PGS: Louisa, VA earthquake sequence

The Potomac Geophysical Society, October 15, 2015–directions below:

Observations on The Louisa County Earthquake Sequence.

Keith L. McLaughlin

Abstract: At 13:51:04 EDT 23 August 2011, an Mw 5.7 earthquake occurred in rural Louisa County VA, near the small town of Mineral. The MMI VIII event was widely felt in 13 states and caused an estimated $200-300 Million damage. The event has been called “The largest and most damaging earthquake in eastern US since Charleston SC 1886”.  Aftershocks continue. While the Central VA earthquake zone has a history of moderate (MMI V-VII) earthquakes, the zone has historically been sparsely monitored. Two seismic stations between 100 and 300 km of the main shock provide a tantalizing historical data set that may be successfully exploited using modern waveform cross-correlation methods.  The main-shock was a complex rupture and the aftershocks are distributed over a significant volume with a range of focal mechanisms. These factors present a unique challenge to developing correlation-based methodologies to “mine for aftershocks” and search for un-reported events. I will present work in progress using these developing methods to investigate the Louisa Sequence.

Bio: Dr. Keith Lynn McLaughlin, Leidos Technical Fellow

Ph.D., Geophysics, University of California, Berkeley, 1983. “Spatial Coherency of Seismic Waveforms” M.S., Geophysics, University of California, Berkeley, 1980. B.A., Physics, University of California, Berkeley, 1974

Dr. McLaughlin’s specialty is physics-based statistical analysis of geophysical sensing (seismic, acoustic, and EM). He developed methodologies for event magnitude estimation, localization accuracy assessment, seismic, acoustic and EM adaptive signal-processing and physics-based target-based multi-mode multi-node fusion (M3NF) for MASINT exploitation architectures. Over the last three decades he worked on ground motion prediction (earthquake, explosion, machinery, vehicles, …), seismic and infrasound location, event discrimination, yield estimation, geothermal exploration, and persistent monitoring of human activities from unattended ground sensors. He was co-PI with VaTech under the DARPA Heterostructural Uncooled Magnetic Sensor (HUMS) program. He served as the PI and PM for the DTRA “IMS Group 2 Location Calibration Consortium”. He served as domain expert and US delegate to multiple bi-lateral and multi-lateral international conferences and workshops.

1998 to Present. Senior Scientist and Technical Fellow, Leidos (formerly SAIC).  Provides consulting and contributing technical services to multiple programs across the corporation. Serves as Chief Scientist, PI, and/or PM on multiple R&D efforts.

Meeting Room and Dining Arrangements: We meet in the glassed-in room at the back of the main dining room, The Fife and Drum. We order individually from the Club menu, which has a nice variety of dinner offerings. We pay a single bill, so we collect $25 from each member and $30 from each non-member. If a diner orders more than $20 in food and drink, he adds the amount over $20 to his contribution. The $5 overcharge goes to the Room Fee, Tax, Gratuity, and the Speaker’s Dinner. We collect on the Honor System. Reception is at 6:00 p.m. downstairs in the Old Guard Lounge. We order dinner at 7:00 p.m. The presentation is at 8:30 p.m. Please note that the meal orders will be taken at 7:00 p.m. Allow 15 minutes for security entering Ft. Myer as all civilian vehicles are searched. To ensure access to and from Fort Myer, use the Hatfield Gate, open 24 hours a day. Reservations are not necessary, however, we need a head count; so, if you wish to attend dinner, please inform Bob Fraser at 703-624-3965 or via email at If you wish, please feel free to attend the talk without dinner. Non-members and guests are welcome. Please send changes of address or email to

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