A Podcast to Help You Understand What’s Going on
Dr. Jones shares her insights and perspective on the chaotic world around us on her podcast, Getting Through It, co-hosted with community resilience expert John Bwarie. The duo were co-creators of The Great Shake-Out and worked to create sweeping policy changes in seismic safety in the City of Los Angeles and dozens of other communities across California. For Caltech in 2019, Dr. Jones and John developed and co-led the Center’s Science Activation workshop and training program. Getting Through It premiered in June 2020.
Now, in this broadcast, Dr. Jones shares how the world works, why you might feel the way you do about a particular disaster, and how you can manage the chaos around you that is real life. The topics range from earthquakes to other disasters that affect people, as well as the history of science and big disasters, and how through understanding why, we are more able to manage it and be more successful at “getting through it.”
Episode 116 – What the U.S. Can Learn From Earthquakes in Turkey
February 8, 2023
The devastating magnitude 7.8 earthquake in Turkey on February 6, 2023 and its aftershocks have many people wondering if the same impacts and damage could happen in Southern California. In this episode, Dr. Jones lays out how to get from good codes to good buildings. She reminds us that buildings are only as good as the building code that was in place at the time it was constructed and the degree to which that code was enforced.
Episode 115 – The Reality of Atmospheric Rivers
January 18, 2023
In this special guest episode of Getting Through It, Dr. Lucy Jones sits down with Keith Porter, chief engineer of the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction and of the original ARkStorm scenario, to discuss the impact of the atmospheric river and subsequent flooding on the entire state of California in January 2023. They think back on what they modeled in the ARkStorm scenario and what it takes to go from where the damages are now to the worst phase as modeled in the scenario. Then, they talk through how to confront this extreme weather as an ongoing feature of weather in California.
Episode 114 – All About Liquefaction
November 18, 2022
Whenever there is a big earthquake near the coast, people often worry about tsunamis and liquefaction. We know tsunamis happen when the shape of the sea floor changes and moves the water, but liquefaction is not quite as simple. In this episode, Dr Jones explains what liquefaction is, when it occurs, and how to know if you are at risk.
Episode 113 – The Value of Retrofits
November 4, 2022
Dr. Jones and John often discuss what it is that the listeners of this podcast can do to manage the risks you face. In this episode, they discuss what civic leaders can do to protect people with good policy. They review a new report released by the Dr. Jones Center with research from Dr. Keith Porter of the The Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction and they look back on the impact of the ShakeOut Scenario with the City of Los Angeles. Read more.
Episode 112 – Happening Right Now: More Extreme Disaster Events
September 2, 2022
Recorded during a Southern California heatwave, this episode explores the increase in the extremes of disasters due to climate change.
Episode 111 – Tempo
July 29, 2022
For the past year and a half, the Dr. Jones Center has been working on a unique project. Tempo is an international collaboration that brings together climate scientists and engineers, social scientists, and musicians to explore the ways in which music can be used to change the emotional climate about climate change. This episode goes over how this project came about, why we need to focus on evoking specific emotions, and how those who are interested in participating in the Tempo Project can be part of the solution.
Episode 110 – When You Have a Lot of Earthquakes, You Have a Lot of Earthquakes
July 22, 2022
As Dr. Jones says, when you have a lot of earthquakes, you have a lot of earthquakes. This means that there are many more small earthquakes than large ones; it’s a well defined distribution. Not only are there a lot of earthquakes, but scientists can tell you how many there will be by using an equation. In this episode, Dr. Jones gets nerdy and details the equation that fits this distribution to predict the data.
Episode 109 – Why Are Schools Safer?
July 15, 2022
One of people’s biggest fears about an earthquake is that they will be crushed by a building. While most buildings in California will not collapse, because most are single family, wood construction homes, what is of more concern is the buildings that are less prolific but have an impact in all of our lives: public buildings. In this episode, Dr. Jones examines the Field Act, its limitations, and why continuous building inspections are so important.
Episode 108 – Weak Faults Have Bigger Earthquakes
July 8, 2022
The San Andreas is a complicated fault. It has the potential to have the biggest earthquakes in Southern California, yet in the last half century, there has only been one earthquake on it that no one really remembers. In this episode, Dr. Jones explains what makes a weak fault and why this legendary fault fits in that category.
Episode 107 – The Misconception of the ”Massive” Earthquake
July 1, 2022
In this episode, we look at the Afghanistan earthquake of June 2022 that killed more than 1,000 people, how we know what we know, and how Dr. Jones’ work in the country in the 1970s shapes our understanding of the seismology there.
Episode 106 – What We Can Learn from New Zealand
June 24, 2022
Disaster hazards being faced by societies around the globe are monumental. The work each nation has undertaken has been notable, but it’s especially apparent in New Zealand, with just five million people and a third smaller than the state of California. After spending the week in New Zealand as part of a science advisory board, Dr. Jones discusses how the same science within a different framework can have dramatic outcomes.
Episode 105 – Looking for Anomalies in All the Wrong Places
June 17, 2022
One of the most common beliefs about earthquake prediction is that animals know before the earthquake comes. In this episode, telling the story of her experience researching this question, Dr. Jones cuts to the chase: we want it to be true, but there is no evidence animals can predict earthquakes.
