Logo: University of Southern California

SOURCE ALERT - October 16, 2014: Experts Available to Discuss ShakeOut and Loma Prieta Anniversary

Source Alert
Contact: Robert Perkins - (213) 740-9226 or perkinsr@usc.edu
October 13, 2014 —


At 10:16 a.m. on October 16, more than 10 million people throughout the state will participate in the 2014 Great California ShakeOut, an annual earthquake drill that has grown to include partners throughout the world. The following day will be the 25th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake, a 6.9-magnitude that rocked the Bay Area.

USC, home to the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC), has experts available to speak about earthquake preparedness, earthquake science, and to discuss specifics about the ShakeOut and the Loma Prieta quake.


Mark Benthien, Director of Communications for SCEC, has been a part of the Great ShakeOut since its inception and coordinates ShakeOut worldwide. Benthien is available to speak about ShakeOut's history and plans for the future. The Great ShakeOut was also the model for the recently launched federal disaster preparedness initiative, "America's PrepareAthon!" Benthien can speak about the success of the model and why it has worked on such a large scale.

"Everyone everywhere should know how to protect themselves during an earthquake- even if they don't happen where you live, they may happen where you travel," Benthien says. "Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drill are a chance for everyone to learn and practice how to "Drop, Cover, and Hold On," which reduces the chance of injury."

Benthien can be reached on his cell at (213) 926-1683; or by email at benthien@usc.edu. Alternately, contact Jason Ballmann of SCEC at (213) 7401560; (562) 884-2360 or ballmann@usc.edu.


Thomas Jordan, is a professor of geophysics at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and the director of the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC), a network of more than 600 scientists at more than 60 institutions, funded by the NSF and the US Geological Survey.

He is available to speak about the current state of earthquake science — compared to the field 25 years ago during the Loma Prieta quake; the risks faced by California residents; and new technologies that scientists are developing to better understand earthquakes.

Dr. Jordan can be reached by phone at (213) 821-1237 or by email at tjordan@usc.edu. He will be out of the country until Oct. 16, so email will be the best way to contact him before then.


Costas Synolakis, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. Synolakis is a tsunami expert who recently worked with scientists from Georgia Tech to study the Japan tsunami using video footage. He can discuss the tsunami risks that would accompany a major earthquake in Southern California.

In addition, Synolakis helped survey the impact of Loma Prieta days after the quake, including the liquefaction damage in the Marina District.

“The Lioma Pietra earthquake put liquefaction in the engineering map; earlier it was considered rare and exotic, at least for mid-size events,” Synolakis says. He will be available by phone at (213) 740-0613 or by email at costas@usc.edu.


Robert Perkins - (213) 740-9226 or perkinsr@usc.edu