Lecture Forensic Seismology and Nuclear Testing Detective Work of Seismologists by Brian Stump
The museum is pleased to host the sixth annual IRIS/SSA Distinguished Lectures Series, sponsored by the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) and the Seismological Society of America (SSA).
When a country claims to have tested a nuclear device of a certain size how can the rest of the world verify the claim? When a country claims they are not conducting nuclear tests, how can we be sure? The Global Seismic Network allows seismologists to examine large events occurring around the world and determine if they were caused by a nuclear test or an earthquake. Acting much like detectives, seismologists can examine the seismic data from a large event under the Earth's surface to determine where and when the event occurred and what caused it.
The connection between seismology and nuclear explosion monitoring began at the culmination of the Manhattan Project with the detonation of the first fission nuclear explosion in Southern New Mexico in July of 1945 and continues today with renewed discussions of ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. Dr. Stump will discuss how seismologists figure out what the squiggles on the seismogram actually mean, how we can determine if they are from an earthquake or a nuclear test, and how big the nuclear test might be. He also discusses the importance of the nuclear test ban monitoring effort.
Brian Stump received his B.A. from Linfield College and M.A. and Ph.D. from University of California, Berkeley, where he held a UC Regents Intern Fellowship. He spent 4 years on active duty with the US Air Force as a staff seismologist and as Chief of the Geological Siting and Seismology Section. He holds the Albritton Chair of Geological Sciences at Southern Methodist University. Dr. Stump was the 2004 Dedman Family Distinguished Professor and in 2006 was awarded the Phi Beta Kappa Perrine Prize for outstanding teaching and scholarship. His research focuses on seismic waves in the atmosphere and the solid earth as tools for assessing the material through which the waves propagate and the source event that generates the waves. In collaboration with the Korean Institute of Geology and Minerals, he has combined data sets of seismic and low frequency acoustic (infrasound) data for characterization of source events. He and his research group design, construct, and operate seismo-acoustic laboratories that provide observations from man-made events, such as mining and construction explosions, and natural events such as earthquakes and impacts by meteorites/asteroids/comets.
From 1994 to 1997 he worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where he was program manager of the Nuclear Test Monitoring Group and participated in the negotiations for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. He was a member of the team that received the LANL Outstanding Performer Small Group Award in 1996. His work on seismic waveforms from nuclear explosions enabled the identification, location and yield determination of nuclear tests. He also contributes in this area as the Secretary of the Department of Defense Seismic Research Panel, a position held since 1987.
New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science
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