Earthquake experts gather to celebrate pioneer's 70th birthday

November 16, 2004

RENO, Nev. -- Seismology pioneer and University of Nevada, Reno Foundation Professor James Brune will be celebrating his 70th birthday with some of the world's leading earthquake experts this week.

"The best birthday present anyone could give Jim is to challenge him scientifically," said John Anderson, University professor of geophysics and director of the Nevada Seismological Laboratory. "That is exactly what we plan to do, present him with new, exciting science."

This Thursday and Friday, Brune will be surrounded by more than 40 former students and co-authors who will present him with their most recent research results in seismology.

"Jim has been a mentor and a colleague to many of the brightest minds in this field," said Rasool Anooshehpoor, University associate research professor of seismology and one of Brune's closest research partners.

"This is a gathering of the highest caliber of seismology scientists and I thoroughly expect some of them to go home inspired with new research ideas," added Anderson. "That always happens when people get together with Jim."

The birthday science symposium attendees are traveling from all over the globe to be at the University for this event. Five scientists are coming from Mexico where Brune has initiated a research network with Mexican seismologists for more than 35 years. Other international researchers making the trip hail from England, New Zealand and Switzerland. Brune's first student, Paul Richards, who co-authored the preeminent text on analytic theory and methods in seismology, "Quantitative Seismology," will be present along with members of the United States Geological Survey and the National Academy of Sciences.

Besides the obvious milestone being celebrated this week, Brune will also be honored for the more than 200 publications he has contributed over the past 45 years. According to Ralph Archuleta, one of Brune's former students and professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara, these publications reflect one of the hallmarks of Brune's science: collaboration.

Throughout his career, Brune has authored papers with more than 150 students and colleagues. He is often identified by his famous 1970 paper, "Tectonic Stress and the Spectra of Seismic Shear Waves from Earthquakes." This publication has been cited so often that it was named a "Citation Classic" in 1987.

In 1997 Brune received the Medal of the Seismological Society of America, the highest honor in his field. He earned a bachelor's degree in geological engineering from the University of Nevada, Reno in 1956 and his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1961.

"This is an opportunity for experts and friends to come celebrate Jim's fundamental contributions in seismology and his extraordinary intuitive approach to science," said Anderson.

What: James Brune's 70th Birthday Science Symposium

Where: University of Nevada, Reno, Harry Reid Engineering Laboratory

When: November 18-19, 2004

Speakers: See schedule below

Thursday, November 18

8:30 AM - John Frederick, Jeff Thompson, Jim Taranik, and John Anderson, University of Nevada, Reno: Welcome

9:00 AM - Tom Hanks, United States Geological Survey, Menlo Park: Jim Brune and Extreme Ground Motions

9:20 AM - Ralph Archuleta, University of California, Santa Barbara: Supershear Rupture Velocity in Earthquakes

9:40 AM - Raul Castro, Centro de Investigación Científica y de Eucación Superior de Ensenada, Mexico: Stochastic Modeling of the 9/30/99 Earthquake of Oaxaca, Mexico

10:00 AM - LeRoy Dorman, University of California, San Diego: The seismic moment of an oscillating bubble

10:20 AM - Break

11:00 AM - Roger Bilham, University of Colorado, Boulder: Massive slip deficit in the Himalaya

11:20 AM - Keith Priestley, University of Cambridge: The seismic structure of the Indian plate and its role in the uplift of the Himalaya and Tibet

11:40 AM - John Anderson, University of Nevada, Reno: Future Directions in Probabilistic Seismic Hazard Analysis

12:00 PM - Lunch

1:40 PM - Brian Tucker, GeoHazards International: At a Turning Point for Global Earthquake Safety

2:00 PM - Max Wyss, PRODOK Engineering, Switzerland: Real-time loss estimates after earthquakes in developing countries

2:20 PM - Krishna Singh, Instituto de Geofisica, UNAM, Mexico: The Seismic Alert System for Mexico City: An Evaluation of its Performance and a Strategy for its Improvement

2:40 PM - Mark Stirling, Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences, New Zealand: Precarious rocks and probabilistic seismic hazard in New Zealand

3:00 PM - Break

3:40 - Joe Fletcher, United States Geological Survey, Menlo Park: Estimates of stress drops and stiffness from their moderate-magnitude Earthquakes and their Application to the Slip-weakening model

4:00 PM - Mark Zoback, Stanford University: Observations of near-complete stress drop in boreholes and focal mechanism data

4:20 PM - Susan Hough, United States Geological Survey, Pasadena: The Quest to understand small earthquake source properties

4:40 PM - David Von Seggern, University of Nevada, Reno: Earthquake Doublets and Multiplets in the Yucca Mountain Region

6:00 PM - Reception, Siena Hotel & Casino

7:00 PM - Dinner, Siena Hotel & Casino

Friday, November 19

8:40 AM - Paul Richards, Columbia University: The Earth's inner core: evidence for super-rotation

9:00 AM - Wayne Thatcher, United States Geological Survey, Menlo Park: Present-Day Continental Extension in the Basin & Range and Worldwide

9:20 AM - German Prieto, University of California, San Diego: Bridging the gap between local and regional radiated energy estimates

9:40 AM - Bill Walter, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory: Brune-style earthquake spectra: applications to scaling and explosion monitoring

10:00 AM - Break

10:40 AM - Alfonso Reyes, Centro de Investigación Científica y de Eucación Superior de Ensenada, Mexico: Jim Brune's leading in CICESE foundation and his continued support since its inception

11:00 AM - Luis Munguia, Centro de Investigación Científica y de Eucación Superior de Ensenada, Mexico: Seismicity and stress pattern in La Paz-Los Cabos region, Baja California Sur, Mexico

11:20 AM - J. Rebollar, Centro de Investigación Científica y de Eucación Superior de Ensenada, Mexico: Study of the seismicity in the upper Gulf of California recorded with the RESBAN and NARS-Baja networks

11:40 AM - Tom Jordon, University of Southern California: Earthquake pecularities on ridge-ridge transform faults

12:00 PM - Lunch

1:40 PM - Misha Trifunac, University of Southern California: The Role of the Brune Spectrum in Earthquake Engineering

2:00 PM - Enrique Luco, University of California, San Diego: Estimates of Structural Effects of Near-Source Ground Motions

2:20 PM - Frank Vernon, University of California, San Diego: Review of ANZA Seismic Network, Research and Unanticipated Directions

2:40 PM - Lynn Sykes, Columbia University: When is Long-Term Earthquake Prediction Possible?

3:00 - Birthday Celebration

Media interested in attending this event, please contact Katie Hall 775-784-4941 x229 or

University of Nevada, Reno is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to