Episode 104 – The Dangerous Myth of the “Ring of Fire”
June 10, 2022
Whenever there is a significant geological event along the Pacific Rim, people take to social and conventional media to conjure the mythical impacts of the “Ring of Fire”! Once again, people look for a pattern when one doesn’t exist. With plate tectonics, subduction zones, and volcanoes, Dr. Jones explains in this episode how the “Ring of Fire” has no geologic significance and naming the complexity of the region with one simple term is a dangerous approach to manage the geological risk.
Episode 103 – Pandemic Randomness
June 2, 2022
From normalizing risk to making patterns, people have dealt with the uncertainty of the pandemic in many ways. In this final episode of our three part series on randomness, Dr. Jones discusses our current relationship with randomness as we enter the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Episode 102 – Human History of Random Thoughts
May 27, 2022
From the early humans to the modern humans of today, we are wired to enjoy theorizing and finding patterns. In this second episode of our three part series on randomness, we go back in time to these early civilizations to explore the multi-thousand year relationship humans of all cultures have had with what will happen… and why!
Episode 101 – Random Acts of Shaking
May 20, 2022
Earthquakes are currently not predictable…and may never be! This episode is the first in a three part series on randomness, starting first with earthquakes. Dr. Jones builds the foundation for what randomness is and explains why we might have to accept the fact that earthquake distribution is random.
Episode 100 – The Magic Eyes of the Geologist
May 13, 2022
We have spent every week since the beginning of the podcast talking remotely at home about how to get through earthquakes, risks, natural disasters through the perspective of science. In this special episode celebrating 100 episodes of Getting Through It, join John and Dr. Jones in the field as they visit a fault and see this feature through the eyes of a geologist. Become a Patreon supporter to get videos and photos of the fault tour to accompany the episode.
Episode 99 – Why Plate Tectonics Matters to You
May 6, 2022
Plate tectonics controls things you didn’t know about! It impacts the formation of our atmosphere, our oceans, our continents, and our local geology. So natural hazards, including tornadoes and earthquakes, are connected to plate tectonics. In this episode, Dr. Jones explains why plate tectonics matters to you.
Episode 98 – Is It Too Late to Cool the Earth?
April 29, 2022
As we experience increased intensity, frequency, and geographic occurrence of natural disasters, the climate crisis can feel overwhelming, with dire headlines leading to further despair and inaction. While the answers aren’t black and white, Dr. Jones reacts to the latest calls for action, UN reports, and what it means to each of us.
Episode 97 – Predicting Earthquakes, California-style
April 22, 2022
Thirty years ago, April 22, 1992, a magnitude 6.1 earthquake occurred under Joshua Tree National Park. It was also the closest we have ever gotten to a short-term earthquake prediction in California! Dr. Jones sets the scene for how this prediction was issued and what could have followed the Joshua Tree earthquake. Read more.
Episode 96 – How the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake Changed the World
April 15, 2022
This week marks the 116th anniversary of the great San Francisco Earthquake on April 18, 1906. It inspired many classic, yet inaccurate, Hollywood movies and many fears about earthquakes in California! In this episode, Dr. Jones explores how this quake from over a century ago is impacting us today as we plan for another big earthquake.
Episode 95 – Lessons Learned from the Pandemic for the Next Disaster
April 8, 2022
In this special episode, Dr. Jones and John answer questions from community and business leaders in a live webinar, hosted in collaboration with Together for LA. From lessons learned during the pandemic to recommended resources, Dr. Jones and John discuss how this information can actually be used in communities to prepare for the next disaster.
Episode 94 – How Seismologists Can Tell if You Washed Your Hands
April 1, 2022
Seismology has seen major technical developments in the last few decades! And those technologies allow for some pretty innovative and impressive applications, from building health to human health to revealing if you washed your hands after using the bathroom!
Episode 93 – How We Know What We Know… About Earthquakes
March 25, 2022
How do we know what just happened after the Earth stops shaking? It’s all about the instruments that measure what is happening – sometimes many miles – below the surface! In this episode, we look at the history of earthquake recordings, how that has moved from analog to digital processes, and the vulnerabilities present in those systems.
Episode 92 – Lucy’s Adventures in Scienceland
March 18, 2022
In celebration of Women’s History Month, Dr Jones shares her stories as a woman in science! She offers insights on how things have changed for women in science based on her experience from first gaining interest in science, to college, to getting a job with the USGS, and beyond.
Episode 91 – Imagining the Impacts of Big Disasters
March 11, 2022
What if you knew what would happen in the next disaster before it did? Scenarios provide a story that can be related to and remembered! Scenarios are pretty powerful tools… if they’re actually used. This episode explores what makes a good scientific scenario and how you can use them.
Episode 90 – Quake or Nuke? How Do We Know?
March 4, 2022
This week, we discuss the history of nuclear weapons and their connection to the science of earthquakes— specifically, the history of the seismic network and how it monitors the Earth’s movement. Dr. Jones explains the difference between the waves generated by an earthquake and a bomb.
Episode 89 – Pandemic to Endemic and What It Means for You
February 25, 2022
After nearly two years of living with COVID-19, here in California, the mandates for masking are being lifted, and some people are acting as though the pandemic is over. As we move to endemic, Dr. Jones tells us why our risk has not changed and how to manage the next phase of living with this virus in our communities.
