Alaska Seismic Studies

Dr. John C. Lahr
USGS Emeritus Seismologist

Internet: lahr at usgs dot gov
Phone: (541) 758-2699

Current address:
P.O. Box 548
Corvallis, OR 97339

This web site was developed while I was stationed in Fairbanks, Alaska, as project chief of the Alaska Seismic Studies Project of the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program I studied the seismotectonics of Alaska, both as it relates to volcanism for the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) and as a means of seismic hazard mitigation for the Alaska Earthquake Information Center (AEIC).

In November 1997 I began working at the U.S. Geological Survey National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colorado, on a project to update their earthquake processing software. I continue to be interested in geology and geophysics education for grades K through 12 and in the development of appropriate curriculum materials and hands-on science exhibits.

Check out these earthquake-related projects:

Table-top seismology demonstration. There is a fairly advanced version could be used for a science fair project or for a classroom demonstration and also a simpler version of this demonstration that uses rubber bands and a small block of wood, with suggestions for use in a science classroom.

Take a look at "How to Build a Model Illustrating Sea-Floor spreading and Subduction." This report gives instructions and patterns for making a working tectonic model from a shoe box.

Do you know what standing waves are? Make a "Standing Wave Machine" and find out!

Build a seismic shake table and test your own building designs for earthquake resistance.

Create a "human wave" out of your entire class!

Earthquake location program HYPOELLIPSE

Versions of this program are available for PC-DOS and SUN-Solaris computers. This site describes a CD-ROM, which is not available yet. However, the contents of the CD-ROM are all available on-line.

Earthquake hazards and what YOU can do to minimize their impact

The next big Earthquake in Alaska may come sooner than you think

Neotectonic Map of Alaska

PDF version of the DNAG map provided by the Alaska Geological and Geophysical Surveys (DGGS)
Local copy:  front    back

Seismicity of Continental Alaska

 From The Decade of North American Geology (DNAG) publication.

Redoubt Volcano

Catalog of earthquakes located during the 1989-1990 eruption of Redoubt volcano.
(These files are also located here.)

Earthquake classification, location, and error analysis in a volcanic environment: implications for the magmatic system of the 1989-1990 eruptions at Redoubt Volcano, Alaska.
MS Word Format (2.5 MB)
PDF Format (1 MB)

Augustine Volcano

Good PDF document with a review of the tectonic setting of volcanoes.

Magnitude 7 and larger events in or adjacent to Alaska

This table, from The Decade of North American Geology (DNAG) Neotectonic map of Alaska, is included here for easy reference.

Map showing historic large earthquakes, rupture zones, and major faults in Alaska.

Click here for JPG version.

Click here for links to PDF version.

(Another page with information on this map)

Do you know some good references on and a few facts about the 1964 Alaska earthquake? Yes!

Everything you wanted to know about earthquake magnitude

Diagrams of earthquake waves traveling through the Earth

USGS Educational Open-file Reports

In order to make the educational paper models and animations of Tau Rho Alpha more easily available, two of these have been converted to html and Quick-Time formats. Open-file Report 91-115 on volcanoes. and Open-file Report 92-200 on earthquake effects.

One-page versions of Tau's Open-file reports.  The colored pages were created by the Australian Geological Survey Organization, Geoscience Awareness Unit - Phone (02) 62499497

The contents of many of Tau Rho's Open-file reports are available in web and in Apple Macintosh Hyper-Card formats.

Another on-line source for Tau's reports is the USGS Publications Warehouse.

National Earthquake Information Center Links on Alaska

Seismology (and other) Education Sources

Hands-on demonstrations at the 1994 Alaska PEPP teacher workshop

Instructions for making a shake table

Other K-12 Educational Materials from the USGS

Compute arrival times at Your seismic station for recent earthquakes

Compute arrival times at Your seismic station for a specified earthquake

Graph of seismic travel time in minutes versus distance in degrees

Table of P and S minus P times versus distance in degrees

Earthquake Technology Fights Crime

The Chronology of Physics
Thought provoking table of The Magnitudes of Physics
Etymology (Origin) of Words Used in the Teaching of Physics
SI Units