22nd General Assembly of IUGG and 30th General Assembly of IASPEI

Birmingham, UK 18-30 July 1999

The 22nd General Assembly of IUGG and the 30th General Assembly of IASPEI were held at the University of Birmingham, Birmingham, U.K., from 18-30 July 1999.

The IUGG General Assembly was attended by over 4,000 scientific participants, more than 500 of whom were affiliated with IASPEI. About 5,700 abstracts were submitted of which 989 were presented in oral and poster sessions of 17 IASPEI-led symposia and workshops.

Opening Plenary Session

19 July 1999

Present: Prof. Claude Froidevaux (President) in the Chair and about 300 delegates and guests.

The President opened the meeting at 0830 and welcomed participants.

The President read aloud the following list of colleagues who have died since the last IASPEI General Assembly in 1997 and asked those present to take a few moments of silence in their memory.

  • Joseph W. Berg, Jr. (USA)
  • Jean Coulomb (France)
  • John Drakopoulos (Greece)
  • Ian B. Everingham (Australia)
  • Frantisek Hron (Canada)
  • Ernest R. Kanasewich (Canada)
  • Rafael Katzman (Israel)
  • Ludmila Ratnikova (Russia/USA)
  • Boris V. Kostrov (Russia)
  • Carl P. Spencer (UK)
  • Harold Wellman (New Zealand)

The President then announced the composition of the Nominations, Resolutions, and Audit Committees as follows:

Nominating Committee

  • Prof. C Froidevaux (France, Chair)
  • Prof. Chen, Yun-tai (China)
  • Prof. S Das (UK)
  • Prof. T Jordan (USA)
  • Prof. K Lambeck (Australia)

Resolutions Committee

  • Dr. D Giardini (Switzerland, Chair)
  • Dr. G Helfrich (UK)
  • Prof Wu, Zhonglian (China)

Proposed resolutions must be submitted to the Chairman of the Resolutions Committee no later than Wednesday morning of Week 2 (July 28).

Audit Committee

  • Dr. R D Adams (UK, Chair)
  • Dr. P Basham (Canada/Austria)

The Secretary-General welcomed the delegates and presented several business items:

The location of the Association office and facilities available were announced.

Changes to the printed scientific program were noted and Principal Convenors were instructed on how to make changes to the scheduling of talks in their sessions.

A meeting of Principal Convenors (or appointed representatives) to discuss opportunities for the publication of the proceedings of IASPEI-led Symposia and Workshops was announced.

Procedures to be followed to receive grants were described.

To begin development of the scientific program for the 31st General Assembly of IASPEI, to be held jointly with IAGA in Hanoi, Vietnam, ? 2001, the Executive Committee will meet jointly with Commission Chairs and the IAGA Executive to discuss proposals.

The President introduced one of the Craaford Prize winners, Prof. Adam M Dziewonski, who presented a lecture entitled "Seismic Tomography and Mantle Dynamics".

The President closed the meeting at 1000.

Scientific Program

Union Lecture

UL2: The State of the Mantle - Reconciling Structure and Processes (Brian Kennett, Australia)

Inter-Association Symposia

JSS02/ST02: Physics and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior (IASPEI, IAVCEI, IAG, SEDI)

JSS02 oral sessions proceeded according to the program, with one change: the Irifune, et al. paper (JSS02/E/14-A1) was presented on Tuesday (instead of Monday, as scheduled) in place of Matas, et al. (JSS02/W/16-A2).JSS02 Chairs were R. Jeanloz on Monday and R. Fehler on Tuesday morning; average audience 50-100, involving a broad, interdisciplinary group from mineral & rock physics, seismology and geodynamics.

ST06 was a full session according to program, with the exception of the substitution of the Gwanmesia, et al. paper (ST6/JSS02/W/19-A1) originally scheduled for poster presentation for that of Tomoaki, et al. (ST6/E/11-A2). ST06 Chair was Dr. I. Jackson; average audience ~25, mainly from mineral & rock physics. The clash with the symposium on Seismic Anisotropy was unfortunate, drastically reducing the potential seismological component of the audience.

Organizational Issues

(i) Given the difficulties experienced with the handling of abstracts in leading-up to the conference, the oral sessions of the two linked symposia JSS02 and ST6 went off remarkably well. All oral papers were invited and were generally of a high standard, providing interesting overviews of the most significant progress in the area rather than infinite technical detail.

(ii) The poster part of the program was much less successful. Only about half of the scheduled posters were actually presented. Moreover, the parallel scheduling of the oral and poster sessions early in the conference, along with the considerable distance between the respective venues, conspired to limit the attention devoted to the posters. This will need more careful planning at future IUGG and IASPEI conferences.

Science Highlights

The invitations issued by the convenors were intended to provide a broad, interdisciplinary review of recent developments in our understanding of the physical and chemical behavior of the Earth's interior through direct observation and modelling of the structure and evolution of the planet, and through the application of the less direct methods of laboratory experiment and theory in mineral physics and geodynamics.

The Session began with an emphasis on geophysical observation, both from seismology and gemoagnetism. Busse (Bayreuth) and Roberts (Los Angeles) summarized the current understanding of planetary dynamos, both in general (symmetry-based) terms and by way of detailed numerical modelling. Garnero (Tempe), Helmberger's group (Pasadena) and Buffett (Vancouver) presented seismological and geodetic evidence of extreme heterogeneity associated with the core-mantle boundary region, raising the possibility that new methods may be required in order to faithfully analyze the seismological observations now being made on this region. The point was reinforced by Romanowicz (Berkeley), who presented evidence suggesting that some -- or perhaps much -- of the structure inferred for the inner core may in fact be due to anomalies at the base of the mantle or in the outermost core. Stixrude (Ann Arbor) and Nataf (Grenoble) described the close coupling of, respectively, quantum-mechanical modelling of mineral properties and geodynamical modelling of mantle flow with seismological observations in order to better understand core and mantle processes.

In the observational/modelling category, highlights included Takahashi's (Tokyo) assertion that certain basaltic magmas of the Columbia River and Hawaiian provinces are the result of partial melting not of peridotite but of eclogitic material. Masters (San Diego) reviewed progress in simultaneous tomographic inversion for bulk sound and shear wave speeds - with its potential to separate anomalies of thermal and compositional origin. Mitrovica (Toronto) discussed the consensus concerning the viscosity structure of the mantle that has emerged from analyses of glacial rebound data and changes in the Earth's rotation rate.

In Mineral/Rock Physics, progress in the measurement of elastic properties at transition- zone pressures and/or temperatures was reported by Brown (Seattle), Gwanmesia et al (Stony Brook) and Sinogeiken and Bass (Urbana). Low-frequency studies of the viscoelastic behavior relevant to seismic-wave dispersion and attenuation were discussed by Cooper and Gribb (Madison) and Tan et al (Canberra). Brodholt (London) described calculations of the energetics of vacancy formation in minerals, concluding that cation vacancies are typically protonated, with potentially important implications for diffusion and diffusion-controlled processes. R. Fehler (Mainz) presented new experimental data providing further support for the emerging consensus concerning the melting curve of iron to pressures beyond 100 GPa.

At the interface between Mineral Physics and Seismology/Geodynamics, Weidner and Wang (Stony Brook, Chicago) presented a detailed analysis of the influence of temperature and chemical composition (Si, Fe, Al etc.) on the olivine-wadsleyite and perovskite- forming phase transitions and hence on the structure and reflectivity of the associated seismic discontinuities. Karato (Minneapolis) discussed the influences of phase transformations on mantle rheology, with particular reference to the behavior of subducting slabs.

