Park University’s Johnson Lecture Series Event to Discuss Earthquakes in the Central U.S.

A timely discussion related to the escalating number of earthquakes in the central U.S. will be the focus of Park University’s Johnson Family Lecture Series in Science on Tuesday, March 28. The event will begin at 7 p.m. in the Jenkin and Barbara David Theater within Alumni Hall on the University’s Parkville Campus. The lecture is free and open to the public, though registration is requested at www.park.edu/johnson.

Heather DeShon, Ph.D., a seismologist and associate professor of geophysics at Southern Methodist University, will present a discussion on “Earthquakes in the Central United States: Links to Wastewater Disposal, and Oil and Gas Production.” Based on case studies, DeShon will explore how the injection of fluids into the subsurface can cause dormant faults to induce earthquakes. She will also discuss what data is needed to improve mitigation strategies and understand the long-term earthquake hazard and risk implications for the region.

DeShon’s research focuses on understanding earthquake initiation and fault slip complexity. She uses high-resolution earthquake relocation and subsurface imaging to explore the spatial and temporal relationships between characteristics of the earthquakes and variability in subsurface structures and rock properties. Her background in using on-shore/off-shore seismic networks to understand mega-earthquakes in subduction zones has recently been applied to studies of intraplate seismicity, potentially induced earthquakes and fault structures in the central U.S. DeShon earned her doctorate degree in earth sciences (geophysics) from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a Bachelor of Science degree in geophysics and mathematics from SMU.

The Johnson Family Lecture Series in Science was established in 2016 to provide members of the community, as well as liberal arts and science majors, an opportunity to experience science in action and hear established scientists discuss their research. The lecture series was established by Park University alumnus George Johnson, ’63, Ph.D., who provided funding for the event. Johnson is professor emeritus at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine.

In addition to the public event, the lecture series includes the opportunity for Park students to engage with the featured speaker in a more academic-focused setting. DeShon will present a session on “Death of Fault: A Comparison of Seismicity and Faults in the New Madrid Seismic Zone, Oklahoma/Kansas and North Texas,” also on March 28 at noon in the University’s McCoy Meetin’ House. While this event is open to the public, seating is limited.

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