Dr. Wald is a Seismologist with the USGS in Golden, Colorado, and is on the Geophysics Faculty at the School of Mines (CSM). Wald is involved in research, development and operations of real-time information systems at the USGS National Earthquake Information Center. He developed and manages “ShakeMap”, “Did You Feel it?”, and is responsible for developing other systems for post-earthquake response and pre-earthquake mitigation, including ShakeCast and PAGER.
Wald earned his B.S. in Physics and Geology at St. Lawrence University, an M.S. in Geophysics at the University of Arizona, and his Ph.D. in Geophysics at Caltech. Previously at Caltech, and now at the CSM, Wald has advised dozens of post-doctoral, graduate, and undergraduate students’ research projects. His own scientific interests include the characterization of rupture processes from complex earthquakes; analysis of ground motions and site effects; and modeling earthquake-induced landslides, liquefaction, and shaking-based losses. Wald has been the Seismological Society of America (SSA) Distinguished Lecturer a BSSA’s Associate Editor, and he served on the Society’s Board of Directors. He served on the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute’s (EERI) Board of Directors, as Associate Editor for Earthquake Spectra, and was EERI’s 2014 Distinguished Lecturer. He was awarded SSA’s 2009 Frank Press Public Service Award, the Department of the Interior Superior Service Award in 2010, and their Meritorious Service Award in 2016.
USGS continues to further develop several near-real time earthquake information systems that provide rapid and automated alerting of shaking distribution, critical facility inspection priorities, and estimates of economic and human impacts following earthquakes.
We’ll describe the evolving research and development behind the components required to rapidly assess an earthquake’s impact: rapid faulting characterization, estimates of shaking distribution, losses estimates, and communicating uncertain loss estimates in an appropriate form for actionable decision-making among a variety of critical users. New products and efforts include 1) rapid estimates of earthquake-induced landsliding and liquefaction around the globe, 2) refactored ShakeMap, ShakeCast, and DYFI codes and functionality, 3) and a focus on incorporating of ground-truth observations for rapidly updating loss models.
In addition to the critical response users of these tools, loss-modelers, (re)insurers, governments and aid organizations use rapid earthquake information for loss estimation, situational awareness, and financial adjudication. Such financial tools can be a significant benefit to the at-risk public by facilitating risk transfer, fostering sensible management of portfolios, and assisting disaster response.
Topics to be introduced that could be flagged for follow-up discussions include: spatial interpolation and variability of ground shaking and implications for loss estimates, portfolio fragility functions and loss estimation (ShakeCast); the use of earthquake scenarios for planning and portfolio analyses; and the details of our empirical models of loss estimation, landslide and liquefaction assessment, among others.