STEM shoutout: Dr. Lindsay Worthington

UNM seismologist heads seafaring expedition off the coast of Alaska

UNM Assistant Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences Dr. Lindsay Worthington was the co-chief scientist of a research expedition to gather seismic activity data off the coast of Alaska this summer.


For three weeks, Worthington and her team deployed 45 ocean-bottom seismometers that for the next 15 months or so will reside on the seafloor of the earthquake-abundant Alaska-Aleutian subduction zone recording earthquakes. The goal is to better understand earthquake and subduction zone hazards in Alaska.


Their project, called the the Alaska Amphibious Community Seismic Experiment, was funded by a $4 million-dollar NSF grant involving nine different institutions.


There is a lot of interest in this particular seismically-active area because the subduction zones including the one Worthington and her team are studying are known to produce the largest earthquakes and tsunamis on Earth. According to Worthington, the Alaska/Aleutian system alone has produced more magnitude-8 earthquakes than any other region in the last century.


“This project will produce a major, shore-crossing seismic dataset that will be completely open to the scientific community for analysis, driving innovation as many groups work on the data to understand what drives this system,” Worthington said.