Episode 88 – Why Fear Fails You
February 18, 2022
Fear is our fundamental response to danger and a driver of action, but it doesn’t allow us to truly manage what we are facing in potential (and actual) disasters! Don’t be afraid to deal with your natural emotions in this episode!
Episode 87 – Predicting the Next U.S. Volcanic Eruption
February 11, 2022
While Dr. Jones always says that earthquakes can’t be predicted, volcanic eruptions, on the other hand, can be. In this episode, Dr. Jones discusses the Three Sisters volcano in Oregon, its reported “uplift”, and the key to volcano predictions – and why they matter to you even if you don’t live anywhere near one of the more than 150 volcanoes in the U.S.!
Episode 86 – Locked and Loaded Faults
February 4, 2022
The San Andreas Fault was described as “locked, loaded, and ready to roll” in 2016. Many people thought, when they heard this, that the big earthquake was imminent. In this episode, considering geologic time, Dr. Jones explains what this really means.
Episode 85 – An Earthquake Felt 300 Years Later
January 28, 2022
This week marks the anniversary of the Cascadia Earthquake in the Pacific Northwest on January 26, 1700, the largest known earthquake in the continental U.S. In this episode, Dr. Jones explains how we know the exact date (and time!) of this earthquake and how sometimes an earthquake’s ramifications can be felt three centuries later as we plan for what might be coming.
Episode 84 – A Blast Heard around the World
January 21, 2022
What is considered the largest volcanic explosion in three decades, the global impact of the underwater volcanic eruption near the South Pacific Kingdom of Tonga on January 15, 2022 raises more questions than answers. To clarify some common questions, Dr. Jones discusses pressure waves, VEI categorization, and tsunami warnings.
Episode 83 – Will We Have a Big Earthquake in 2022?
January 14, 2022
As Dr. Jones always says, what has happened, will happen again. How do we know what earthquakes will happen in 2022? In this episode, Dr. Jones discusses the likelihood of a big earthquake in 2022 and how we can manage that risk.
Episode 82 – Don’t Look Down
January 7, 2022
In this episode, Dr. Jones looks at the recent Netflix movie, Don’t Look Up, and explains what would happen when an asteroid of that size hits the earth. She shares how it has happened in the past, and how we’re likely to survive (or not).
Episode 81 – Surviving Omicron
December 23, 2021
In this episode, Dr. Jones breaks down how COVID-19 variants form, how Omicron might play out, and her approach to managing an increase risk of getting infected.
Episode 80 – Our Dubious Distinction: U.S. is #1 in Tornadoes
December 17, 2021
In the central part of the U.S., there are about ten times as many tornadoes as anywhere else in the world. But even if you don’t live in this “tornado alley”, a tornado can still form — even in Los Angeles! This week, with the reminder of how devastating tornadoes can be, Dr. Jones explains how tornadoes form and the impact of climate change on tornado “outbreaks”.
Episode 79 – What is Risk?
December 10, 2021
We tend to think of risk as an objective quantity, but actually risk is a human construct. It can help us make decisions and manage any danger we face. In this episode, Dr. Jones assesses risk as emotions, risk as analysis, and risk as politics— and we need all three to take action!
Episode 78 – The Earthquake Weather Fallacy
December 3, 2021
“Earthquake weather” is one of the oldest and most pervasive earthquake myths. Even though surface weather and earthquakes are not related, they are constantly put in the same mental category. In this episode, we travel back in time to explore the origins of this misconception, from Aristotle’s theory about the Earth’s structure, to The Great Lisbon Earthquake and more.
Episode 77 – Why Be Thankful 2021
November 26, 2021
This week, as we celebrate Thanksgiving, we take a look at what we can be thankful for in the face of calamity and uncertainty in the last year. And some of it might surprise you!
Episode 76 – California’s Other Big One (Part 4)
November 19, 2021
We have lost the collective memory of what major floods can do to California and so flood risk is always underestimated. In this final episode of our four part series on the impacts of rain, flooding, and cascading disasters that come from it, Dr. Jones explains our normalization bias and how we should be thinking about upcoming storm events influenced by climate change.
Episode 75 – California’s Other Big One (Part 3)
November 12, 2021
In the third episode of our four part series about the impacts of rain, flooding, and cascading disasters that come from it, and what it means for California, Dr. Jones discusses what a repeat of California’s worst flood in written history could look like today. Using a model, ARkStorm, to create synthetic storm conditions based on California’s past flooding events, we can anticipate the staggering impacts of this other “Big One.”
Episode 74 – California’s Other Big One (Part 2)
November 5, 2021
The “Big Ones” are not just big disasters; they fundamentally change society. This episode is the second in our four part series about the impacts of rain, flooding, and cascading disasters that come from it, and what it means for California. In this second episode, Dr. Jones explains what happened in the flood of 1861-62, the worst flood in California’s written history, and how it changed the state’s main industry and more.
Episode 73 – California’s Other Big One (Part 1)
October 29, 2021
Rain is something we don’t fear in California, but we should. This episode is the first in a four part series about the impacts of rain, flooding, and cascading disasters that come from it, and what it means for California. This first episode reveals the true reality of floods, atmospheric rivers, and storms in California.
Episode 72 – Fire + Rain = Debris Flows
October 22, 2021
Post-fire debris flows are lesser known, but are just as dangerous as other more commonly known disasters. In this episode, Dr. Jones defines what debris flows are and talks about her experience studying their impacts in Southern California.