R. Jeanloz (USA)

JSS07: Anisotropy: From Mountain Building to Geodynamo (IASPEI, IAGA, IAVCEI, SEDI)

This session covered seismic anisotropy on a wide spectrum, ranging from anisotropy in the Earth's crust to anisotropy in its core, including theoretical and observational investigations. Oral presentations during this full-day session were complemented by a small poster session.

The day was started with a historical perspective of theoretical studies of seismic anisotropy, where Klauss Helbig (Germany) described developments over the past 100 years. Both observations and mechanisms for fracture-induced crustal anisotropy were then presented by Crampin (UK), Kobayashi and Nakanishi (Japan) and Qinghe and Aiguo (China). An alternative mechanism for anisotropy, that due to the lattice preferred orientation of crystals, was then discussed in a number of talks and posters on upper- mantle anisotropy. The tectonic settings ranged from hot spots (Russo and Silver (USA)) to subduction zones (Brisbourne et al. (UK)) to mountain belts (Mele (Italy), Dricker et al. (USA and Russia) and Viorica et al. (Romania, USA, Canada and France)). Evidence for mantle anisotropy comes from a number of different seismic datasets, for example, SKS phases as discussed by Russo and Silver, and Pn phases as discussed by Mele. The connection between surface-wave and body-wave observations was shown in talks by Montagner and Griot (France) and Brisbourne et al..

The afternoon was primarily devoted to talks on anisotropy in the deep mantle and core. Three mechanisms for core anisotropy were treated in talks on advances in both theoretical (Karato (USA) and Buffett (Canada)) and experimental (Bregman (USA)) investigations. Similarly, experimental advances in studies of mantle anisotropy due to LPO and melt alignment were discussed by Zimmerman et al. (USA) and Karato (USA). Finally, Stixrude discussed a pseudopotential method for predicting the elastic constants of deep mantle minerals, while Lloyd (UK) discussed the geodynamical implication of anisotropy in the deep mantle.

M. Kendall (UK), S. Karato (USA)



JSG11: Sea-Level Changes and Vertical Ground Movements (IAG, IAPSO, IASPEI, IAHS, ILP)

JSH12: Ice Sheets, Oceans and the Earth's Shape: Modern Perspectives on Sea Level Change (IAHS, IASPEI, IAG, IAPSO, IAMAS, CMG)

JSS13: Constraints on Global Mantle Circulation (IASPEI, IAGA, IAVCEI, SEDI)

JSG14: Insights into Earth System Science: Variations in the Earth's Rotation and its Gravitational Field (IAG, IAPSO, IAMAS, IASPEI, IAGA, IAHS)

JSA15: Electromagnetic Methods For Monitoring Earthquakes and Volcanic Eruptions (IAGA, IASPEI, IAVCEI)

JSA17: Mantle-Core Structure, Properties, Coupling, and the Geodynamo (IAGA, IASPEI, IAVCEI, SEDI)

JSA19: Geophysical Measurements Relevant to Hydrogeological Processes and Modelling (IAGA, IAHS, IASPEI, IAH)

JSV22: Oceanic, Continental and Continental Margin Volcanic Provinces: Oceanic Plateaus, Flood Basalts and Seaward-Dipping Reflectors (IAVCEI, IASPEI, IAGA, ILP)

JSP23: Geophysical Hazards and Risks: Predictability, Mitigation and Warning Systems (IAPSO, IASPEI, IAVCEI, IAHS, IAMAS, IAG, IAGA, IUGG Tsunami Commission, ILP)

Geophysical catastrophes, such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, floods, droughts, tsunamis, storm surges, wildfires, tropical cyclones and extreme weather events constitute major problems in many developing and developed countries. With the growth in world population, the increased resources in newly developing areas, and the increased cost and sophistication of engineering structures and technical installations, there is an urgent need to seek to understand the potential threats posed by natural hazards and to ascertain the best ways of mitigating the damaging effects. Much has been accomplished since the onset of the UN International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR). This Inter-Association Symposium sought to recognize the technical and scientific progress made during the last ten years in accomplishing the goals set forth for the Decade, including the application of known mitigation and preparedness approaches; and the developing scientific and engineering knowledge that offers substantial potential for improving disaster mitigation practices.

Mohammed El-Sabh (Canada)

JSP25: Ocean/Atmosphere Variability and Predictability (IAPSO, IAMAS, IAG)

JSA27: High-resolution Geophysical Studies of Mineralized Zones (IAGA, IASPEI)

JSV29: Magma physics versus volcano physics (IAVCEI, IASPEI)

JSV30: Arc Magmatic Rocks as Building Blocks for the Continents (IAVCEI, IASPEI, ILP)

JSS31: Geodetic Constraints on Tectonic Models (IASPEI, IAG)

JSV36: Understanding Volcanoes by Geodesy, Seismology, Electromagnetics and Geochemistry (IAVCEI, IAGA, IASPEI, IAG, IAMAS, ILP)

JSA37: Earth's Gravity and Magnetic Fields From Space (IAGA, IAG, IASPEI, SCOSTEP)

JSA38: The Signature of Large-Body Impacts on Earth (IAGA, IASPEI, IAHS, ILP)

JSA40: Solid Earth Geophysical Data Fusion and Analysis Methods (IAGA, IASPEI, IAG)

JSM41: The Contribution of Satellite Observations to Global Climate, Ocean, and Terrestrial Monitoring (IAMAS, IAPSO, IAG, IASPEI, IAVCEI, IAHS)

JSS42: Tsunami Observations, Modelling and Hazard Reduction (IASPEI, IAPSO, IAVCEI, IUGG Tsunami Commission)

The Inter-Association Symposium JSS42 was held on July 29 and 30, 1999. Altogether 57 papers were presented in four oral and one poster sessions by 36 participants from 12 countries. All sessions were well attended with about 55-60 people on average in the room. The oral presentations were grouped in the following four thematic sessions:

Tsunami Mitigation and Hazard Reduction (8 papers) Tsunami Generation and Seismotectonics (9 papers) Historical and Contemporary Observations (12 papers) Physical and Numerical Modeling (8 papers)

On the "Tsunami Mitigation and Hazard Reduction" Session one of the key papers was presented by E.Bernard (USA) who summarized the Tsunami Commission's contribution to the IDNDR to develop an internationally accepted methodology to produce tsunami flooding maps. He described actions of Professour Shuto (Japan) who converted his numerical models into operational formats and established a training program at Tohoku University with support from Japan and the IOC. As a result of his efforts scientists from 14 institutes have used these models during the IDNDR to produce over 70 tsunami flooding maps in 9 countries. On the "Tsunami Generation and Seismotectonics" Session the focus was given to the problem of landslide-generated tsunamis. In the number of papers it was demonstrated that this mechanism could play the leading role in several recent destructive Pacific tsunamis (Flores, 1992; Okushiri, 1993; Java, 1994, Papua New Guinea 1998). Estimates obtained in the paper presented by V. Gusiakov (Russia) show that the landslide generation mechanism can be responsible for at least 30% of tsunamigenic events occurred in the Pacific from 1900 to 1999. In papers presented by Imamura (Japan), Tinti (Italy), Rabinovich (Canada) new numerical modeling techniques were proposed that help to explain some observed features of landslide generated tsunamis. On the "Historical and Contemporary Observations" session several papers were devoted to the study of geological traces of paleotsunamis. This is a powerful method allowing to extend the observational data set beyond the relatively short historical period and thus provide more reliable estimates for the long-term tsunami risk for particular sites on the Pacific and the Mediterranean coast. In the paper presented by K.Satake (Japan) sedimentary features of modern tsunami deposits are examined to characterize tsunami and storm deposits, as well as documenting many prehistoric tsunami deposits on the Pacific coast of Hokkaido. On the "Physical and Numerical Modeling" session an interesting paper was presented by V.Titov (USA) where supreme numerical models and state-of-the-art animation technique were used for the modeling of trans-Pacific propagation of Alaskian tsunamis. This numerical study was conducted in an effort to develop tsunami forecasting tools complementing the DART (deep ocean tsunami detection) project of PMEL. A set of tsunami simulation scenarios was designed to form a model- result database that can be used for the offshore tsunami forecasting. Due to the excellent technical facilities of the presentation room (101LT in the Howarth Building) many papers were accompanied with the computer presentations, real-time Internet connections and video demonstrations.

