“Yes, Humans Really Are Causing Earthquakes!”

Graphic of Pump Jack    Map of Injections Wells


Coos Bay, OR  –  Southwestern Oregon Community College’s popular Geology Lecture Series continues with Dr. Justin Rubinstein, speaking about “Yes, Humans Really Are Causing Earthquakes!” for the 13th Annual Cascadia Anniversary Lecture at 7 p.m., Friday, January 26, 2018 at the Hales Center for Performing Arts.  The annual Cascadia lecture provides an opportunity to bring leading seismologists to Coos Bay to discuss earthquake and tsunami research around the anniversary of the last great Cascadia event which took place at 9 pm on Jan. 26, 1700.


Dr. Rubinstein headshot

Dr. Rubinstein is a seismologist and Deputy Chief of the Induced Seismicity Project at the U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) in Menlo Park, California. His research focuses on the ongoing surge of seismicity in the central United States and its relationship to oil and gas operations. In 2009, the central United States began to experience an unprecedented surge in earthquakes. They soared from an average of 21 per year to over 650 in 2014. Dr. Rubinstein’s work includes developing methods to estimate the likelihood of earthquakes induced by oil and gas operations and field studies of seismicity in the Raton Basin (southern Colorado and northern New Mexico) and the Mississippi Lime Play (southern Kansas and northern Oklahoma). Dr. Rubinstein has worked on many topics related to earthquakes including: earthquake forecasting, controls on earthquake ground shaking, and causes of damage in the 1994 Northridge earthquake near Los Angeles. Rubinstein received his Bachelor’s Degree from University of California, Los Angeles and his Master’s and Doctoral degrees from Stanford University.

Dr. Rubinstein will discuss the many ways in which humans can cause earthquakes, how local geological conditions can influence their impact, and how scientists measure and analyze seismicity. He will also address the actions that states are taking to minimize or stop human-induced earthquakes and how academic scientists, regulators, and the oil and gas industry are collaborating in these efforts.

Geology Lecture Series talks are free and are held in the Hales Center for the Performing Arts on Southwestern’s Coos Campus, 1988 Newmark Ave., Coos Bay.  For those not able to attend in person, all lectures are Livestreamed and archived, with access from the College's web site at https://livestream.com/SWOCC/geology2017-18.  Additional talks scheduled this year include: Dr. Anne Nolin (Oregon State) with "Snow-Forest Interactions in a Changing World" on March 3rd, Dr. David Montgomery (University of Washington) presenting Growing A Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life” on April 14th and concluding this year with Dr. Josh Roering (University of Oregon) with “Lakes: How geologic accidents help us decipher past earthquakes, climate, and landscapes in Cascadia” on May 19th.  Lecture series sponsors include DB Western, the Southwestern Foundation and the College. 

For additional information, please contact Ron Metzger at 541-888-7216.