Seismologist speaks to students about earthquakes

Sam Ko

Seismologist Lucy Jones spoke to students and faculty about the history of earthquakes and their social effects, her involvement in earthquake research and the improvements that communities can develop to ensure minimal damage March 6-7.

Jones is the founder and chief scientist of Dr. Lucy Jones Center for Science and Society and the developer of the first American major earthquake drill called the Great ShakeOut. She has also been a guest on multiple broadcasts and the National Public Radio.

Jones said that her earliest memory from her childhood was of an earthquake, and that she knew she wanted to become a seismologist because it was a “science that matters.”

Jones visited various classes, including Geology and Engineering, to debunk myths about earthquakes, analyze the way people react to earthquakes and share statistics about the probability of earthquakes occurring.

Jones also used to conduct research in China and spoke to the students in Post-AP Chinese about her research experience in China in the 1970s and the cultural differences she noticed.

“I thought it was interesting how she compared her experience with how earthquake culture differs in the east versus in the west,” post AP Chinese student Isabella Huang ’19 said.

When people try to cope with the discomfort of not knowing when an earthquake will hit, they will make up false patterns, such as the myth that animals can sense when an earthquake is going to happen, according to Jones.

“We try to deal with that feeling of out of control and randomness by coming up with reasons that it’s not random,” Jones said. “We make that pattern because we want it to be true.”

Jones’s goals include improving earthquake-safe developments in communities nationwide to reduce risks of damage and spread knowledge about earthquake safety and procedure.