V. Gusiakov (Russia)

JSS44: Structure of the Continental Lithosphere from Integrated Geophysical, Geological and Geochemical Studies (IASPEI, IAVCEI, IAGA, IAMAS, ILP)

The oral session on July 29 (AM) began at 9:30; eight presentations were scheduled. Focus was on studies from India, western United States and central Canada. The session started on time, but with relatively small attendance, improving somewhat during the session. One scheduled presentation (JSS44/E/04 by T. Radhakrishna and G. Balasubramoniam) was a "no show". The slot was filled by an alternate presentation by Walter Mooney (USA) and co-authors on the topic "Global lithospheric thickness from heat flow studies and seismological constraints". The session was well received by those present. The oral session on July 29 (PM) began on time at 14:00; eleven presentations were scheduled. Focus was on studies from eastern Canada, Europe and Eurasia. The scheduled presentation at 15:00 had been withdrawn in advance, and replaced with a presentation by Doug Finlayson (Australia), for which the title and abstract were available because the paper (JSS44/L/07-B4) was scheduled originally as a poster. The scheduled presentation at 17:20 was withdrawn. Two short presentations, one by I.T. Kukkonen and Peltonen (Finland) and one by K.K. Roy (India) filled the time slot. Attendance for this session was somewhat less than in the morning session. I believe the presentations were well received by those present. The poster session was scheduled for July 29 (AM and PM). Forty-four posters were in the program. Many of the posters had been contributed for oral presentation, but with the limited openings available for same, they were converted to posters. The oral session on July 30 (AM) began at 08:30. Ron Clowes was Presiding Chair in place of Laust Pedersen, who was not able to be present on the last day.

R. Clowes (Canada)

JSS46: Seismic Tomography on Volcanoes and Volcanic Fields (IASPEI, IAVCEI)

This session attracted a large and enthusiastic audience. There were many senior scientists present, as well as students, which made for an excellent body of participants. There were ample oral contributions to fill a whole-day session, and it was a pleasure to convene. The session broadly proceeded along the following lines:

  1. Quantification of melt properties
  2. Observations interpreted as magma
  3. Interpretation of Vp/Vs anomalies
  4. Observation of Vp/Vs anomalies
  5. Anisotropy
  6. Vesuvius
  7. Japan

The first presentation dealt with a theoretical basis for interpreting tomography results in terms of melt. This talk set the stage for the next - a regional teleseismic study of the Hoggar Swell, Algeria. The session then moved on to specific volcanoes, and the standard of presentations was high. Most work went beyond simple velocity tomography experiments and incorporated either advanced computer techniques such as checker-board resolution tests, or scientific objectives of unusual interest, such as attempts to capture time-variations in Earth structure using repeat tomography. The third talk described imaging of the Bandai volcano, NE Japan. The most prominent result there was the imaging of clear, high-velocity bodies. This appears to be a regular feature of volcanoes, which are often studied in the expectation and hope of detecting a low-velocity body that might indicate a magma chamber. However, it is not so surprising in hindsight, to observe high-velocity bodies at sites of repeated intrusive activity over time periods that may stretch to millions of years.

A pair of talks focusing on The Geysers geothermal area followed, describing the current state of a mature project to perform repeat tomography to monitor industrial depletion of the reservoir. This work promises to provide physical constraints on the behaviour of Vp and Vp/Vs with known, changing physical parameters of the study volume. The session then passed on to the Kilauea and the Long Valley active volcanoes. The Kilauea work described a superb result of high-resolution (0.5-km) tomography that revealed a Vp low, coinciding with a Vp/Vs high, with values of over 2.0! This is perhaps the most convincing evidence for a tomographically imaged magma chamber ever obtained. The Long Valley talk described a Vp/Vs low that was interpreted as a gas accumulation. The morning session ended with a talk giving an example of the relatively new anisotropy tomography, in this case applied to the Coso geothermal area, California.

The afternoon session was dominated by Vesuvius, which has been heavily studied recently using a suite of different seismic methods applied in major projects, some with large multinational teams. Active source tomography, using land and/or sea shots and profiles for first arrival time tomography, seismic wave velocity and attenuation was described. The methodological suite described widened with talks describing a joint interpretation of gravity and seismic tomography, and an earthquake data base. The amount and quality of work done recently on Vesuvius was impressive. This work also served to underline that the surge of modern methods and instrumentation provide a wealth of new scientific capabilities that may increase our understanding of even long-studied targets. The session then moved on to teleseismic work done in the Jemez volcanic field and concluded with two excellent talks describing active source tomography of the Rabaul Volcano.

The poster session was equally well attended, with packed aisles, much vigorous discussion and many pleasurable and potentially valuable new personal introductions. Several posters on Vesuvius and the Campanian volcanic area supported the oral presentations. A poster describing the shallow structure of Stromboli from surface wave dispersion was also presented, providing for a very strong, and very welcome, presence of work focusing on Italian volcanoes. Two posters describing work done in Japan completed the session, one of which described the methodologically unusual diffraction and emission tomography.

G. R. Foulger (UK)

JSV47: Volcano Seismology (IAVCEI, IASPEI)

JSA48: Characterization of the Lithosphere- Asthenosphere Boundary (IAGA, IAVCEI, IASPEI, ILP)

Inter-Association Workshops

JWS33: New Approaches to Data Collection, Data Processing and Data Dissemination (IASPEI, IAGA, IAHS, IAG, IAPSO, SCOSTEP)

Simple and comfortable access to the results of international and national geophysical observations is a very important component for the success of most geophysical studies. New technologies, such as INTERNET, optical disks, GIS, expert systems, artificial intelligence etc., allow the development of new approaches to data collection, data processing and data dissemination. This inter-disciplinary session will focus: on the analysis of tendencies of development of new technologies of data storage, data processing and data dissemination; on formulation of the strategy of availability of the results of geophysical observations for international geophysical community; on the problem of quality of disseminated data.

Fourteen oral reports and twenty-two posters were presented at the Workshop. Problems discussed in the reports can be divided into 4 groups: 1) the application of INTERNET techniques to establishing remote access systems to distributed information resources; 2) creation of thematic sites and databases; 3) systems of geophysical data collection and data processing; 4) some problems of processing and interpretation.

The reports that may be ascribed to the first group emphasize that modern INTERNET technique allow new approaches to the creation of global system of collection, processing and dissemination of data on the earth sciences. These approaches are based on the virtual (logical) problem-oriented network. Modern software makes convenient tools for linking new information resources (databases, remote processing facilities, electronic publications and others) to the network and provides an access of remote users to those distributed resources . An owner defines a level of access to the resource (free, by password or of-line request) and manages its information resource independently of virtual network administrator. Special robot regularly analyzed all changes of information resources of the network and updated user's list of available resources. Besides, in such network its informational ecology state (quality of information resources) is easily regulated, for example, by reviewing newly connected resources. Russian Virtual Geonet was discussed as an example of realization of this conception. Some aspects of this approach were discussed in the report devoted to the problems of seismological data centers network establishment. The problems of remote on-line intelligent geophysical and geological data analysis as a tool of virtual network were also discussed. New directions in NASA Earth science enterprise data management were report ed.

