2018 was an especially difficult year because of the unexpected death of Dave Drobeck on February 11. Dave served the University of Utah Seismograph Stations (UUSS) for over 20 years and was instrumental in developing the Yellowstone Seismic Network into one of the premier volcano monitoring networks in the world. Dave’s loss was especially hard on the UUSS engineering group—Corey Hatch, Wes O’keefe, and Jon Rusho—who had to take up extra work duties while grieving the loss of their colleague. A summary of Dave’s career was presented by Bob Smith at a ceremony on February 22, and is reprinted in this report.
While someone like Dave can never truly be replaced, I am happy to report that a former UUSS undergraduate research assistant, ArvindParapuzha, agreed to return to UUSS as a seismic engineer trainee in May, and that Wes O’keefe worked his first full field season in Yellowstone this past fall. On July 1, long-time seismic analyst Mark Hale was promoted to senior application systems analyst. Congratulations, Mark!
The biggest highlight of 2018 was the June 14 announcement that the University of Utah had been selected to receive a $140 million grant from the Department of Energy to develop the Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE) site near Milford, Utah. The selection was due in no small part to the effort of UUSS associate director Kris Pankow and her team of students and staff, who created a seismic mitigation plan for the project. Dr. Pankow will continue managing the FORGE seismic risk as work ramps up over the next several years.
We look forward to an exciting new year in 2019. I encourage you to visit our revamped web page at quake.utah.edu to stay up-to-date on our new initiatives and products as well as to find out about the latest seismic activity in Utah. You can also follow UUSS on Twitter with the handle @UUSSQuake.
Keith D. Koper, UUSS Director