Episode 71 – The Real Cost of Oil
October 15, 2021
What does oil cost? This includes costs that are not only monetary, but also concern health and quality of life. With a recent oil spill impacting beaches across southern California, this episode looks at what the cost and impact oil has on the planet.
Episode 70 – Prediction: The Future Holds 3 Times as Many Disasters
October 8, 2021
A study found that younger people will be facing more disasters than the generations preceding them. To understand this study, Dr. Jones defines risk as the consequence of the disaster to human beings and our constructs. It is calculated by multiplying hazard by exposure by fragility. This equation shows us that to decrease our risk, we have to decrease our fragility by building our society to handle what is coming.
Episode 69 – Breaking the Disaster Cycle
October 1, 2021
What is the disaster cycle and how do we get out of it? This episode breaks it down and gives insights on how each of us should approach a disaster so we can work to minimize its impact on us.
Episode 68 – All Models Are Wrong
September 24, 2021
Unlike earthquakes, volcanoes have some key precursors to let you know what is imminent. Unfortunately, assumptions based on simple models reported by the media and lack of reporting on the change in the science can lead to misconceptions of what is possible in an eruption event. As Dr. Jones reminds us in this episode: the scientific process is more than one, peer-reviewed paper.
Episode 67 – All About Faults
September 17, 2021
Earthquakes can happen almost anywhere, but they have to happen on a fault. To explain when it is important to note on which fault an earthquake occurred, Dr. Jones defines what a fault is, the difference between active and inactive faults, and how Paleoseismology can reveal the history of a fault.
Episode 66 – Trust the Science?
September 10, 2021
Science is a process, not a result, to discern reality. And while there are accepted theories that few people argue, there are new models and datasets that may challenge what we know based on this process. In this episode, Dr. Jones explains the process and how she approaches new scientific information.
Episode 65 – All About Hurricanes
September 3, 2021
In this episode, Dr. Jones discusses the basics of hurricanes, how they get categorized, and their impacts on communities around the country. She explains the fundamentals of where and how they form, as well as what we can expect in the future from these potentially devastating events.
Episode 64 – Wildfires and Climate Change
August 27, 2021
Human activity has changed wildfire ecology across the globe. Wildfires are natural processes that are fundamental to many ecosystems, but their rate, intensity, and impact are being altered by human-caused climate change. In this episode, Dr. Jones discusses fire suppression, ignition sources, and what you can do to slow the rate we are damaging our forests.
Episode 63 – Haiti’s Latest Earthquake: Lessons for Other Disasters
August 20, 2021
The large earthquake in Haiti on August 14th, 2021 reminds us how much we really know about the next disaster. And the answer is: a lot. Why are disasters such a shock, then? Science gives us the tools and the knowledge for better response, improving survival and recovery time.
Episode 62 – The Problem with Disaster Insurance
August 13, 2021
We cannot stop natural processes like earthquakes from occurring, but we can plan to manage them and protect our communities. Having insurance is a form of this community protection: you build funds by withstanding the smaller, more likely events and share the risk for the rarer, worse events. In this episode, Dr. Jones discusses the flaws in our current disaster insurance system and how a federal natural hazards insurance program could protect us from the natural disasters we all face.
Episode 61 – For the Good of the Many (Resilience as a Community)
August 6, 2021
The foundation for building resilience is understanding and applying the science to natural hazards with and for your community. The culture of “rugged individualism” in the US has contributed to its citizens limiting their actions in service of the community good. In a pandemic, earthquakes, and other disasters, we all can be safer from individual action done for the community as a whole.
Episode 60 – What Are the Chances? (of catching COVID-19 after being vaccinated)
July 30, 2021
Nearly all the people getting infected now with COVID-19 are not vaccinated, but there are still fully vaccinated people getting infected. This episode explores why, statistically, this is happening and why we shouldn’t see being vaccinated as perfect, but as our chance to decrease our risk. As Dr. Jones says, in response to earthquakes, wildfires, and the COVID-19 pandemic, it is both with and for the community that we need to take resilience-building actions.
Episode 59 – Stationarity is Dead
July 23, 2021
Floods used to be one of the biggest risks people would face. While there have been major engineering improvements to dams and drainage to prevent the impacts of flooding, there is always a flood that will overwhelm the flood controls. Further, climate change is driving disasters like flooding to increase in both intensity and quantity. In this episode, Dr. Jones discusses flood perception and prediction, and how our disaster planning can be improved.
Episode 58 – All About Foreshocks
July 16, 2021
In this episode, Dr. Jones defines what foreshocks are, describes their variability, and explains how to manage “what comes next.” She tells the story of her first papers characterizing what foreshocks are, and what we need to know about the likelihood something bigger will follow. This primer includes all the basics you need to understand foreshocks.
Episode 57 – Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (Related to Earthquakes!)
July 9, 2021
Transportation can be a big issue after an earthquake, even when the infrastructure itself has not been damaged. In this episode, Dr. Jones explains how transit infrastructure will fare during an earthquake, from trains, to cars, to even airplanes. But is it safer to be in a tunnel or on a bridge during an earthquake? The answer may not be what you expect.
Episode 56 – Why Buildings Fall Down
July 2, 2021
What keeps buildings from falling down — and why do they? This episode looks that the governmental and technical solutions to the challenges of tall buildings. From codes to engineers to builders to inspectors — buildings have many people who are the ones responsible for its safety.
