The Cascadia Region Earthquake Science Center
In 2023, the National Science Foundation awarded $15 million dollars to establish the Cascadia Region Earthquake Science Center, CRESCENT. CRESCENT is the nation’s first subduction zone earthquake hazards center — a nexus for earthquake science and hazards research. CRESCENT has three overarching goals:
- To develop a better foundational understanding of Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquakes and their associated hazards and to transfer this knowledge to other subduction zones
- To promote diversity and to train the next-generation of geoscientists to address the challenges presented by our dynamic planet
- To provide a systematic approach to collaboration between researchers in academia and those in agencies that have mandates to produce hazard information that stakeholders, practitioners, and the public at large can trust and use
Please join us as we establish a new paradigm of collaborative Earth science research for societal good.
Letter From the Director
Knowledge of the unsteady nature and propensity for cataclysms of the Pacific Northwest can be traced to the indigenous stories of the epic struggle between Thunderbird and Whale. Oral histories clearly tell of devastation wrought by earthquakes and their associated landslides and tsunamis. The beauty of this evergreen landscape is always in tension with the capacity for dramatic and destructive power of its earthquakes, volcanoes, wildfires, and landslides.
Cascadia is also the site of a beautiful story of scientific discovery where geologic clues from buried marshes, tsunami sands, and ghost forests were first used to unravel the details of the enormous earthquakes of centuries ago. The stories told by people here and as far away as Japan, along with advanced physical and computational models have been used to paint rich tableaus of those past events. And the story told by this confluence of disciplines is unequivocal. Thunderbird and Whale have struggled mightily for a long time, and, more importantly, will continue to struggle well into the future.
Damaging earthquakes have occurred often, like the 2001 Nisqually quake which caused the most damage to homes and businesses of any U.S. quake in the past 25 years. The Pacific Northwest is earthquake country – this means that our region needs to be ready, it needs to prepare! And, yes, we have already been doing so, for quite some time now. From local to federal levels, the Pacific Northwest has been slowly bracing itself for what can one day come. Nonetheless, too many of our buildings, bridges, and other facilities are still far from earthquake-ready.
To adequately prepare we need to know more about what is possible. What will the shaking be like? How far will tsunamis inundate? Where will landslides be triggered? How might our volcanoes respond? Increasing the strength and resilience of our lifelines, of our infrastructure, and our communities depends on cutting-edge science.
We also need to invest in our people. Our region is a rich and diverse panoply of cultures and languages and solving the challenges ahead needs all of us. We must ensure that folks from every corner and every walk of life have access and opportunity to participate in the great scientific journey of discovery and that we build an environment where all voices can be heard.
This is where CRESCENT comes in. It represents a grassroots effort on the part of scientists, educators, and community members to come together and speak with one voice. To organize and unify efforts across our region so that we can build new knowledge, share it openly, create a sense of community and belonging, and build up our earthquake culture.
I hope you will join us on this mission.
What We Do
Teams of scientists further foundational research Cascadia subduction zone
Grassroots efforts to advance knowledge in specific areas of interest
Provide seed funding to fill critical knowledge gaps
Partnering with the Cascadia Lifelines Program (CLiP), to host engineering webinars
Promoting education and exchange within the scientific community
Training in solid Earth geoscience for the next generation of geoscientists
Expose undergraduate students to research experiences in Earth Science
Facilitate experiences for high school students at R1 research universities
Providing information to and collecting feedback to endmember users
Research software engineering support and cloud computing
Summer school on paleoseismology and numerical modeling of earthquakes
Effective governance is essential for CRESCENT to achieve its ambitious goals of advancing fundamental research on earthquake hazards science, contributing to the diversification and preparation of the future geoscience workforce, and translating research to practice and policy through community engagement.
Three tenets comprise CRESCENTs core mission: advancing basic and applied science, geoscience education and training, and partnerships and applications of the science. First, the Cascadia Subduction Zone is a natural laboratory that is well positioned for significant scientific discoveries that will further understanding of subduction zone processes. Second, progress on the scientific challenges requires a concerted effort to prepare and diversify the next generation workforce. Finally, the goal of hazard research is to support the public good. Scientific discovery must be translated and delivered to communities and stakeholders in a meaningful and actionable way. The three committees below ensure progress on each of these fronts.
Foundational Science and Research Activities
CRESCENT science, research, and discovery activities.
Geoscience Education and
CRESCENT education and outreach activities
Partnerships and Applications
Facilitates community partnerships and research applications
Meet The Team
The team responsible for ensuring the overall success of the center and coordinating leadership across CRESCENT’s three pillars.
University of Oregon
United States Geological Survey
University of Washington
Oregon State University email@example.com
Central Washington University firstname.lastname@example.org
University of Oregon email@example.com