Cascadia Paleoseismology Working Group

Working Group

Cascadia Paleoseismology

The Cascadia Paleoseismology Working Group (CPAL) will establish the frequency, timing, coseismic displacement, fault slip rate, and other diagnostic features that reveal details of past earthquake processes and can inform fault rupture models of past and future earthquakes in the Cascadia Subduction Zone. CPAL will build a community of practice that involves direct collaboration between paleoseismologists and modelers (e.g., the DET, CFM, and CSSS Working Groups) with the goal of using paleoseismic data to validate numerical models of subduction zone earthquakes and tsunamis. CPAL will utilize detailed stratigraphic mapping, new methods and models in mapping, and high-resolution microfossil analyses to reconstruct coseismic land-level change and tsunami inundation during past Cascadia subduction zone earthquakes. Moreover, CPAL will promote investigations that examine interactions between the subduction megathrust and crustal faults.

Scientists work with seizmic equipment
Paleoseismologists extract a sediment vibracore from the Siletz River estuary along the central Oregon coast (Photo Credit: Tina Dura).

Major Activities


Community Product

Microfossil Database

To encourage more quantitative coastal land-level change studies, the CPAL working group will develop a shared, community-built diatom and foraminifera database that will increase accessibility and standardize microfossil analysis. The interactive database will include high-resolution photos, taxonomic, and ecological information about common coastal microfossils found in Cascadia and provide information on how to apply quantitative techniques, such as transfer functions, to reconstruct elevation changes caused by the earthquake deformation cycle.

Community Product

Paleoseismic Database

The CPAL Working Group will develop an online database of geologic observations that provide evidence for subsidence, shaking, and ground failure from past Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquakes and inundation from associated tsunamis in collaboration with the members of the USGS Powell Center Cascadia Earthquake Hazards group. The database will be in a format desired for CRESCENT science goals – i.e., online, searchable by metadata, user-friendly formats that could be readily used by modelers such as the DET WG working in conjunction with paleoseismologists to perform earthquake and tsunami model validation exercises.

FAIR Science

Data, Code, Documentation, and Publications

CRESCENT is committed to open, reproducible science. The foundations upon which CPAL community products are built can be found in the links provided below.


Data used to create CPAL community products can be found at the link below.


Code used to create CPAL community products can be found at the link below.


Documentation of CPAL community products can be found at the link below.


Publications relevant to CPAL community products can be found below.

Meet The Team

CPAL Membership

The CPAL leadership team represents a broad spectrum of expertise in Cascadia paleoseismology. This expertise spans investigations of active crustal faulting, coastal tectonic subsidence, extent of tsunami inundation and composite earthquake histories of the Cascadia plate boundary and histories of upper plate faulting. The research tools used to collect and analyze paleoseismic data include excavations, coring, surveying, microfossil identification and employing both transfer function models and radiocarbon age models to refine-lab-derived microfossil observations and age determinations. The leadership team members individually, and collectively, mentor undergraduate students, graduate students and post docs. Paleoseismologists working within the larger CPAL research team will actively interact with the CRESCENT modeling community to ensure that paleoseismic data and tsunami inundation observations are effectively integrated with Cascadia deformation models.

Tina Dura, Virginia Tech

Tina Dura
Virginia Tech

Andrea Hawkes-,University of North Carolina Wilmington

Andrea Hawkes
University of North Carolina Wilmington

Rob Witter, USGS

Rob Witter
United States Geological Survey

Lydia Staisch

Lydia Staisch
United States Geological Survey

Harvey Kelsey
Cal Poly Humboldt

Eileen Hemphill-Haley, Cal Poly Humboldt

Eileen Hemphill-Haley
Cal Poly Humboldt

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