Episode 55 – Young and Hot in California
June 25, 2021
California is young and hot compared to the East Coast which is old and cold… as it relates to the rocks, at least. And the age of the rocks is one of reasons that determines how waves from an earthquake travel from the fault – farther on the East Coast and less so on the West Coast. In this episode, Dr. Jones explains why that is, and why a similar sized earthquake has different impacts based on the ground beneath you.
Episode 54 – Hydration to Flushing: Water After an Earthquake
June 18, 2021
You likely use more water than you realize — until it’s not there. When a large earthquake happens, water will be in short supply for many reason, and as Dr. Jones always says: “How long are you willing to stick around with out a shower?” This episode looks at our water, our pipes, and why it matters more than just staying hydrated.
Episode 53 – Will the Internet Survive the Big One?
June 11, 2021
We are dependent on the internet for so many things, and after an earthquake, it becomes essential (especially around information and communication!). Will it be there after the next big earthquake? How we make sure it is there may take more than you might think…
Episode 52 – How Safe Is It to Travel This Summer?
June 4, 2021
How safe is traveling this summer in light of the lingering impacts of COVID19? Is it safer than driving? What about other modes? In this episode, Dr. Jones breaks down the risks, and shows how dramatically different the risk is if you wear a mask or better yet, are vaccinated. And seriously, why do we think we’re safe when we drive — she explains that, too!
Episode 51 – Man vs. Nature (Hint: Nature Wins)
May 28, 2021
In this episode, we look at what we can really control when it comes to natural hazards and systems, and the answer is simple: nothing. But, we can manage them, if we work at it. Listen to learn about new oceans in Africa, storms bigger than anything we’ve planned for, and the reason COVID19 isn’t our last pandemic.
Episode 50 – COVID19 Isn’t Going Away: What’s Next?
May 21, 2021
We know that COVID-19 isn’t going away, so what’s next for us? What can we expect life to be life in 6 months or a year? In this episode, we look at what vaccinated society looks like, what we’ll be able to do, and how we can get through living with this virus.
Episode 49 – Why People Matter More than Preparedness Kits
May 14, 2021
Don’t think that an earthquake kit is what you need to prepare for an earthquake. In this episode, we discuss why people matter to your survival of and recovery from an earthquake or other disaster. A kit makes you feel like you’re ready, but it’s simply a bandaid for what is truly needed.
Episode 48 – Craziest Earthquake Predictions
May 7, 2021
Following up on our 4-part series on earthquake prediction from earlier this season, this episode dives into the deep end with the craziest predictions and prediction sources Dr. Jones has encountered since her time as a graduate student. Hear some wild rationales and the reason why we seek to explain what might happen next.
Episode 47 – How to Watch a Disaster Movie with an Eye on Science
April 30, 2021
Disaster movies – even bad ones – capture our attention because they portray what could happen. Dr. Jones looks at the three types of disaster movies and how real science is used (or not!), and how you can watch these movies to survive what you might face.
Episode 46 – How to Talk About the Climate Crisis
April 23, 2021
In honor of Earth Week, this episode explains how you can talk about the climate crisis, and how it can actually make a difference. Dr. Jones shares the research-based approach to get action on this issue when talking to other people about it.
Episode 45 – How You Can Start an Earthquake
April 16, 2021
In this episode, Dr. Jones explains the ways humans can start earthquakes. She talks about bombs, dams, fracking, and even nerve gas! Take a listen and see how humans can cause earthquakes.
Episode 44 – Why Disasters Breed Conspiracy Theories
April 9, 2021
By their nature, disasters are a prime circumstance for conspiracy theories to emerge and spread. And the explanation as to why is not as simple as people being uninformed. Hear the explanation of why this happens, and learn what you can do to manage disinformation in a crisis.
Episode 43 – Volcanic Ash and Gas… and You
April 2, 2021
In this episode, Dr. Jones explains why even a distant volcanic eruption could impact you where you are. From the ash that impacts air travel to gases that can kill thousands, volcanos emit more than lava that can impact the entire world.
Episode 42 – Six Volcano Myths Explained
March 26, 2021
Volcanoes can be the most visually impressive natural hazard for many reasons, and Dr. Jones explains key facts about these very specific geologic features of the earth that are often misunderstood. She tackles six myths, giving insights on where volcanoes can happen, why “sticky lava” matters, and their impact on climate change.
Episode 41 – All about Tsunamis
March 19, 2021
In this episode, we explore how tsunamis are formed, how they travel, and what to do when you hear (or feel!) a warning of one. Though they’re one of the most feared natural hazards, understanding the basics of tsunamis will help you manage the risk you might face.
Episode 40 – All about Magnitude
March 12, 2021
In this episode, Dr. Jones explores how we come to use magnitude to describe the size of an earthquake, and all the complications that come along with it… and why we need it to manage the human response to fear the uncertainty of earthquakes.
Episode 39 – Defining Disasters
March 5, 2021
“What is a disaster, anyway?” This episode explores how we historically and currently define disasters. By understanding what they are, we can manage them more effectively. Dr. Jones explores how an earthquake disaster can inform our management of the pandemic, and how we can’t let time scale distract us from the impact and severity of longer, “slow” disasters.
