Chapman Conference

Active Tectonics and Seismic Potential of Alaska

Alyeska Resort, Girdwood, Alaska, USA
11-14 May 2006

Program Committee
Conference Objectives
Conference Overview
Abstract Submission Information
Travel Support
Conference Travel
Registration Information
Further Information


Program Committee


Conference Objectives

The active tectonics of Alaska give rise to some of the most dramatic tectonic phenomena on earth. This conference will attempt to summarize the neotectonic framework and earthquake hazards of Alaska. We would like to bring together scientists working on aspects of active faulting, mountain building, geodesy, seismology, paleoseismology, geomorphology, tsunamis, sedimentology, structural geology, and geodynamics who can contribute information on how Alaska is deforming now and in the last several million years. A number of projects, events, and plans make this an excellent time to summarize our state of knowledge and look to the future. These include: the 2002 Denali Fault earthquake, NSF-funded studies of mountain building associated with the Yakutat terrane collision, an IODP proposal to drill offshore in the Yakutat region, several IRIS deployments, campaign GPS and PBO deployments, and a USGS revision of the probabilistic seismic hazards maps of Alaska. We ancitipate the conference will result in a collection of papers suitable for an AGU Monograph, and interactions with fellow scientists will provide a clearer picture for all in where future studies should be directed.

Conference Overview

Preliminary Scientific Program  [PDF, 71KB]

Southern Alaska is a showcase for active tectonics and mountain building.

From the middle of the twentieth century to the present, virtually the entire plate boundary in southern Alaska has ruptured in large to great earthquakes. This includes right-lateral transform faulting along the Queen Charlotte-Fairweather fault system in southeastern Alaska, and shallow thrust earthquakes along the Alaska-Aleutian megathrust. In addition, the Yakutat terrane is traveling at nearly the velocity of the Pacific Plate and is actively accreting into the cusp of southern Alaska, causing deformation far into interior Alaska along the Denali fault system and thrust faults on either side of the Alaska Range.

From a seismic hazards perspective, the relatively small areas along this plate boundary that have not ruptured during this cycle are of great interest. Some may be candidates for future events. If not, the differing character of these zones may hold clues to the fundamental nature of the seismogenic processes. Moreover, the subduction process includes not only the oceanic crust of the Pacific Plate but also the continental crust of the Yakutat block, providing an opportunity for studying the similarities, contrasts, and implications for earthquake generation.

While seismologists and geologists have been actively exploring Alaska and its tectonics for decades, new techniques of GPS geodesy and broadband seismic instrumentation have recently brought additional powerful tools to bear, bringing new information on the contemporary rates of deformation and the character of earthquakes. Similarly, new techniques of Quaternary geology, paleoseismology, thermochronometry, and surface exposure dating have brought new insights, particularly in Cook Inlet, along the Denali fault, and in the Eastern Chugach-St. Elias area. It has been well over a decade since the last comprehensive assessment of the neotectonics and seismotectonics of Alaska, so the time is ripe for a new effort at synthesis.

The general outline of the conference will be two days of scientific sessions, one day of a field trip, and then a final day of scientific sessions. A keynote address on the first evening of the conference will provide an overview of more than a hundred years of earthquake studies in Alaska. Tentative scientific sessions include:

  1. Alaska-Aleutian Arc Tectonics and Great Earthquakes
  2. The St. Elias Orogen and Yakutat Block, the Yakataga Gap, and the Southeast Alaska Transform Margin
  3. The Denali Fault System, the Foothills Fold and Thrust belt, Interior Alaska and Cook Inlet
  4. Application of Current Seismotectonic Hypotheses to Alaska: Paradigms and Problems
  5. Critical Tests, Observations and Experiments

Each scientific 'theme' will have about an hour's worth of overview talks to outline the state of knowledge and to try and get all conference participants up to speed on a subject. Most of the interaction at the conference will be at poster sessions where in-depth discussions about ongoing, or future, research can take place. The field trip will be on the 3rd day, and will highlight aspects of crustal deformation associated with the 1964 M9.2 megathrust earthquake. Stops will show examples of coseismic subsidence, interseismic uplift, underwater landslide generated tsunami effects, discussion of GPS geodesy, the Mesozoic accretionary complex, and an overview of the Cook Inlet forearc basin and deformation.

Abstract Submission Instructions

If you are currently doing research in Alaska, we would like you to present the results of your work at the meeting. Please submit an abstract describing this work. If you are not currently conducting research in Alaska, but have an interest in attending the meeting, we ask that you submit a statement of interest as an abstract.

Deadline 10 February 2006

ABSTRACT SUBMISSIONS BY E-MAIL: Compose your abstract on your E-mail software exactly as you would a normal message, using a MAXIMUM of 75 standard ASCII characters per line. Re-set your margins, if necessary, so that the text wraps from line to line, to avoid the insertion of hard returns. Follow the instructions below. A sample E-MAIL abstract is provided at the end.

