In response to a request by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for computing tsunami propagations in the western Pacific, Eric Geist asked Willie Lee for assistance in providing parameters of earthquakes which may be future tsunami sources. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Tsunami Source Working Group (TSWG) was initiated in August 2005. An ad hoc group of diverse expertise was formed, with Steve Kirby as the leader. The founding members are: Rick Blakely, Eric Geist, Steve Kirby, Willie Lee, George Plafker, Dave Scholl, Roland von Huene, and Ray Wells. Half of the founding members are USGS emeritus scientists.
A report was quickly completed because of NOAA's urgent need to precalculate tsunami propagation paths for early warning purposes.
It was clear to the group that much more work needed to be done to improve our knowledge about tsunami sources worldwide. The group therefore started an informal research program on tsunami sources and meets irregularly to share ideas, data, and results. Because our group activities are open to anyone, we have more participants now, including, for example, Harley Benz and George Choy (USGS, Golden, Colo.), Holly Ryan and Stephanie Ross (USGS, Menlo Park, Calif.), Hiroo Kanamori (Caltech), Emile Okal (Northwestern University), and Gerard Fryer and Barry Hirshorn (Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, Hawaii).
To celebrate the fifth anniversary of the TSWG, a workshop is being held in the Auditorium of Building 3, USGS, Menlo Park, on July 19-20, 2010 (Willie Lee and Steve Kirby, Conveners). All talks (except one) will be video broadcast. The first tsunami source workshop was held in April 2006 with about 100 participants from many institutions. This second workshop (on a much smaller scale) will be devoted primarily to recent work by the USGS members. In addition, Hiroo Kanamori (Caltech) will present his recent work on the 1960 and 2010 Chile earthquakes, Barry Hirshorn and Stuart Weinstein (Pacific Tsunami Warning Center) will present their work on tsunami warning, and Rick Wilson (California Geological Survey) will display three posters on tsunami studies by him and his colleagues.