Episode 38 – Regulating Yourself out of Disasters
February 26, 2021
In this episode, we explore the failures in Texas in February 2021 to deal with a winter storm that impacted them based on the choices made by that state. We take a look at why government has a role in preventing disasters and how they do or don’t do that critical work – a core function of government in general. And what can you do about it so you can get through the next disaster?
Episode 37 – All about Aftershocks
February 19, 2021
In this episode, Dr. Jones explains how aftershocks are named, how long they can last, and what to expect when in the midst of an aftershock sequence. She reveals the story behind how she came to want to study and explain them, and how understanding aftershocks can help manage fears around earthquakes. This primer includes all the basics you need to understand aftershocks.
Episode 36 – Calm, Science, and Parenting in the Pandemic
February 12, 2021
In this episode, Dr. Jones shares how she came to be the one to explain more than just the science behind earthquakes and disasters. She recalls the story from 1992 that showed to everyone that she was a mother and a scientist and appeared to be able to “have it all.” From 2020 into 2021, the experience of working from home and parenting at the same time focuses everyone on what it takes to do both – often at the same time. Dr. Jones offers her insights on how she sacrificed to make it work, as she had to do quite publicly in the 1990s, and what those trying to cope now could do to get through it.
Episode 35 – 50th Anniversary of the Sylmar/San Fernando Earthquake
February 5, 2021
In this episode, we share the science, damage, and lasting impact that the first large earthquake in modern Los Angeles had on the city and how we address earthquake risk across the country. What was learned created new laws, funding streams, and approaches to manage earthquake risk. In fact, it’s this earthquake on February 9, 1971 that may have put Dr Jones on track to the career she had helping us all get through it.
Episode 34 – Vaccines and Virus Mutation
January 29, 2021
In this episode, Dr. Jones explains the way the Coronavirus works, how the vaccines work, and how virus mutation could impact the vaccine effectiveness. She talks about when you’re most contagious (and it’s not when you’re sickest!), and she reveals why the name of the Coronavirus also relates to how the vaccine works. And, Dr. Jones explains why the virus is “lazy.”
Episode 33 – Earthquake Prediction Part 4 of 4
January 22, 2021
In this final episode of our four part series on earthquake prediction, we explore what can be predicted for a particular earthquake. In this case, we look at the damage, injuries, death, and disruption from an earthquake on the Newport Inglewood Fault running from Long Beach to Beverly Hills. Dr. Jones will explain who will feel shaking (all of SoCal) and how an earthquake on this fault compares to others. She can’t tell you when, but she can tell you what will happen…
Episode 32 – Earthquake Prediction Part 3 of 4
January 15, 2021
In this, the third of our four part series on earthquake prediction, we explore earthquake early warning and what it means to be notified that earthquake shaking is headed your way momentarily. With an earthquake underway, this system can provide a “prediction” of what you’ll feel. Why does this matter? Dr. Jones explains the various benefits, and some may surprise you because it’s more than physically protecting yourself in the moment.
Episode 31 – Earthquake Prediction Part 2 of 4
January 8, 2021
In part 2 of our 4 part series on earthquake prediction, Dr. Jones explains the idea of how the rate of earthquakes can be the piece of information that helps know if another earthquake is more likely. She explains why people think she can predict earthquakes, when really, she’s just explaining the science of what makes an earthquake more likely (hint: earthquakes never happen by themselves!). She helps explain why the San Andreas Fault is different and can be seen as more likely than other earthquakes and when a one day rate might go up around it, where people might think a prediction is being made when triggering is involved. We also reveal the things you should listen for when scientists talk about what’s potentially going to happen next.
Episode 30 – Earthquake Prediction Part 1 of 4
January 1, 2021
This is the first of 4 episodes focused on earthquake prediction. Dr. Jones talks about her personal experience in China and her research into foreshocks and the likelihood of there being something “there” that reveals when an earthquake might occur. And the question is more complicated than just when: where and how big is what we really want to know. Here’s the start of what you need to know to understand why earthquake prediction is currently — and likely forever — impossible.
Episode 29 – Music and Science for Inspiration and Action
December 25, 2020
In this episode, Dr. Jones reveals a bit about her process for writing music inspired by climate change data to help make real the issues we will face in the years ahead. She explains how music taps into the emotional shared experience like no other tool or mechanism does, and we talk about the coming year where she’ll be convening physical scientists, social scientists, and musicians to work together to help inspire action around climate change through music. Take a listen and know that music can help you get through it!
Episode 28 – What’s a Doctor (and How One Responds to Experts, Expertise, and Things They’re Not Expert in)
December 18, 2020
In this episode, we look at the origins of the use of “doctor” (it’s from western theology, as can be seen in the ceremonial robes still worn today) and the role of skills and knowledge and demonstrating expertise. “Doctor” is at times as shorthand for “come to me for expert information,” and for Dr. Jones, it meant recognizing that she had expertise in the 1990s in SoCal when, in comparison to her male colleagues, she was not given the credit of her expertise in the media, being called an “earthquake lady” instead of a scientist. The controversy of the use of the title “doctor” reveals the complicated relationship Americans have with truth and experts. And today, this issue is more important than ever as we all must have the skills to determine the truth we encounter in all forms of media.
