Elizabeth S. Cochran

Role: Project Leader
Earthquake Science Center
Address: 525 S. Wilson Ave, Room 403
Pasadena, CA 91106
Phone: (626) 583-7238

Fax: (626) 583-7827
Email: ecochran@usgs.gov
Web: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/regional/nca/directory/?id=787

About Elizabeth

Elizabeth brings ten years of experience to the Quake-Catcher Team. As an observational seismologist at UC-Riverside, she studies fault structure and earthquake rupture properties. She has been at UC-Riverside since 2007, and completed her post-doctoral work at UC-San Diego.

Elizabeth is looking forward to analyzing the data provided by the QCN in an effort to learn more about earthquakes. She also looks forward to expanding the QCN to many more countries, and seeing the potential for rapid earthquake characterization- location, magnitude, and ultimately, early detection.

While her interest in seismology was piqued during high school, her first quake was the 1989 M6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake that rocked California. Much of her fieldwork has been California-focused, but she has traveled to Europe and Asia to study and present her findings.

President Obama Honors Quake-Catcher Network Inventor Elizabeth Cochran
Network Uses Citizen Volunteers to Collect Earthquake Information
(read more here)

Quakes & Aftershocks

Why earthquakes?

I’ve always been interested in math and science but I wanted something that had direct application to society. As a high school senior I did a project with a professor at UC-Santa Barbara in seismology. That project began a lifelong interest!

What has been your most dramatic earthquake?

I was in LA installing seismometers when the 1999 Hector Mine earthquake hit. I was at a hotel at the time and I remember looking out the window and watching water slosh out of the pool. The Hector Mine earthquake was also the first time I had seen a recently rupture fault trace. Looking at the ruptured ground, where the ground had moved several meters in a split second, I imagined what it would be like to be standing next to it during an earthquake.

What do you love about your science?

It involves both field and computational research, including going out and installing the implementation then using the data to model fault structure and earthquake behavior. It also involves multiple disciplines: math, physics, geology; seismology brings all of these fields together. In addition, seismology is a field that people are very interested in learning more about – especially in CA where earthquakes are part of life.

What is your goal with QCN?

I am hoping that QCN helps to dramatically increase the number of seismic observations of moderate to large earthquakes. Currently, the relatively small number of observations that we have limits our understanding of how an earthquake ruptures and the resulting shaking amplitudes across a region. Thus, QCN may provide important information for both earthquake physics and seismic hazard.