Greetings from the Powell Center: Your browser is currently running on Internet Explorer (IE) 8 or lower version. To better view this Web site we recommend updating your browser to the most current IE Version.

John Wesley Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis

Powell Center Working Group Project Information
Operational Earthquake Forecasting – Implementing a Real-Time System for California

Principal Investigator(s):
Ned Field (Geologic Hazards Team)
Thomas Jordan (University of Southern California)

Norman Abrahamson (UC Berkeley)
Jill Barnes (Los Angeles Unified School District)
Michael L Blanpied (Earthquake Hazards Program Office)
Ann Bostrom (University of Washington)
Ken Campbell (EQECAT, Inc)
Paul S Earle (Geologic Hazards Team)
James G. Featherstone (City of Los Angeles)
Delphine Fitzenz (Risk Management Solutions)
Matthew C Gerstenberger (U.S. Geological Survey)
Jeanne L Hardebeck (Earthquake Science Center)
Austin Holland (Oklahoma Geological Survey)
Lucile M Jones (Office of the Associate Director for Natural Hazards)
Kishor Jaiswal (Geologic Hazards Team)
Connie Lackey (Providence Tarzana Medical Center)
Herby Lissade (California Department of Transportation)
Kate Long (California Emergency Management Agency)
Nicolas Luco (Geologic Hazards Team)
Warner Marzocchi (University of Southern California)
Andrew J Michael (Earthquake Science Center)
Kevin R Milner (Geologic Hazards Team)
Morgan T Page (Earthquake Science Center)
Jaesung Park (Nephila Capital Ltd)
Bruce Patton (CEA - California Earthquake Authority)
Suzanne C Perry (Office of the Associate Director for Natural Hazards)
Mark D Petersen (Geologic Hazards Team)
Keith Porter (University of Colorado Boulder)
Peter M Powers (Geologic Hazards Team)
John Schelling (Washington Emergency Management Division)
Nilesh Shome (Risk Management Solutions)
Christopher Terzich (Wells Fargo)
Terry Tullis (Brown University)
Loren Turner (California Department of Transportation)
Nicholas J Van Der Elst (Earthquake Science Center)
David J Wald (Geologic Hazards Team)

Award Date: 2015 
Title: Title: Group RMNPTitle: Group RMNPTitle: JWP Center

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 (; page 32), the USGS currently lacks an automated system with which to forecast such events and official protocols for disseminating the potential implications. This capability, known as Operational Earthquake Forecasting (OEF), could provide valuable situational awareness to emergency managers, the public, and other entities interested in preparing for potentially damaging earthquakes.

With the various ingredients in place, we believe a set of Powell Center meetings will provide the ideal venue for resolving final impediments and catalyzing implementation. By leveraging other resources, the anticipated outcome of this project will be the deployment an actual OEF system for California, together with a set of peer-reviewed papers describing each aspect of the problem. Given that California embodies some of the most vexing challenges with respect to OEF, our efforts should also greatly facilitate deployments elsewhere.

For more information, please visit the Working Group on California Earthquake Probabilities project website:


Field, Edward H., Thomas H. Jordan, Lucile M. Jones, Andrew J. Michael, Michael L. Blanpied, and Other Workshop Participants. “The Potential Uses of Operational Earthquake Forecasting: Table 1.” Seismological Research Letters 87, no. 2A (March 2016): 313-22. doi:10.1785/0220150174.

Field, E.H., and Milner, K.R. (2018) Candidate Products for Operational Earthquake Forecasting Illustrated Using the HayWired Planning Scenario, Including One Very Quick (and Not‐So‐Dirty) Hazard‐Map Option. Seismological Research Letters doi:

Field, E. H., Jordan, T. H., Page, M., Milner, K., Shaw, B., Dawson, T., Biasi, G., Parsons, T., Hardebeck, J., Michael, A., Weldon, R., Powers, P., Johnson, K., Zeng, Y., Bird, P., Felzer, K., van der Elst, N., Madden, C., Arrowsmith, R., Werner, M., Thatcher, W., & Jackson, D. (2017) “A Synoptic View of the Third Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast (UCERF3).” Seismological Research Letters, July 12, 2017. doi:10.1785/0220170045.

Field, Edward H., Kevin R. Milner, Jeanne L. Hardebeck, Morgan T. Page, Nicholas van der Elst, Thomas H. Jordan, Andrew J. Michael, Bruce E. Shaw, and Maximilian J. Werner. “A Spatiotemporal Clustering Model for the Third Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast (UCERF3‐ETAS): Toward an Operational Earthquake Forecast.” Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, February 28, 2017. doi:10.1785/0120160173.

USGS Mission Area:
Natural Hazards Science

ScienceBase Url:

Powered by ScienceBase

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey | DOI Inspector General
Page Contact Information: Ask USGS
Page Last Modified: December 19, 2013
Site Team