2004 - 2005 Public Lecture Series
at Caltech

Please join our fifth year of the Public Lecture Series!
Now in a new venue -- Beckman Institute Auditorium

April 27 - 8pm
Protecting Biodiversity in Southern California - Robert Fisher, USGS San Diego

Landscape scale conservation planning is an emerging tool used increasingly for resolving conflicts between urbanization and threatened and endangered species.  This is particularly evident in biologically rich regions that are experiencing unprecedented human population growth such as Southern California.  To address this, wildlife conservation agencies in California are focusing on creating regional multiple species conservation plans that meet the requirements of both federal Habitat Conservation Plans and state Natural Community Conservation Plans (NCCP).  These plans are intended to establish landscape-scale reserve networks and long term programs to conserve and manage species “covered” by the plan while allowing development to proceed in less sensitive areas.  Moreover, these plans go beyond the protection of listed species to also cover species that could become listed of not protected.  The plans include goals for maintaining native biodiversity, rare habitat types, and ecological processes.  The purpose is to integrate species conservation with ecosystem management creating powerful tools to face the challenges of conservation biology.  Come and learn more biodiversity in Southern California from one of the leading experts in the field!

February 9 - 8pm
Real-time Forcasting of Tomorrow's Earthquakes - Matt Gerstenberger, USGS Pasadena

After a large earthquake in California, the questions on everyone’s minds are: "How many aftershocks will there be?" and "Is a big one coming next?". While we may not be able to answer these questions with absolute certainty, based on past observations of aftershocks we have a good idea of what to expect. By adding knowledge gained from past earthquake shaking to what we know of the expected number of aftershocks, we are now able to create maps of the chance of experiencing damaging shaking from these aftershocks.  By continually monitoring earthquakes as they happen, we update the shaking maps every hour and display them on-line.   Come and find out more about this cutting edge technology and how it can help keep you and your family updated on your earthquake hazard!

January 12 - 8pm - note new lecture topic & new location!!!
The Sumatra Earthquake & Tsunami - USGS Staff & Caltech Faculty
Beckman Auditorium

In place of the regularly scheduled lecture, earth scientists of the USGS and Caltech will provide a briefing on what is known so far about the science of the Sumatrian earthquake and tsunami. They will describe the geologic setting of the earthquake, why it was so large, and how the tsunami was created. Preliminary analysis of the earthquake and how it affected the Earth will be discussed, as well as the reasons why the loss of life was so high and whether or not a tragedy of this type could strike the United States.

October 25 - 8pm
Wildfires + Rain = Debris Flows - Sue Cannon, USGS Golden

Debris flows can be one of the most hazardous consequences of rain on recently-burned hillslopesThe deaths of sixteen people during the Christmas Day 2003 storm that impacted recently-burned hillsides in southern California highlight the most drastic consequences of post-wildfire debris flows.  The increased occurrence of catastrophic wildfires in the western United States, and the encroachment of development into fire-prone areas, has resulted in the need for tools and methods to identify and quantify the potential hazards posed by debris flows from burned watersheds. In this talk we will describe an approach developed to answer some of the questions fundamental to post-fire debris-flow hazard assessments - what, where, why, when, how big, and how often? Come and find out what is being done to understand and decrease the risk of debris flows in your area.