Reflections from Ryan D. Witkosky
During the 1994 Northridge earthquake I was child, awakened by terrified screams and furniture crashing to the ground. Persistent aftershocks created widespread panic and confusion, but I was fascinated by the transient seismic waves. I yearned to explore the enigmatic subterranean realm of tectonic disturbances, and in Summer 2013 I finally got the chance to do this by working in paleoseismic trenches with Dr. Katherine Scharer (from the USGS office in Pasadena, California). Dr. Scharer taught me how to determine the timing of prehistoric earthquakes along the San Andreas fault, which has inspired me to continue studying active tectonics in southern California for my graduate research. Dr. Scharer has also continued to help me with academic and research advice as I pursue my PhD in earthquake geology. In southern California, earthquakes are as common as the dirt that chronicles their history, and by working with great scientists like Dr. Scharer, I now have the ability to figure out when and where the next earthquakes are likely to occur in the future!!!