Skip to main content

Secondary navigation:

College of Arts and Sciences

Alan Kafka

earth and environmental sciences

Alan Kafka

Alan L. Kafka, Associate Professor
Ph.D. (Geophysics), Stony Brook University (1980)
M.S. (Applied Mathematics), Stony Brook University (1973)
B.A. (Mathematics), New York University (1971)

Phone: 617-552-3650
Email: kafka@bc.edu
Personal Home Page: www2.bc.edu/alan-kafka

Interests

Seismology, Earthquake Hazards, Science Education, Science and Public Policy


Examples of M.S. Projects and Alumni

Steven Fisher
Effects of Spatial Scale, Magnitude and Time on Cellular Seismology Forecasts (In Progress).

Jill Thompson
Probabilistic Analysis of Earthquake Losses in the Boston area. (2007)

Heather Wagner
Effect of tectonic environment on the extent to which seismicity delineates zones where future large earthquakes tend to occur. (2007)

Kristi Rasmusson
Probabilistic analysis of social and economic losses due to large earthquakes in New England. (2003)

Jennifer Malmstrom
The disparate impacts of earthquakes on developing versus industrialized nations. (2002)

Dina Smith
Signal, noise and siting analysis of New England PEPP stations. (2001)

Jessica Walcott
Use of the spatial distributions of small earthquakes to forecast the locations of larger earthquakes in the eastern United States. (1997)

Stephan Koester
Analysis of seismic phases recorded by a small-aperture seismic array surrounding Weston Observatory: coherency & spectral amplitude ratios. (1995)

Pnina Miller
Investigation of the correlations between seismicity and geological and geophysical features near two mesozoic rift basins in the northeastern United States. (1995)

Susan D'Annolfo
Investigation of lateral variation in the seismic velocity structure of the shallow crust beneath eastern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire. (1992)

Matthew Jacobson-Carroll
Site effects on regional seismograms recorded in the vicinity of Weston Observatory. (1992)

Zhiping Tu
A study of Rg wave dispersion in New Hampshire and Vermont. (1989)

Scot Gnewuch
Investigation of velocity and anelastic attenuation structures of the shallow crust in New England by time domain modeling of Rg waves. (1987)

John McTigue
Modeling upper crustal structures in southern New England using short-period Rg waves. (1986)

Robert Fowler
Attenuation of Rg waves in southern New England. (1985)

Matthew Dollin
The use of Rg waves to constrain crustal velocity structure in Connecticut. (1984)


Professional Experience

Director, Boston College Educational Seismology Project (2004-present)

Associate Professor, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Boston College (1989-present)

Associate Director, Weston Observatory, Boston College (1993-present)

Director of Undergraduate Studies, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Boston College (2011-2012)

Department Chair, Geology and Geophysics, Boston College (2001-2007)

Adjunct Associate Professor, Geology and Geophysics, Boston College (1987-1989)

National Research Council Associate, AFGL, Hanscom AFB, MA (1985-1986)

Assistant Professor, Geology and Geophysics, Boston College (1983-1984)

Research Associate, Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory, Columbia University (1979-1982)

Adjunct Assistant Professor, Earth and Planetary Sciences, City College of New York (1982)

Instructor, Mathematics, Suffolk County Community College, Selden, NY (1974-1975)


Selected Publications

Kafka, A.L. and J.E. Ebel (2011). Proximity to past earthquakes as a least astonishing hypothesis for forecasting locations of future earthquakes, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 101(4), August 2011, doi: 10.1007/s00024-011-0315-1.

D.W. Chambers, J.A. Baglivo, J.E. Ebel, and A.L. Kafka (2011). Earthquake forecasting using hidden markov models, Pure and Applied Geophysics, doi: 10.1.1007/s00024-011-0315-1.

Kafka, A.L., A. Frappier, and N.P. Snyder (2011). Natural hazards, environmental degradation, and the urbanization of planet Earth: perspectives on the ethical challenges geoscientists face in an uncertain world, Proceedings of the International Conference on Ethics and Sustainability of the Earth, Boston College, February 26-28, 2009, (In Press).

Kafka, A.L. (2010). Cellular Seismology and seismic source characterization of the central and eastern United States, Eastern Section Meeting, Seismological Society of America, Boston College, October 18, 2010 (Abstract).

Kafka, A.L. (2007). Does seismicity delineate zones where future large earthquakes will occur in intraplate environments?, In Continental Intraplate Earthquakes: Science, Hazard, and Policy Issues, Geological Society of America volume, Geological Society of America Special Paper 425, Edited by S. Stein and S. Mazzotti, 35-48, doi: 10.1130/2007.2425(03).