The reports of second group includes descriptions of thematic sites and databases on geodesy, seismology, physics of the earth's interior, oceanology, glaciology, geomagnetism and aeronomy. Most of data centers, universities, and research institutes manage WEB sites today and new innovative methods were actively discussed that enrich data and information delivery on the WEB site. The descriptions of few new geophysical databases on CD ROM were presented on workshop. Description of geophysical (seismological, geomagnetic, ionosphere) systems of observation was discussed in few reports. Japanese scientists reported the system of scanning and digitizing of analog magnetograms. Realization of this project allows them to organize an analog magnetogram service through Internet. It was emphasize that 4-D presentation of geological and geophysical data is important for many geophysical studies. Some results in this direction were presented on poster session. A few reports were devoted to the problems of data interpretation. In particular, multifractal approach to the analysis of geomagnetic data was reported.

The main lessons of the workshop are:

  • The WEB site technologies are the most widespread tool today for geophysical data collection, processing and dissemination but new virtual network technologies are developing as a next level of service of distributed information resources.
  • Remote on-line intelligent geophysical and geological data analysis as a tool of virtual network is very important for geophysical application.
  • 4-D presentation of geological and geophysical data is important for many geophysical studies.
  • CD-ROM technologies are widely used for a long-term storage and for dissemination of large volume of data but many large geophysical databases are available today in on-line regime.
  • We are faced the problem that from one side a lot of geodetic, geophysical and geological data are available today via INTERNET and from the other side we have no a simple on-line system that provides scientists with more or less complete information about these data.

Yuri S. Tyupkin

JWA34: Long Term Ocean Bottom Geophysical Observatories (IAGA, IASPEI)

Association Symposia


At the meeting of the Executive Committee in Thessaloniki it was decided that for the Association programme at the 1999 IUGG General Assembly there should be a call for papers under seven major themes. The organization of submitted papers into topical sessions was made entirely from these submissions. The individual topical sessions were therefore organized in response to the papers submitted.

The following seven major Themes were identified:

  • The Nature of Seismic Sources and the Prediction of Earthquakes
  • Seismotectonics
  • Strong Ground Motion, Earthquake Hazard and Risk
  • Earth Structure and Geodynamics
  • Seismological Observation and Interpretation
  • Physics and Chemistry of Earth Materials
  • Education and Outreach in the 21st Century

In addition to these Symposia, the generation of Workshops involving close interaction by a small group was encouraged and the Association made space available for such activities.

ST1: The Nature of Seismic Sources and the Prediction of Earthquakes

This was a very successful symposium where a total of 60 or so presentation and 128 posters were scheduled. The papers were presented under the following topics:

  1. Quantitative testing of hypotheses of precursors
  2. Earthquake nucleation to dynamic rapture
  3. Triggered/induced earthquakes
  4. Space-time patterns of seismicity and related field
  5. Earthquakes predictions.

Studies on earthquake precursors have advanced beyond the identification of case histories to the stage of hypothesis testing as well as testing the physical model of the seismogenic process. There is an increasing recognition of the need to advance and test specific quantitative hypotheses of the relation between proposed precursory occurrences and subsequent earthquakes. Most of the hypotheses are based on precursory seismicity patterns. Others include ground water chemistry and electromagnetic signals etc. Only a few hypothesis have so far been advanced to the stage of real time performance testing.

Advances are being made in understanding earthquake nucleation and dynamic rupture. 2D and 3D numerical simulation of spontaneous earthquake rupture are becoming more common. Most of these simulations assume earthquake occurring on a single fault plane in a homogeneous media which is far from reality. There are increasing evidences that earthquake rupture at crustal depths is a mixed process between frictional slip failure and fracture of intact rock mass. Large earthquakes in and around Japan have been simulated with a model incorporating interactions between inter- and intra-plate faults.

New cases of artificial water reservoir induced and mining induced seismicity were presented. Koyna-Warna site of induced earthquakes in western India is a unique site. 21 boreholes have been drilled and water levels are monitored to examine causal relation between induced earthquakes and water level changes in the wells.

Several presentations addressed space-time patterns of seismicity. A three stage model of seismogenic faulting (crack formation, fracture and healing) represents a major earthquake as a part of a complex long-term seismicity anomaly, was presented. Space-time patterns of large earthquakes in several geographical locations were discussed.

A variety of technologies and methodologies to approach the problem of earthquake prediction were presented. Analysis of seismicity patterns preceding earthquakes appears to be promising. There are a few ongoing experiments consisting of multidisciplinary observations at sites of earthquakes. Several forecasts lack statistical rigour and validation.

One of the highlights of the symposium was a Panel Discussion where eleven panelists were invited from all lover the world to give their views on present day knowledge on earthquake prediction and related studies and what needs to be done in the first decade of the next millennium. Opinions differed considerably, but there was a sense of optimism. It appears that for certain less complicated and isolated tectonic regimes medium size earthquakes would be forecasted in space and time with useful accuracy.

The attendance through out the 3 days of oral presentations was very good, being in excess of 150. The posters drew equal attention and interest.

Harsh Gupta (India), G.A. Sobolov (Russia), J. Zschau (Germany)

ST2: Seismotectonics

The time schedule of the ST02 session was held according to the program, except for some minor changes. The session was held on Wednesday (AM-PM), Thursday (AM- PM) and Friday (AM) on the 21, 22 and 23 of July. However, the session faced several problems, related mainly to the large number of withdrawn papers, with the majority of cases corresponding to authors from Asia and Africa. Perhaps IUGG and IASPEI should look into these cancellations and their possible causes related either to limited financial support or organizational (e.g. Visa) problems for future conferences.

Oral sessions

For the majority of the withdrawn cases no withdrawal notice had been supplied by the authors, despite the fact that a few cases some of them attended the conference! For the 5 oral parts of the session (Wednesday AM & PM, Thursday AM & PM and Friday AM) the presentation participation varied between 40 to 70%. In total, 33 Oral papers were presented (3 moved from the poster session) and 27 papers were withdrawn.

Poster session

The poster session had more problems related to the number of withdrawn posters. Only 6 (out of 32) posters were presented and 2 more were moved to oral sessions. Some organization problems concerning the time that the posters should be put up were also observed. Moreover, the parallel presentation of oral and poster papers limited the attendance of the displayed posters.

In general the oral session was attended by an average audience of 20-50 people. Unfortunately, the large number of withdrawn papers and the parallel ST01 session did not allow a larger audience to attend. However, the Thursday afternoon (Mediterranean) and Friday morning (N.America/Fennoscandia) sessions were more widely attended, reaching an audience of 70-80 people.

The Wednesday morning session included topics of broad scientific interest, with 8 oral presentations. The most interesting presentations were given by Jonathan Lees who presented preliminary results from a new network in the Kamtchatka slab area, while Yoshiteru Kono commented on the interpretation of a residual gravity anomalies and their correlation with seismogenic structures. Similar results on the correlation of velocity gradient areas with seismogenic regions were presented by Sun Ruomei. Moreover, Takeshi Sagiya reported on the space- and time-modelling of crustal deformation for subduction zone areas.

