Quakes

Lucy Jones is retiring from USGS and quakes

lucy-jones-bridge.jpgThrough thousands of small earthquakes and more than a few bigger ones, Lucy Jones has become the Southern California region's go-to scientist on all things seismic. She has been with the U.S. Geological Survey explaining quakes and faults and aftershocks to us for 33 years. On March 30, she will retire from USGS to expand her work to include a new passion: getting people to prepare for the real effects of global warming and climate change.

She recently completed a term advising Mayor Eric Garcetti on earthquake preparedness, an effort that led to a new citywide ordinance on retrofitting. "When the 'big one' hits, people will be living because of the work that she has done," Garcetti said.

For years, Jones, 61, was confused with another prominent SoCal seismologist, Kate Hutton, which she addresses in today's LA Times story.

Being a woman also meant being mistaken for fellow seismologist Kate Hutton, who joined the Caltech-USGS team seven years before Jones.


"We don't look anything alike — the only reason we were confused was because we were both women," Jones said. "The guys doing the same thing don't get called 'the earthquake guys.'"

But, she acknowledged, the earthquake guys don't get remembered.

Also, in a region with thousands of Ph.D. holders, she is the only one who the news media consistently calls "doctor" as a title before her name.

Of course, this is the image a lot of Angelenos have of Lucy Jones — cool under fire while the rest of us are, shall we say, stressed.

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