The University of Oregon is spearheading the first National Science Foundation-funded subduction zone earthquake science center, known as the Cascadia Region Earthquake Science Center (CRESCENT). CRESCENT’s primary objective is to conduct research on earthquake hazards in the Cascadia Subduction Zone while also promoting diversity in the geoscience workforce and fostering collaboration among geohazards experts.
In addition to the University of Oregon, the initiative involves multiple institutions, including Central Washington University, Oregon State University, University of Washington, Cal Poly Humboldt, Cedar Lake Research Group, Portland State University, Purdue University, Smith College, Stanford University, UC San Diego, EarthScope Consortium, University of North Carolina-Wilmington, U.S. Geological Survey, Virginia Tech, Washington State University, and Western Washington University.
The Cascadia Subduction Zone has the most comprehensive geological record of large earthquakes globally, making it an ideal location for earthquake research. However, the communities along the U.S. West Coast are not adequately prepared for a major earthquake event. CRESCENT aims to mitigate potential damage through high-performance computing, artificial intelligence-assisted modeling, and research that informs better policy practices to strengthen the region’s resilience against earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides, aftershocks, liquefaction, and fires.
One of CRESCENT’s key focus is increasing diversity in the geosciences. To achieve this, the center plans to engage with minority-serving schools, offer fieldwork stipends and research assistantships, and train students in data science and computing.
In the short term, CRESCENT will improve understanding of subduction zone hazards, while in the long term, it seeks to modernize earth sciences research training, create a diverse workforce, and establish an “earthquake culture” across the region through transformative discoveries and community engagement.
Overall, CRESCENT represents a collaborative effort to address earthquake risks in the Cascadia Subduction Zone, incorporating diverse perspectives and fostering interdisciplinary research to strengthen the region’s resilience to seismic events.