The Wednesday afternoon which was focussed in the tectonics of Asia, was characterized by the very diverse approaches used by various researchers for the study of seismotectonics. Amy Brown reported on the behaviour of earthquake swarms in stable continental regions, using examples mainly from Australia and their possible correlation to the presence of granitic bodies in these areas. Srinivasan presented his results about the correlation of Helium flux and seismic faults, using several examples from India. The presented results confirmed the possibility of identifying "hidden" fault traces from such measurments in several cases. Finally, Sridevi Jade reported on the preliminary GPS results for the India-Eurasia collision zone, as well as initial estimates for the slip-rate of the Karakoram faults derived from the same data. On Thursday the morning talks were concentrated in the broader Anatolia region and the geotectonic implications of its position, as a transition area from Asia to Europe. Tuncay Taymaz reported on the source parameters of large earthquakes from eastern Anatolia and the Caucasus region derived from waveform modelling. Moreover, he commented on the tectonic interpretation of these large earthquakes and their relation with the general tectonic models proposed for the area. Nazide Ozer presented seismological and geophysical data used for the study of the NE-SE fault system in the North Anatolia Fault zone in the Adapazari area.

Thursday afternoon was one of the most active sessions with many papers reporting on the active tectonics of the Mediterranean area. Eleni Louvari presented a large data-base of collected and compiled fault plane solutions of small to large earthquakes for the Aegean area and provided a qualitative model of transpressional tectonics in order to explain their distribution in the Aegean area. For the same area, Costas Papazachos presented a new model for the active deformation field based on the combined use of seismological and GPS data, with an emphasis on the computation of the spatial distribution of the seismic-to-total deformation ratio. The Vrancea subduction region also attracted a lot of attention: Friedemann Wenzel presented a new tectonic model for the interpretation of the behaviour of the Vrancea Benioff zone, while Alik Ismail-Zadeh presented a numerical elastic model for the same area in an attempt to model the intermediate-depth seismicity in the area. Moving further west, Peter Suhadolc reported on the active faults and the fault-plane solutions defined for the Alps-Dinarides junction (Italy-Slovenia border). Finally three presentations focussed on the Iberian peninsula and neighboring regions. Udias presented a compilation of the available data and tectonic models for the Betics and the Alboran sea, while Mezcua examined the tectonic situation in NW Spain (Hercynian belt). Also, Fitas reported on preliminary results about the seismicity and the fault-plane solutions for southern Portugal using data from a new, recently installed, seismological network.

The Friday morning session had the largest participation with significant interaction between the speakers and the audience. The session was mostly devoted to the tectonics of North and Central America and Fennoscandia. Vladimir Keilis-Borok presented new ideas about the effect of the structure of the tectonic block/fault systems in controlling the dynamic behaviour of seismicity with a special emphasis in the role of fault intersections. Robert Dziak presented interesting new results about the seismicity distribution in the Northeast Pacific based on measurements from a hydro-acoustic network and its correlation with the spreading centers and transform faults in this area. Kinya Nishigami reported on the distribution of scatterers determined using coda-wave analysis in the San- Andreas fault area and showed that most M6-7 events tend to nucleate close to such strong scatterers. Hauksson presented new results concerning the crustal structure of southern California using travel-time tomography and commented on the correlation of the various features identified in these results (horizontal velocity gradients, etc.) with the active tectonics of the area. Ronnie Quintero presented focal mechanisms and seismicity results from the Costa Rica seismological network and examined their correlation and possible discrepancies with the tectonic models proposed for the area. John Ebel presented an overview of the tectonic situation in Northeastern United States. Moving further north, Ranalli presented an extensive description of the behaviour of the Charlevoix seismic zone near Quebec-Canada by the use of seismicity and fault-plane solution data but also by the incorporation of information about the thermomechanical behaviour of the crust in this area. For the Fennoscandia area, Bungum presented two papers on the recent ideas about the seismotectonics in this area but also on the "older" neotectonic information currently collected and compiled under a new research project. Hicks focussed on the seismotectonics of the Norwegian continental margin. The main emphasis of the paper was the study of the Rana area (N. Norway) by the use of data from a local network which revealed that the local stress field showed significant deviations from the regional stress pattern. Finally Nils-Axel Moerner presented detailed information about the seismotectonic activity related to the deglaciation period: various strong events have been identified around 9 to 12 thousand years but evidence was presented for more recent (~3500years) strong events, posing important questions related to the long-term deposition of high-level nuclear waste in Sweden.

C. Papazachos (Greece)

ST3: Strong Ground Motion, Earthquake Hazard and Risk (Linked to U4, U5, JSP23 and JSS42)

The Session ST3 received totally about 120 papers and organized five oral presentations sessions for sixty-eight papers and one-day poster presentation for other forty-five contributions. There were 7 authors absent to the conference and their presentations were cancelled.

Generally, all the presented contributions in both oral and poster mode appeared better quality in scientific and technical sense as well as in their demonstration way than any previous IUGG or IASPEI conferences.

With strong interests of the participants, the oral presentation sessions were well attended, in particular for some earlier sessions, by approximately 90-110 participants, and for later sessions, probably due to approaching to the end of the Assembly, by about 30-40 participants. The session was attended approx. by 30 to 40 IUGG participants. A discussion to each presentation followed always just after its oral delivery. The discussions were rich, usually three to five questions or comments were asked or stated. Generally, it has to be pointed out that there are still a great of interests for earthquake strong-ground motion, and earthquake hazard/risk problems lasted in recent seismological society.

Thematically the following topics seem the most interesting and to be focused for further studies or discussion in the recent future IASPEI meetings:

a) Interpretation and implication of earthquake strong ground motions; b) Characteristics of near source ground motion, both horizontal and vertical components; c) Site Effects on earthquake ground motion; d) Attenuation curve of peak ground motion in area with few strong-motion records; e) Regional earthquake hazard/risk assessment; f) Problems of recurrence time of earthquakes; g) Earthquake potential of seismoactive zones; h) Seismic loss estimation for urban area; i) Methodological aspects of the probabilistic and deterministic approach;

Xie-Li-Li (China)

ST4: Earth Structure and Geodynamics (Linked to UL2, JSS07, JSS13, JSA17, JSS44 and JSA48)

Over 150 abstracts were submitted to this topic and were organised into four sessions:

  • Thermal Structure (1/2 day)
  • Crustal Structure and Dynamics (1/2 day)
  • Mantle Structure and Dynamics (1-1/2 days)
  • Slabs and Plumes (1/2 day)

Each oral session was accompanied by a poster session. With the advice from the Program Group we were able to achieve a well integrated program in which structural studies and geodynamic issues were represented in the same session.

The attendance in the various sessions was quite good. An unfortunate clash with a session on thermal studies and climate in IAMAS reduced numbers in the Thermal Studies session with numbers between 30 and 50. In the remaining sessions the numbers were at least 50 with nearly 100 present at times.

A number of late cancellations produced some perturbations to the coherence of the program but the gaps were used to extend poster viewing and also to provide valuable discussion periods.

The sessions on mantle structure produced considerable interest and there was fortunately only limited overlap with the material covered in a number of joint Association Symposia (although a couple of authors presented very similar papers to those in earlier sessions). In particular there was a set of presentations on migration methods for understanding structure in D" as a contrast to tomographic methods.

The broad spectrum of studies covered in the session gave a good picture of the diversity of current work with many good presentation and a high quality of discussion.

The sessions were ably chaired by I. Kukkonen, W. Mooney, M. Bostock, .H. Davies and G. Hellfrich.

