Dec. 16 — Researchers with the Southern California Earthquake Center are using ORNL’s Titan supercomputer to prepare the state for its next big earthquake.
When the last massive earthquake shook the San Andreas Fault in 1906, no one would hear about “plate tectonics” for another 50 years, and the Richter scale was still a generation away. Needless to say, by today’s standards, only primitive data survive to help engineers prepare southern California for an earthquake of similar magnitude.
“We haven’t had a really big rupture since the city of Los Angeles existed,” said Thomas Jordan, Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC) director.
Titan is the world’s most powerful system for open scientific research, and project scientists including Yifeng Cui of the University of California, San Diego, and geophysicist Kim Olsen of San Diego State University are using it to simulate a major earthquake at high frequencies. These calculations are especially demanding, but are needed for the detailed predictions that are required by structural engineers.