Kafka, A.L., and J.E. Ebel (2007). Exaggerated claims about earthquake predictions, EOS, Transactions of the American Geophysical Union, 88(1), 1, 6.

Kafka, A.L., J.E. Ebel, M. Barnett, A. Macherides Moulis, L. Campbell, and S.E. Gordon (2006). Classroom seismographs and the challenge of encouraging a culture of scientific inquiry in K-12 schools, Seismological Research Letters, 77(6), 74-86.

Barnett, M., A.L. Kafka, A. Pfitzner, and E. Syzmanski (2005). The Living Earth: Inviting students into the world of scientific research through seismology, Journal of College Science Teaching, 34(6), 50-54.

Kafka, A.L. (2005). The value of dialogue between scientists and theologians: A geophysicist's perspective, In The Dialogue Between Science and Religion: What We Have Learned from One Another, P. Byrne, Editor, University of Scranton Press, 143-1 56.

Kafka, A.L. and K. Rasmusson (2003). Using the AS1 seismograph for laboratory exercises in an introductory geophysics course: turning seismic moments into teachable moments, Seismological Research Letters, 74(5), 618-624.

Kafka, A.L (2002). Statistical analysis of the hypothesis that seismicity delineates areas where future large earthquakes are likely to occur in the central and eastern United States, Seismological Research Letters, 73(6), 990-1001.

Ebel, J.E. and A.L. Kafka (2002). A non-poissonian element in the seismicity of the northeastern United States, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 92(5), 2040-2045.

Kafka, A.L. and S.Z. Levin (2000). Does the spatial distribution of smaller earthquakes delineate areas where larger earthquakes are likely to occur?, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 90(3), 724-738.

Kafka, A.L. (2000). Public misconceptions about faults and earthquakes in the eastern United States: Is it our own fault?, Seismological Research Letters, 71(3), 311-312.

Kafka, A.L. (1999). Dr. Quake goes to high school, Seismological Research Letters, 70(2), 179-182.

Kafka, A.L., and E.K. Driscoll (1999). Earthquakes in the area surrounding the Quabbin Reservoir in central Massachusetts, Seismological Research Letters, 70(4), 446-460.

Ebel, J.E. and A.L. Kafka (1999). A Monte Carlo approach to seismic hazard analysis, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 89(4), 854-866.

Kafka, A.L. and Walcott, J.R. (1998). How well does the spatial distribution of smaller earthquakes forecast the locations of larger earthquakes in the northeastern United States?, Seismological Research Letters, 69(5), 428-439.

Kafka, A.L. and P.E. Miller (1996). Seismicity in the area surrounding two Mesozoic rift basins in the northeastern United States, Seismological Research Letters, 67(3), 69-86.

Ebel, J.E. and A.L. Kafka (1991). Earthquake activity in the northeastern United States, in Decade of North American Geology, vol. GSMV-1, Neotectonics of North America, D.B. Slemmons, E.R. Engdahl, D. Blackwell, D. Schwartz and M. Zoback, Editors, Chapter 15, 277-290, 1991.

Kafka, A.L. (1990). Rg as a depth discriminant for earthquakes and explosions: a case study in New England, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 80(2), 373-394.

Saikia, C.K., A.L. Kafka, S.C. Gnewuch, and J.M. McTigue (1990). Shear wave velocity and attenuation structure of the shallow crust in southeastern New England from dispersion of Rg waves, Journal of Geophysical Research, 95(B6), 8527-8541.

Kafka, A.L., M.A. Winslow and N.L. Barstow (1989). Earthquake activity in the greater New York City area: a faultfinder's guide, in Field Trip Guidebook, 61st Annual Meeting, N.Y. State Geological Association, D. Weiss, ed., p. 177-205, 1989.

Kafka, A. L., and E.C. Reiter (1987). Dispersion of Rg waves in southeastern Maine: Evidence for lateral anisotropy in the shallow crust, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 77(3), 925-941.

Kafka, A.L., E.A. Schlesinger-Miller and N.L. Barstow (1985). Earthquake activity in the greater New York City area: magnitudes, seismicity and geologic structures, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 75(5), 1285-1300.

Nishenko, S.P., and A.L. Kafka (1982). Earthquake focal mechanisms and the intraplate setting of the Bermuda Rise, Journal of Geophysical Research, 87(B5), 3929-3941.

Kafka, A.L., and D.J. Weidner (1981). Earthquake focal mechanisms and tectonic processes along the southern boundary of the Caribbean plate, Journal of Geophysical Research, 86(B4), 2877-2888.

Kafka, A.L., and D.J. Weidner (1979). The focal mechanisms and depths of small earthquakes as determined from Rayleigh wave radiation patterns, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 69(5), 1379-1390.