Episode 27 – Why the Frequency of Earthquakes Matters to You
December 11, 2020
In this episode, as we look at the frequency of the energy produced in an earthquake — the waves of energy emitted from the earthquake — we’ll explore how music and earthquakes are connected. We’ll talk about how buildings themselves have a resonant frequency and what it means when a building is “excited” by the earthquake shaking. We explore how big earthquakes and small earthquakes are really quite different in terms of the type of energy they produce, and how even the biggest earthquakes that produce a lot of damage likely won’t impact where we live.
Episode 26 – What is an Earthquake, Anyway?
December 4, 2020
In this fundamental episode, we explore the very basics of what an earthquake is. Dr. Jones explains what causes the shaking we feel, the debate over what causes an earthquake to start and stop, and the ways in which stress is transferred and relieved. We also explore the ideas of microseism and stress drop, and Dr. Jones debunks a few more earthquake myths.
Episode 25 – Why Be Thankful for Earthquakes?
November 27, 2020
In this special Thanksgiving episode, we talk about what we can be thankful for in the face of disaster. Dr. Jones explains how disasters make California California. We travel back in time to the Roman Empire to talk about wine, and we explore why our work to make communities safer from disasters might make us less thankful for their benefits. After all, disasters aren’t natural — it’s the people that turn these natural processes into disasters.
Episode 24 – You’re Not as Safe as You Think (But Don’t Give Up!)
November 20, 2020
Don’t give up now — that’s Dr. Lucy Jones’s advice to dealing with the latest COVID19 surge. Our feelings aren’t what the risk actually is because as humans, we have evolved with two systems for analyzing risks we face. Dr. Jones shares the pros and cons of “going with your gut” as it relates to managing risks and explains why we don’t want to believe experts telling us not to have Thanksgiving. We look at how greater benefits appear to lower the risk and discuss ways to manage the emotional conflict with the analytical response in order to get through the extremes, like the current surge in COVID19 cases in California and across the US.
Episode 23 – Where Can Earthquakes Happen?
November 13, 2020
In this episode, we look at where earthquakes can happen… and the answer might surprise you. Certain places, like California, are known for having earthquakes but almost anywhere can have one, especially when human activity causes them (yes, you read that correctly!). And when they happen in places less common for them, they can often be surprising. The US East Coast used to be a plate boundary at the Appalachian Mountains, which were once almost as high as the Himalayas! How will you react when the next earthquake happens — Dr. Jones gives you a big clue on what to expect whether the rate of earthquakes is high or low where you are.
Episode 22 -Dealing with Uncertainty
November 5, 2020
Whether talking about disasters, college acceptance, or election results, humans aren’t wired to manage the stress of not knowing what’s happening next. In this episode, we look at uncertainty and why seeking answers — even if they’re bad — is more comforting than not knowing. Dr. Jones offers her approach to dealing with uncertainty, and shares one of the letters she’s received over the last 30 years that demonstrates the way humans seek some sort of explanation in the face of no certain answer.
Episode 21 – Real Science vs. Alternative Facts
October 30, 2020
Science is a process, and it’s OK to change your understanding based on fact. And figuring out what is actually true is worth the discomfort of the process to get there. In this episode, we delve into the idea of thinking vs. knowing and how that plays into our understanding of scientific information. With an impending disaster of misinformation, Dr. Jones shares her six steps to determining if a scientific “study” is credible when found online or being shared through social media. This includes the role of traditional media and how not to be misled by the “trappings of science.” She also shares what to do when you encounter someone with a different set of facts than you.
Episode 20 – Debris Flows and Landslides
October 23, 2020
Looking at the way intense rainfall can cause massive flows of mud, rocks, boulders, and anything in its path, this episode helps you understand how to manage the risk o debris flows that often follows fires on steep hillsides and mountains. Dr. Jones talks about the hydrophobic chemicals that make this type of terrain so susceptible to this deadly hazard. Consider how society manages this risk: building more interventions to stop mud, water, and debris from inundating neighborhoods leading to death and destruction. How would you manage this risk, as you manage risks every day? Dr Jones says, “don’t underestimate the risk.”
Episode 19 – Earthquake Swarms
October 16, 2020
Dr. Jones is often telling people that “when you have a lot of earthquakes, you have a lot of earthquakes.” This rings truest when an area is experiencing an earthquake swarm — many earthquakes around the same size without their being one largest earthquake as the main shock. In this episode, we explore the concepts of earthquake swarms, what they mean, and what you can do if you’re feeling one or hear about one happening.
Episode 18 – Why ShakeOut?
October 9, 2020
Go back in time with Dr. Jones and John to hear the history of the Great ShakeOut: how it was formed back in 2007 and the social science research that was the basis for its initial success. This episode explores how this one day event has now reached tens of millions of people each year, and why it’s important for everyone to participate — including Dr. Jones!
Episode 17 -The Air You Can See
October 2, 2020
Just in time for Clean Air Day, we spend this episode talking about the air you can see, which is not good air. In fact, air pollution affects millions of people around the globe and is a disaster in its own right. Compounding this is the fact that air you can’t see can be polluted and also contributes to climate change. Take a journey with Dr. Jones back to her childhood in Southern California where smog days kept her home from school, and find out what you can do now to help clean up the air as an individual and a member of your community.