B L N Kennett (Australia)

ST5: Seismological Observation and Interpretation (Linked to U7, U8, JWA34 and JSA40)

Scope of this session was to provide a review of advancements in all fields related to the observation and interpretation of seismological data. Seismology has its roots in observations of earthquakes and earthquake-generated ground motions. The worldwide system of seismograph stations envisioned by the pioneers of the science is now a reality, a reality that is frequently upgraded and expanded as technology improves. However, the high-quality data being produced by these stations are of little value until they have been brought together for analysis and the results of these primary analyses made available to all researchers and users of seismological information. This requires well-equipped data centers that can carry out the determination of the times, locations, magnitudes, and other general characteristics of the events; archive the results of these analyses in accessible form; and provide a mechanism by which these results and the original data are distributed. Looking toward the 21st Century, the primary IASPEI emphasis in evaluating new approaches to acquiring, processing, and distributing seismological data is the automatic performance of traditional tasks in as close to real time as current technology permits.

During the early decades of seismology, data were interpreted on the basis of a model of the Earth in which the materials were assumed to be elastically isotropic and physical properties were assumed to vary only with depth. The quality of modern data and the state of the applicable theory have now advanced to the point that the use of these simplifying assumptions is neither necessary nor acceptable. The properties of materials in the real Earth vary in three dimensions and are anisotropic in part. Wave propagation in earth material is the basis for the extraction and interpretation of the information contained in recordings of ground motion. The development of approaches to seismic modeling and interpretation problems in complex, interrelated earth structures requires intensive computation and has benefited greatly from advances in computer technology.

Abstracts were contributed in many topics and grouped in six independent half-day sessions, each with oral presentations and an extended coffee-break (at least 1 hour) for poster viewing. The following list includes titles, number of presentations and chairmen for all sessions:

  • Wed 28 AM ST5: Networks chair T. vanEck 24 presentations
  • Wed 28 PM ST5: Techniques chair Y.T. Chen 15 presentations
  • Thu 29 AM ST5: Theory chair S. Tsuboi 15 presentations
  • Thu 29 PM ST5: Earthquakes chair G. Gibson 17 presentations
  • Fri 30 AM ST5: Applications chair D. Giardini 23 presentations
  • Fri 30 PM ST5: Low frequency chair J. Park 6 presentations

With few exceptions, the quality of the presentations was high, both in the oral and poster sessions. Despite this, the attendance to the oral sessions was less than anticipated, due to overlapping sessions in the Union and within the same IASPEI sessions. The attendance to the poster sessions was better because of the concentration of all seismological posters in the same hall. The organization of separate sub-sessions with joint oral and poster sessions proven instead successful. Possible suggestions for improvement include avoiding overlaps for in timing and in program with the inter-association and Union events, and make extensive use of posters.

D. Giardini (Switzerland)

ST6: Physics and Chemistry of Earth Materials (Linked to JSS02)

ST7: Education and Outreach in the 21st Century (Linked to UL3 and U1)

The symposium ST7 comprised of two half-day oral sessions and one poster session and was attended by about 40 people. The morning session was chaired by Valiya M. Hamza (Brazil) and Willie H.K. Lee (U.S.A.). Peter Bormann (Germany) and Graziano Ferrari (Italy) chaired the afternoon session.

Eight out of ten scheduled papers were presented in the morning session, the absentees being Z. Wu (China) and L. Alfonsi (Italy). In addition, the Education Committee chairman W.H.K. Lee provided an overview of the IASPEI project "International Handbook of Earthquake and Engineering Seismology".

In the afternoon session, only three out of seven scheduled papers were presented due to the absence of N.V. Koronovsky (Russia), K.S. Murty (India), H.N. Srivastava (India) and Phan-Trong Trinh (Vietnam). The remaining time was used for presentation of two unscheduled papers "Development of seismological observatories in the UK" by R. Musson and "Geoscience and the Media" by Anna Grayson. Also, an oral introduction to the poster "Natural Hazards Education on the Web" was presented by A.M. Hittelman (U.S.A.).

In the complementary poster session, six out of eight scheduled posters were presented. It was felt that at least three of these should have been given orally as well, since they could have made use of the existing facilities with access to Internet for live demonstrations. These papers are: "School seismic network in Europe by schools for schools" by Berenguer et al, "Educational Network of the Geological Faculty of the Moscow State University" by P.Pletchov and D. Koshchug and "Vesuvius 2000 educational activities for security culture" by F. Dobran et al.

The convenors of this symposium consider the majority of oral and poster presentations suitable for publication. Dr. Ebel, Editor of the Seismological Research Letters (SRL) of the Seismological Society of America, was contacted concerning this matter. This initiative had a positive response and it was suggested that some related contributions from U.S. authors could also be included in the special issue, complementing manuscripts of ST7. V.M. Hamza and P. Bormann would take the responsibility as guest-editors for this issue and will invite authors of ST7 contributions to submit their manuscripts by the end of the year for review. The set of reviewed papers is to be sent to SRL by spring of year 2000.

Five out of fourteen oral presentations used on-line access to existing web pages and real- time demonstrations of a variety of Internet resources, including dynamic simulations. It was a clear indication of rapid developments taking place world-wide, in internet-based educational and training material for geoscience education. This process has far-reaching implications and should be promoted within IASPEI, by providing opportunities for appropriate meetings, workshops and symposia, where relevant initiatives and products can be discussed, demonstrated and exchanged. In this context, it may be convenient to setup two specific sub-commissions within the Committee on Education: (1) for public information and outreach through internet, and (2) for further development of teaching and software materials making use of internet resources. These sub-commissions are expected to work closely with the two existing sub-commissions on training and on historical seismology.

In summary, the convenors feel that the response of the international geo-scientific community to the activities and topics discussed in ST7 symposium has been positive and remarkably favorable.

P. Bormann (Germany), V. M. Hamza (Brazil), W.H.K. Lee (USA)

Association Workshops

SW1: New Systematic Approaches in Seismic Hazard and Earthquake Prediction Research

Workshop focussed on emerging systematic methods which could improve a state of understanding of the physical processes responsible for the peculiarities of the distribution of earthquakes in space and time. Special attention was paid to new information technologies for developing information models of static and dynamic properties of seismotectonic process.

There were the following two main directions in presented papers:

  • New systematic methods for statistical estimation and analysis of relationships between geophysical measurements and seismotectonic manifestations,
  • New results of application of systematic methods in seismic hazard and earthquake prediction research.

In the first part of papers a new method of estimation of Mmax of earthquakes was presented; an electromagnetic model of fault was suggested to estimate the relationship between nitrogen oxide concentration in atmosphere and large earthquakes; a set of new indices describing spatial-energy variability of acoustic and seismic sequences were offered and it was shown that the offered indices are especially sensitive to spatial-energy variability of acoustic process in rock sample destruction.

In the second part of papers new results on development and application of GeoTime computer environment to space-time analysis of earthquake precursors in Greece and in China were presented; application of statistical methods and pattern recognition approach to seismic hazard assessment in India and Italy; an application of single-link cluster method to study space and time earthquake distribution and a software package for detection of operative earthquake precursors by low-frequency foregoing seismic signals were discussed; seismic hazard and economy losses assessment methodology and practical applications for European regions were presented; new results on analytical analysis of relationship between latitude distribution of seismicity and the earth rotation was given.

