Supercomputing meets seismology in earthquake exhibit
Add to List Share
When the California Academy of Sciences created the "Earthquake: Evidence of a Restless Planet" exhibit, they called on Lawrence Livermore to help combine seismic research with the latest data-driven visualization techniques. The outcome is a series of striking visualizations of earthquakes, tsunamis and tectonic plate evolution.
Seismic-wave research is a core competency at Livermore. While most often associated with earthquakes, the research has many other applications of national interest, such as nuclear explosion monitoring, explosion forensics, energy exploration, and seismic acoustics.
For the Academy effort, Livermore researchers simulated the San Andreas and Hayward fault events at high resolutions. Such calculations require significant computational resources. To simulate the 1906 earthquake, for instance, visualizing 125 seconds of ground motion required over 1 billion grid points, 10,000 time steps, and 7.5 hours of processor time on 2,048 cores of Livermore's Sierra machine.