Episode 16 – Why You Feel What You Feel in an Earthquake
September 25, 2020
Have you ever felt an earthquake and tried to guess how big it is? You’re not alone! In this episode, Dr. Jones explains how magnitude is assigned to a quake, why Charles Richter developed his scale, and why we should really be more concerned with intensity. As we wait for the big one, join us as we help you understand how you can put meaning to what you feel and get through the next earthquake.
Episode 15 – Time and the Inevitability of Disasters
September 18, 2020
Time is constant, and we often make decisions on a scale that fails to recognize our own limits in understanding time. With a planet that’s about 5 billion years old, and a written history no more than 5000 years old, we have to really work to realize that the natural processes operate on a different scale. This episode delves into the ideas of geologic time, the likelihood of disasters, and how we can manage our moment in time.
Episode 14 – Science in a Crisis: Better, not Perfect
September 11, 2020
This episode reveals why that latest scientific study may not be your answer in making you feel better during a crisis. As you seek to take control during a disaster, Dr. Jones shares how science is not always about the big picture; it’s about going into the weeds and really: isolating a single weed. We share the process of how science can help inform policy-makers in their efforts to address urgent issues in the natural environment, and that no scientific information keeps you perfectly safe, it just makes society safer than without it. Science makes life better, not perfect.
Episode 13 – Five Rare but Possible Disasters That Science Tells Us Can Happen
September 4, 2020
An Earthquake in New York City? Hurricanes in LA? More than a month of straight rain across California? This episode explores 5 rare but possible natural hazards that are not well-known that could lead to catastrophic consequences. Dr. Jones explains the science behind each event and reveals when they last happened and how often they occur.
Episode 12 – Our Biggest Killer: Extreme Heat
August 28, 2020
Few people are afraid of hot weather, but in the US, on average it kills more people per year than most other geologic or atmospheric events. And, more extreme heat days are coming. In this episode, we look at extreme heat and what it means for us now and in the near future as we try to keep calm and cool.
Episode 11 – Raging Wildfires
August 21, 2020
As humans move deeper and deeper into the wildlands as part of sprawling cities, and with a rapidly warming earth, wild fires are more intense and more destructive than ever before. In this episode, we explore wildfires, their causes, the way we view them, and what can be done to protect ourselves from their impacts. You’ll also learn about “dragon twists” and how devastating a single palm tree can be.
Episode 10 – Pandemic Frustration: How Cognitive Dissonance, Tribalism, Individualism and Social Norms Norms Change the Way We Hear Public Safety Messages
August 14, 2020
In this episode, we explore the frustration felt when other people take actions during the pandemic that put other people at risk. We look at the research as to why this happens and how others can work to communicate most effectively with them. As a community, we must work together to address this long disaster for the months ahead because, as Dr. Jones says, “We’re all in this together.”
Episode 9 – Debunking the Biggest Earthquake Myths
August 7, 2020
In this episode, we’re diving deep into the pool of misconceptions, myths, and legends that seek to explain what makes earthquakes so scary to humans. From the earliest records kept, humans have sought to explain “why” in order to help us feel better about the fact that we don’t know when earthquakes will strike. We take a look at time of day, weather, animals, and more to help you get through it when the earth starts to move…
Episode 8 – The Disaster “Blame Game”
July 31, 2020
In a disaster, systems fail where they are already weak or strained (think of brittle pipes, weak buildings, or overwhelmed levies). Like our physical systems, our social systems function in the same way. In this episode, Dr. Jones explores how society finds scapegoats during a disaster, why, and what we can do about it. And it comes down to trust.
Episode 7 – The Likelihood (and Impact!) of a Natural Disaster in a Pandemic
July 24, 2020
It’s time to avoid “magical thinking” and referring to things as “on brand” for 2020. In this episode, we delve into the likelihood of an earthquake, hurricane, or other natural disaster of occurring during the COVID19 Pandemic. Spoiler alert — it’s more likely than you probably want to admit!
Episode 6 – What Does It Mean When You Have a Lot Earthquakes
July 17, 2020
From the “increased risk” on the San Andreas Fault to many felt aftershocks in Puerto Rico to Yellowstone’s super-volcano and the mythological Ring of Fire — this episode reveals what you need to know about earthquakes they read or hear about and how they might explain what’s next.
Episode 5 – Science: From Ivory Tower to the Public Square
July 10, 2020
In this episode, Dr. Jones discusses the fundamentals of bringing science from the ivory tower to the public square — to everyone — so you can take control of our chaotic world. She talks about science as facts vs. science as a process, the role of tobacco in our science-trust crisis, and why reality really matters to all of us trying to manage the current crisis and the crises we’ll face in the future.
Episode 4 – Why a Pandemic Spikes (and What You Can Do About It)
July 3, 2020
In this episode, Lucy and John explore the recent spike in COVID19 across the US, what the science tells, and how we, as humans need to find a sense of belonging to survive in the long, slow disaster.
Episode 3 – Why You Feel/Fear What You Do about Disasters
June 29, 2020
In this episode, Dr. Jones explains why you feel what you feel about disasters, looking at the innate human reaction that leads to fear-based on dread and uncertainty.
Episode 2 – The Earthquake Name Game
June 22, 2020
In this episode, Dr. Jones explains how earthquakes get their names, why an aftershock is called an aftershock, and how those names can change…. any why it’s important for you to know these things!
Episode 1 – Surviving the Pandemic with Science
June 14, 2020
Dr. Jones explains how we are doing what we’re doing to be safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.