I) TITLE - The title of the abstract should be composed in a standard title format, capitalizing the first letter of all words of four or more letters. Insert one blank line after title. Please BOLD, but do not underline.

II) AUTHOR BLOCK- The author block should contain the name of a presenting author that should be enclosed in brackets and asterisks, like so: [*I M First*]. If there is no presenting author, then input [*---*] at the beginning of the author block. Input your author block by typing the author's name, then putting their address, phone, fax, and e-mail information in parentheses, ( ). Do not put each author on a separate line, but rather, separate each author's information with a semi-colon (;). Leave one blank line after the author block.

III) ABSTRACT TEXT - Special symbols or graphics should not be used in composing the abstract. Leave one blank line between paragraphs and after the body.

IV) SUBMITTAL INFORMATION - This section is to record information about which meeting the abstracts being submitted to and to obtain contact information. Please provide the following:

  1. Title of meeting (Chapman Conference on Active Tectonics and Seismic Potential of Alaska) (VERY IMPORTANT!)
  3. a. Corresponding address: Give name, affiliation, and mailing address of the author to whom all correspondence regarding this abstract should be sent.
    b. Corresponding author's telephone number.
    c. Corresponding author's fax number
    d. Corresponding author's E-mail address.
  4. Indicate whether the first author is a student.

V) SUBMIT YOUR ABSTRACT - Send the abstract to the following E-mail address:

VI) CONFIRMATIONS - Confirmations of received abstracts will be sent via electronic mail within one business day of submission. If you have not received confirmation, please email


Remote Sensing of Alpine Snow Properties: A Review of Techniques and Accomplishments Using the Visible Wavelengths Through the Microwave [*J S Smith*] (Department of Geology, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106-3060; ph. 805-893-2308; fax 805-893-2578; e-mail:; A C Cohen (Hydrology Department, Watertown University, Watertown, MA 02172; ph. 413-789-1234; fax 413-789-1256; e-mail:

Topography causes wide variations in the properties of alpine snow within small areas, and a knowledge of the spatial variation of many properties is essential for the application of distributed hydrologic models and for establishing the surface boundary condition for regional climate models. However, the topography affects the electromagnetic remote sensing signal by shadowing some terrain and by modifying the angles of incidence, emission, and reflection of the signal, and our knowledge of the elevation model is usually not precise enough to allow a priori calculation of the geometric relationships between the surface, sensor, and the Sun. Hence remote sensing algorithms must be robust to such uncertainties, except in areas where topographic knowledge is especially good. The most elementary snow property is the presence or absence of a snow cover, and snow mapping -- discrimination of snow from other types of surfaces and from clouds -- is best accomplished with a combination of visible and near-infrared wavelengths.

  1. Chapman Conference on Active Tectonics and Seismic Potential of Alaska
  2. Invited
  3. (a) J S Smith Department of Geology University of California Santa Barbara, CA 93106-3060
    (b) 805-893-2309
    (c) 805-893-2578
  4. No

If you have questions, please contact Melissa Ficek at: E-mail:; Phone: +1-202-777-7332.

Travel Support

Application Deadline: 10 February 2006. Applications are being made to several U.S. agencies to support travel of conference participants. Graduate students and young scientists will receive priority for funding. To apply for travel funds, please print and complete the Chapman Conference Travel Grant Application and return it to the AGU Meetings Department by 10 February 2006.

Hotel Accommodations

The location for this conference is the Alyeska Prince Hotel at the Alyeska Resort. Information about the hotel can be found at The hotel is offering a rate of $119.00 per night, for single/double occupancy, or $95.00 for government employees with a valid ID. Please call the hotel directly at +1 (800) 880-3880 to make your reservations. A non-refundable deposit equal to the amount of one night.s room and tax is required at the time the reservation is made. These rates will only be available until 20 April 2006.

Conference Travel

Alaska Airlines is pleased to offer the following discount, 5% off all fares for any Alaska/Horizon Airlines flights to Anchorage, Alaska. Valid travel dates are May 8-17, 2006. To take advantage of these discounts, simply call the Alaska Airlines Group and Meetings Desk at 1-800-445-4435 or your travel agent and reference ID# CMA0790.

Registration Information

The registration deadline is 19 April 2006. T-shirts and field trip slots are guaranteed if you register by 19 April.

Please use the Chapman Conference on Active Tectonics and Seismic Potential of Alaska registration form. Participants from developing countries (for a list of countries:, can register for this meeting at a special registration fee. Your current address must be from one of the qualifying countries to receive the reduced fee. The registration deadline is 19 April 2006. Please email all registration forms to

Further Information

If you have questions or would like to be placed on a mailing list, e-mail or call +1-202-777-7332.

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