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Annemarie Baltay honored with Charles F. Richter Early Career Award

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Credit: Annemarie Baltay

Annemarie Baltay, a research geophysicist at the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, has been honored with the Seismological Society of America's (SSA) 2017 Charles F. Richter Early Career Award for her important contributions bridging the gap between seismology and earthquake engineering.

Baltay will receive the Richter Award at Seismology of the Americas, a joint meeting of the SSA and the Latin American and Caribbean Seismological Commission (LACSC), to be held 23-26 April 2018 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

"Through a combination of source studies and ground motion prediction research, [Baltay] has carved a niche for herself that is unique in seismology for her generation," said Gregory Beroza, the Wayne Loel Professor of Earth, Energy, and Environmental Sciences at Stanford University and Baltay's Ph.D. advisor, noting that her work to date has made "tangible contributions to increasing seismic safety."

Baltay's research has focused on various methods for estimating earthquake source parameters–in particular, radiated seismic energy and stress drop–and how they control the amplitudes of strong ground motion as functions of ground-motion frequency and earthquake magnitude. In her thesis work, she analyzed data from recent great earthquakes including the 2004 magnitude 9.1 Sumatra and 2011 magnitude 9.0 Tohoku-oki events.

As part of a "new wave" of interest in earthquake source parameters, Baltay has made valuable contributions to the Next Generation of Attenuation (NGA) engineering seismology ground motion models and the Extreme Ground Motion (ExGM) project, her colleagues noted in their support for her Richter award.

Baltay's ability to bridge the gap between the seismological evidence underlying ground motion prediction equations and the application and refinement of those equations required for engineering applications, through her work with the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research (PEER) Center, among others, was also praised by her colleagues.

Baltay received her undergraduate degree in applied mathematics with a concentration in geophysics in 2005 from Yale University, and her master's and Ph.D. in geophysics from Stanford University in 2009 and 2011, respectively. She served as a Mendenhall Postdoctoral Fellow at USGS Menlo Park from 2013 to 2015.

The Charles F. Richter Early Career Award honors outstanding contributions to the goals of the SSA by a member early in her or his career. Nominees must have been awarded their most recent academic degree no more than six years prior to April 18 of the year that she or he is selected for the award, and be not more than 40 years old on April 18 at the time of the award selection. The April 18 date commemorates the anniversary of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

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The call for nominations for next year's Early Career award, along with a list of past winners, is available at the Seismological Society of America's website.

The Seismological Society of America is a scientific society devoted to the advancement of earthquake science. Founded in 1906 in San Francisco, the Society now has members throughout the world representing a variety of technical interests: seismologists and other geophysicists, geologists, engineers, insurers, and policy-makers in preparedness and safety.

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