal resilience planning

Event Type: 
Seminar
Event Date: 
13 Feb 2018
Venue: 
ASE 3D Viz Laboratory Room (N2-B1c-16c)
Speaker: 
Ray Weldon
About the speaker: 

Ray Weldon is Professor of Structural Geology and Neotectonics at the University of Oregon. Ray basically studies active faults in the field but works closely with seismologists, geodesists, geochronologists, and hazard and risk analysts to integrate field observations into models of how faults work and generate seismic hazard and risk. Ray and his students and colleagues have recently worked on the Cascadia Subduction Zone and the Basin and Range in Oregon, the San Andreas Fault in California, and fold and thrust belts in Alaska and the Kyrgyz Tien Shan. In pursuit of his conviction to make science practical, Ray serves on the Executive Committee of the Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast (UCERF, the official source model for California earthquakes), the Steering Committee for the US National Seismic Hazard Map (that sets national building codes, among other things), and consults for a number of public and private entities on seismic hazards posed to nuclear power plants and dams. Ray teaches Oregon Geology and Summer Field Camp (in addition to specialized courses) and is most proud of having successfully graduated 22 MS and PhD students in his 27 years at Oregon.

About the event: 

As global sea level rises and storm surges increase due to global warming, coastal communities are developing resiliency plans built on forecasts of water levels well into the 21st century.  In addition to all the uncertainty in future rates of sea level rise, we need to know how much the land under the coast will rise or fall because the effect of both is the net sea level rise our communities will experience.  Such forecasts are particularly challenging in the Pacific NW where most of the coast drops during great subduction zone earthquakes but rises between them.  As will be shown with examples from California, Oregon and especially Washington, where we recently completed a SeaGrant project, until the next great earthquake, coastal uplift will minimize or even defeat global sea level rise, but after the next earthquake local sea level on the NW coast will range between 1 to 3 feet higher than it is today.