V. Gitis (Russia), D. Rhoades (New Zealand

Other Meetings

Inter-Association Commissions

IA1: IASPEI/IAVCEI Joint Commission on Physical and Chemical Properties of Materials of the Earth's Interior

IA2: IASPEI/IAPSO/IAVCEI Inter-Association Commission on Tsunamis

IA3: IASPEI/IAVCEI Inter-Association Commission on Volcano Seismology

Association Commissions

C1: Commission on Controlled Source Seismology

C2: Commission on Earthquake Hazard and Prediction

C3: Commission on Geodynamics and Tectonophysics

C4: International Heat Flow Commission

C6: Commission on Practice

C7: Commission on Wave Propagation

C8: European Seismological Commission

C9: Federation of Digital Broadband Seismograph Networks

FDSN Working Group I on Siting and Instrumentation (Joint with ORFEUS)

FDSN Working Group III on Software Coordination (Joint with ORFEUS)

FDSN Executive Committee Meeting (Closed)

FDSN General Meeting #1

FDSN Working Group II on Data Centers and Data Exchange

FDSN Working Group IV on CTBT Issues

FDSN Working Group IV on CTBT Issues

FDSN Working Group I on Siting and Instrumentation (Joint with ORFEUS)

FDSN General Meeting #2

C10: Commission for International Decade for Disaster Reduction

C11: Committee for Developing Countries

C13: Committee on Education

C15: Asian Seismological Commission

Association Sub-Commissions

SC21: Sub-Commission on Earthquake Hazard and Risk (Earthquake Hazard and Prediction)

SC22: Sub-Commission on Earthquake Prediction (Earthquake Hazard and Prediction)

SC23: Sub-Commission on Modelling the Earthquake Source (Earthquake Hazard and Prediction)

SC24: Sub-Commission on Srong Motion Seismology (Earthquake Hazard and Prediction)

SC72: Sub-Commission on Heterogeneity (Wave Propagation)

SC81: Sub-Commission on Training (Education)

SC82: Sub-Commission on History (Education)

Association Working Groups

WG20: Working Group on Seismic Risk and Loss Estimation (Earthquake Hazard and Prediction)

WG62: Working Group on Regionalisation (Practice)

WG63: Working Group on Manual of Seismological Observatory Practice (Practice)

WG66: Working Group on International Centers (Practice)

Special Interest Groups

SIG0: IGCP Project 428: Climate and Boreholes


ORFEUS Execom Business Meeting (Closed)

ORFEUS Board of Directors Meeting (Closed)

ORFEUS Working Group 1 on Station Siting (Joint with FDSN)

ORFEUS Working Group 2 on Technical Support (Joint with FDSN)

ORFEUS Work Meeting

ORFEUS Working Group 2 on Technical Support (Joint with FDSN)

SIG3: UNESCO/IGCP Project 414: Realistic Modeling of Seismic Input for Magacities and Large Urban Areas

SIG9: Workshop on Bathymetry and Coastal Topography Data Management

SIG10: UNESCO/IGCP Project 382: Seismotectonic and Seismic Hazard Assessment in the Mediterranean Region (SESAME)

Closing Plenary Session

29 July 1999

Present: Prof. Claude Froidevaux (President) in the Chair and about 300 delegates and guests.

The President opened the meeting at 1800 and welcomed participants.

President's Report

The President reviewed the scientific goals of the Association He reported that, since our last IUGG General Assembly at Boulder in 1995, IASPEI has held a General Assembly at Thessaloniki, Greece in 1997 that was attended by more than 1050 participants. He also noted IASPEI sponsored meetings of the European Seismological Commission (ESC) at Reykjavik, Iceland, in 1996 (400 participants) and at Tel Aviv, Israel, in 1998 (270 participants), and of the Asian Seismological Commission (ASC) at Tangshan, China, in 1996 (280 participants) and at Hyderabad, India, in 1998 (150 participants. These first gatherings of ASC obviously filled a real need.

The President reported that other events of note held during the last quadrennial included IASPEI sponsored IDNDR meetings held in Central Asia and Chile, meetings of inter- association commissions, training courses with IASPEI participation, and preparations for the IASPEI Handbook.

Secretary-General's Report

Dr. E.R. Engdahl (Secretary-General) reported that the IASPEI Bureau met at Beijing in 1996 and at Hyderabad in 1998.He also noted that most items to report have already been published in IASPEI Newsletters or on the IASPEI Home Page. Other items would be covered in later points on the agenda

Financial Statement and Discharge of Accounts

The Association's Accounts and Financial Report for the period 1995-1998 were presented by Dr. E.R. Engdahl (Treasurer). He noted that major sources of income during this period were IUGG Allocations ($95K), Grants & Contracts ($123K), and Sales of Publications ($55K). Major expenditures were Administration ($62K), as well as General Assemblies and other scientific meetings ($229K). Investments and Reserves, as well as the Doornbos Fund which is managed by IASPEI, were maintained at recommended levels.

Dr. Adams, Chairman of the Audit Committee, then gave a brief report. On examination of the accounts presented by the Treasurer for the period 1995-1998, the committee found that the statement of accounts represents fairly the Association's financial position and transactions during the period. Finding the Association's finances to be in a healthy state and the level of reserves and investments satisfactory, the committee gave the Treasurer discharge.

Union Activities

The President reported on the results of the IUGG elections. The new IUGG officers are President - Masaru Kono (Japan), Vice-President - Uri Shamir (Israel), Secretary General - JoAnn Joselyn (USA) and Treasurer - Aksel Hansen (Denmark) . New Bureau Members are Junyong Chen (China), Harsh Gupta (India) and Vere Shannon (South Africa). IASPEI is thus pleased to see one of its Vice-Presidents now in office in this IUGG Bureau.

The venue for the next IUGG General Assembly will be Sapporo, Japan.

Association Activities

The Secretary-General announced the following Chairs of IASPEI Commissions, Committees, and other affiliated bodies during 1995-1999:

  • Inter-Association Commission on Physics and Chemistry of Mantle Materials (with IAVCEI): D. Dingwell (Germany)
  • Inter-Association Committee on Volcano Seismology (with IAVCEI): (under review)
  • Commission on Controlled Source Seismology. Chair: W.D. Mooney (USA)
  • Commission on Earthquake Hazard and Prediction. Co-Chairs: Chen, Yong (China) & M. Wyss (USA)
  • Commission on Geodynamics and Tectonophysics. Chair: U. Christensen (Germany)
  • International Heat Flow Commission. Chair: I.T. Kukkonen (Finland)
  • Commission on Practice. Chair: J. Havskov (Norway)
  • Commission on Wave Propagation. Chair: J. Park (USA)
  • European Seismological Commission. President: L. Mendes-Victor (Portugal)
  • Asian Seismological Commission. President: H.K. Gupta (India)
  • Committee on Education. Chair: W.H.K. Lee (USA)
  • Committee for Developing Counties. Chair: G. Gibson (Australia)
  • International Commission on Earth Sciences in Africa. Co-Chairs: A. Kampunzu (Botswana) & S. Muhongo (Tanzania)
  • Federation of broadband Digital Seismograph Networks. Chair: Y. Fukao (Japan)
  • International Ocean Network. Chair: B. Romanowicz (USA)

The Secretary General summarized Association activities during the 1995-1999 period:

