Susan Hough

Susan Elizabeth Hough (born March 20, 1961[1]) is a seismologist at the United States Geological Survey in Pasadena, California, and scientist in charge of the office. She has served as an editor and contributor for many journals and is a contributing editor to Geotimes Magazine. She is the author of five books, including Earthshaking Science (Princeton).

Susan Hough
Born (1961-03-20) March 20, 1961
Alma materUniversity of California
Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Scientific career
InstitutionsUnited States Geological Survey

Hough graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 1982 and is a University of California, San Diego Alumna, earning her Ph.D. in geophysics from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 1987.

She has served on the Board of Directors of the Seismological Society of America from 1998 to 2004 and of the Southern California Earthquake Center from 2006 to 2009.[2]

Subsequent to the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Hough led the United States Geological Survey team charged with the installation of seismic stations and accelerometers.[3] The USGS are contributing to earthquake engineering efforts by improving earthquake monitoring and reporting by means of their USGS Advanced National Seismic System (ANSS). Hough and her team deployed portable seismometers for recording aftershocks of the earthquake,[4][5][6] and she continues to cooperate with Haitian seismologosists for setting up permanent seismic monitoring in their country.[5] Areas at risk in future earthquakes are mapped by means of seismic microzonation using local geological conditions to characterize seismic hazard. Normally, the effect of sedimentary layers are considered, however local topography is not considered in this context. However, the results provided by Hough and her team highlighted that topographic amplification played a major role in causing the earthquake damage in Pétion-Ville, a suburb of Port-au-Prince, thereby challenging the conventional view on factors to consider when performing microzonation.[7][8][9]

Hough has written numerous articles for mainstream publications such as the Los Angeles Times. Altogether she has published over 100 articles in peer-reviewed journals.[2]


  • Predicting the Unpredictable: The Tumultuous Science of Earthquake Prediction (2009), Princeton University Press, ISBN 0-691-13816-8
  • Richter's Scale: Measure of an Earthquake, Measure of a Man, a biography of famed seismologist Charles Richter (2007), Princeton University Press, ISBN 0-691-12807-3
  • After the Earth Quakes: Elastic Rebound on an Urban Planet (2005), Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-517913-7
  • Finding Fault in California: An Earthquake Tourist's Guide (2004), Mountain Press Publishing Company, ISBN 0-87842-495-4
  • Earthshaking Science: What We Know (and Don't Know) about Earthquakes (2004), Princeton University Press, ISBN 0-691-11819-1
Articles (selection)


  1. "Hough, Susan Elizabeth, 1961–". Library of Congress Authorities. Retrieved 25 September 2016.
  2. AGU Council – Seismology – Secretary Candidate: Susan Hough Archived 2012-10-10 at the Wayback Machine, American Geophysical Union (AGU)
  3. Eric Calais. "A RAPID response". The January 12, 2010, Haiti Earthquake. Purdue University. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
  4. Susan E. Hough Archived 2012-12-10 at, Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS)
  5. Susan Hough,
  6. After the shock, Nature Geoscience 3, E1 (2010) doi:10.1038/ngeo996
  7. Haiti Quake Offers Surprising Lesson About Earth's Surface,
  8. S. Hough, J. Altidor, D. Anglade, D. Given: Localized damage caused by topographic amplification during the 2010 M7.0 Haiti earthquake, Nature Geoscience, 2010. Quoted in: Nature geoscience press releases, October 2010
  9. "Science Behind Haiti Quake". Science Today. California Academy of Sciences. October 20, 2010. Archived from the original on October 30, 2010. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
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