EAS Undergrad Interns at Southern California Earthquake Center

Participation Part of Undergraduate Studies in Earthquake Information Technology Program

Paige Given, an undergraduate geophysics student at the University of Houston’s Department of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences, completed summer research at the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC). Her participation was part of the 2018 Undergraduate Studies in Earthquake Information Technology Program (UseIT).

Paige Given

UseIT, funded by the National Science Foundation, is a team-based, multidisciplinary research program run by SCEC at its lead institution, the University of Southern California. Given was one of the six geoscience students among the 24 students selected nationwide by SCEC this year.

During the 8-week program, Given was a member of the Hazard and Risk Visualization Team that quantitatively assesses potential losses due to earthquakes in Southern California. This area is heavily populated and has several major fault systems, which are known to be active and able to rupture large-magnitude earthquakes.

As a summer intern, Given explored the faults in the Los Angeles region and learned how seismic surveying is used to map the faults lying beneath and networked with accomplished scientists in the community. She completed a research product that will ultimately help SCEC further expand earthquake knowledge and better inform the public on potential risks associated with earthquakes in Southern California.

For the research product, her team used a one-million-year catalog of potential earthquake scenarios generated by a physics-based earthquake simulator, RSQSim, along with FEMA’s Hazus and ArcMap to estimate the casualties and economic loss per earthquake and annualized loss in Southern California.

SCEC has invited Given back out to California, funding her trip to present her team’s research findings at the SCEC Annual Meeting in Palm Springs in September. At UH this fall, Given looks forward to growing more as a geophysicist and preparing for graduate school applications. She hopes to enter a Ph.D. program in geophysics.