  • 21st General Assembly of IUGG and the 28th General Assembly of IASPEI, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, U.S.A., 2-14 July 1995
  • 6th International Kimberlite Conference, Novosibirsk, Russia, 7-12 August 1995 - sponsored by IASPEI)
  • Workshop of Eastern and Southern Africa Working Group, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, 7-15 March 1996 - sponsored by CDC
  • Methodology of Seismic Risk and Loss Estimation, Stanford, USA, 23-27 April 1996 - organized jointly with World Seismic Safety Initiative (WSSI) of International Association of Earthquake Engineering by IASPEI Working Group on Seismic Risk and Loss Estimation
  • North London Workshop, North London, UK, May 1996 - organized by Commission on Controlled Source Seismology
  • Fourth International Workshop on Heat Flow and the Structure of the Lithosphere, Trest, Czech Republic, 10-16 June 1996 - organized by International Heat Flow Commission (IHFC)
  • International meeting on Geodynamics of the Lithosphere and Earth's Mantle, Czech Republic, 8-13 July 1996 - organized by Commission on Geodynamics and Tectonophysics IASPEI
  • Regional Assembly in Asia, Tangshan, China, 1-3 August 1996 - sponsored by the Asian Seismological Commission
  • 30th IGC Symposium D4, Terrestrial Heat Flow, Hot Spots, Mantle Plumes and Thermal Structure of the Lithosphere, Beijing, China, 4-14 August - organized by IHFC
  • 25th General Assembly of the European Seismological Commission, Reykjavik, Iceland, 9-14 September 1996
  • 7th International Symposium on Deep Seismic Profiling, Asilomar, USA, 16-20 September 1996 - organized by Commission on Controlled Source Seismology
  • IDNDR Workshop on Earthquake Risk Management Strategies in Central Asia, Alma-Ata, Kazakstan, 22-25 October 1996 - sponsored by IASPEI Commission for IDNDR
  • CDC/IDNDR Workshop on Seismic and Other Geophysical Instrumentation, Hyderabad, India, 9-20 December 1996
  • 29th General Assembly of IASPEI, University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece, 18-28 August 1997
  • Regional International Training Course on Seismology and Seismic Hazard Assessment, Nairobi, Kenya, 5 October - 8 November 1997 - sponsored by IASPEI
  • Interdisciplinary workshop on Continental Roots, Harvard University, Cambridge, USA, 10-13 October 1997 - organized by the Inter-Association Commission on Physical and Chemical Properties of Materials of the Earth's Interior
  • IASPEI/IAVCEI International Conference on Modern Preparation Response Systems for Earthquake, Tsunami, and Volcanic Hazard, Santiago, Chile 27-30 April, 1998
  • 26th General Assembly of the European Seismological Commission, Tel Aviv, Israel, 20- 21 August 1998 (included a Training Course for Young Seismologists)
  • 2nd Meeting of the Asian Seismological Commission, National Geophysical Research Institute, Hyderabad, India,1-3 December 1998 (included a pre-meeting International Training Course on Seismic Monitoring, Data Analysis and Exchange)
  • The Commission on Practice of IASPEI has undertaken a project to produce a new edition of the Manual of Seismological Observatory Practice.
  • IASPEI PC Shareware Library - Under the auspices of the Working Group on Personal Computers, a PC shareware library is being published on diskette, including files with short-form manuals of the programs.

The Secretary General noted the following publications produced by IASPEI during the 1991-1995 period:

  • IASPEI Newsletter (now replaced by Home Page & Bulk E-Mail System)
  • CDC Newsletter
  • IDNDR Newsletter (IASPEI/IDNDR Secretariat)
  • IASPEI Brochure
  • Proceedings of IASPEI Symposia and Workshops (PEPI and Tectonophysics), noting that the Elsevier publications agreement with IASPEI is being renegotiated.

Future Activities and Assemblies

The Secretary-General announced continuation of the Publications Transfer Program by the Committee on Developing Countries with coordination and assistance from the Secretariat.

The Committee on Education is nearing completion of its International Handbook of Earthquake & Engineering Seismology (now to include national centennial reports and will continue to offer training courses.

The Secretary-General reported that the European Seismological Commission (ESC) plans to hold its general Assembly in Lisbon, Portugal, 10-15 September 2000 and the 3rd meeting of the Asian Seismological Commission will be held in Tehran, Iran, 6-8 November 2000. He also reported that the 31st IASPEI General Assembly will be held jointly with IAGA in Hanoi, Vietnam, 18-30 August 2001 and that the development of the scientific program with IAGA, SEDI and ILP has began at this assembly.

Election of Officers for 1999-2003

Prof. Froidevaux, Chairman of the Nominating Committee, explained the criteria by which the Nominating Committee chose candidates, and proposed a slate of officers. There being no further nominations from the floor, the following officers were accepted by acclamation:


  • President: B.L.N. Kennett (Australia)
  • First Vice-President: Domenico Giardini (Switzerland)
  • Second Vice-President: Takehiko Yagi (Japan)
  • Secretary-General/Treasurer: E.R. Engdahl (USA)

IASPEI Executive Committee

  • Claude Froidevaux (Past President, France)
  • Uli Christensen (Germany)
  • Diana Comte (Chile)
  • Barbara Romanowicz (USA)
  • Wu Zhongliang (China)

The Past President welcomed the new officers, wished the new Bureau and Executive to sail through the coming four years with great successes, and thanked all IASPEI members for their friendly and constructive participation in all our activities. Prof. Kennett thanked the outgoing President for his efforts on behalf of IASPEI these past four years.

Appointment of Representatives

The President announced the following appointments as Association Representatives:

  • ICSU Panel on World Data Centers. T. Ahern (USA)
  • IUGS/IUGG Commission on the Lithosphere. S. Gregerson (Denmark)
  • IAU/IUGG Working Group on Non-Rigid Earth Nutations. B.A. Buffett (Canada)
  • SCAR (Solid Earth Geophysical Working Group). S.K. Verma (India)
  • IUGG Committee for Mathematical Geophysics. R. Sneider (The Netherlands)
  • IAPSO/IASPEI/IAVCEI Joint Tsunami Commission. K. Satake (Japan)
  • IAGA/IASPEI Working Group on the Re-Use of Submarine Telephone Cables. J. Kasahara (Japan).
  • ISC Executive Committee. O.E. Starovoit (Russia)


Prof. D. Giardini, Chairman of the Resolutions Committee, then proposed the resolutions given below. An amendment to Resolution 3 to include parameter data was proposed and defeated by a majority vote of those in attendance. The resolutions were accepted after a minor modification to Resolution 3 and are printed as adopted.

The President closed the meeting at 1930

IASPEI Resolutions Adopted

30th General Assembly, Birmingham, England, 28 July 1999



RECOGNISING the increasing human and economic losses caused by natural hazards,

RECOGNISING the proven and latent ability of scientific and technical knowledge to reduce natural disaster losses,

NOTES that the International Decade of Natural Disaster Reduction is at its final stage,

URGES the United Nations, and national scientific and development organizations to expand and refocus support for worldwide hazard mitigation,

RECOMMENDS that international professional societies, particularly the IUGG and its Associations, continue IDNDR-related activities beyond the Decade, and

RESOLVES to continue and strengthen its geophysical programs related to earthquake and associated hazards.

Coordinated Monitoring Systems


RECOGNISING the growing availability worldwide of digital and remote-sensing instrumentation systems,

NOTES the proven application to earthquakes and associated hazards, of such systems for preparation, warning and response,

URGES all seismologists, earthquake engineers and risk reduction organisations to strengthen and expand such coordinated monitoring systems, and

RESOLVES to encourage research into improved theoretical and technological bases and applications of such systems.

Open Access


RECOGNISING the valuable contribution that data from the International Monitoring System for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty will have for the geoscientific research, earthquake monitoring, assessment of earthquake and tsunami hazards, and education,

RECOGNISING that the International Monitoring systems for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty will include an important global, international monitoring network of seismic, hydroacoustic, infrasound sensors,

RECOGNISING that free, open, international exchange of data is the cornerstone of seismology,

RECOGNISING that Article IV Section A.10 of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty states that: "The provisions of this Treaty shall not be interpreted as restricting the international exchange of data for scientific purpose."

RECOMMENDS that open access to all waveform data from the International Monitoring System for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty be available from the International Data Centre in Vienna, Austria, to all Data Centres of the Federation of Digital Broad-band Seismographic Networks, and

RESOLVES that the International Monitoring System/International Data Centre for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty be invited to join the Federation of Digital Broad-band Seismographic Networks.


RECOGNISING the effort required to organize the General Assembly, IASPEI thanks and congratulates the members of the Local Organizing Committee for a most memorable meeting in Birmingham.