Lucy Jones Parting Ways with U.S. Geological Survey

Renowned Southern California seismologist and earthquake safety proponent Lucy Jones announced her retirement from the U.S. Geological Survey Friday, concluding a 33-year career with the federal scientific agency.

The retirement announcement jolted many temblor-weary Californians who have come to rely on Jones as an authoritative figure in the realm of earthquake preparedness and safety. Jones will retain her position as Visiting Research Associate at the Seismological Laboratory of Caltech, however—a position she has held since 1983.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti joined a chorus of public officials in thanking Jones for her decades of service Friday, saying “when the big one hits, people will be living because of the word that she has done.” Since 2014, Jones has led a partnership between the City of Los Angeles and the USGS dedicated to finding solutions to the city’s most pressing seismic vulnerabilities.

Jones earned her Ph.D. in geophysics from MIT in 1981 and began studying earthquakes in China. She conducted research in several other countries including Afghanistan and Japan before eventually ending up in Southern California. She went on to serve as a Commissioner of the California Seismic Safety Commission (CSSC) and the California Earthquake Prediction Evaluation Council. Jones has also authored over 100 papers on research seismology with a focus on statistics and integrated disaster scenarios in Southern California.

In addition to her ongoing work at Caltech, Jones says she will be using her talents to help officials craft policies related to climate change, tsunamis and other natural disasters.

Read more about Jones’ announcement here.

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