Public Release: 

Mary Lou Zoback to receive GSA 2007 Arthur L. Day Medal and Public Service Award

Geological Society of America

Boulder, CO - Dr. Mary Lou Zoback of Risk Management Solutions, Newark, CA, will receive two major 2007 Geological Society of America awards: the Arthur L. Day Medal and the Public Service Award. The awards will be given at the GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, CO, at the Presidential Address and Awards Ceremony on Saturday, 27 October 2007.

Dr. Zoback is Vice President for Earthquake Risk Applications at Risk Management Solutions. Before joining the company in 2006, she held a number of technical and management positions during a 28-year career with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). In addition to her role as a senior scientist at USGS, she served as Chief Scientist of the Earthquake Hazards Team and Northern California Regional Coordinator for the Earthquake Hazard Program.

Dr. Zoback holds B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees from Stanford University. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and is a fellow of the Geological Society of America and the American Geophysical Union. She served as President of GSA in 1999-2000.

The Geological Society of America Arthur L. Day Medal, established in 1948, recognizes outstanding achievements in solving geologic problems through the application of physics and chemistry. With this award GSA recognizes Dr. Zoback for her body of work delineating the forces that drive and deform Earth's lithospheric plates and cause earthquakes. Her U.S. and world stress maps are widely used and cited by geoscientists around the globe.

"Mary Lou Zoback is a rare individual who is at home both in geologic mapping in the field and in understanding and elucidating subtle relationships between buoyancy and the state of stress of the strong outermost layer of the Earth comprising the tectonic plates," said Richard Gordon, Keck Professor of Geophysics at Rice University, who nominated Zoback for the Day Medal. "Results from research that she conducted and led have profoundly affected our understanding of the stresses and forces that deform the plates and that drive and resist their motion. These results are vital to understanding, for example, what causes earthquakes along the San Andreas Fault and other faults worldwide."

The Geological Society of America Public Service Award was established in 1998 in honor of Eugene and Carolyn Shoemaker. It is awarded to individuals who have significantly enhanced public understanding of the earth sciences. With this award GSA recognizes Dr. Zoback's contributions to the application of geoscience in public policy decision-making as well as to science education at the national and local levels.

"Throughout her distinguished career, Dr. Zoback has consistently dedicated her talents to applying geoscience knowledge to public policy decision-making," said David Applegate, Acting Associate Director for Geology and Senior Science Advisor for Earthquake and Geologic Hazards, U.S. Geological Survey, who nominated Zoback for the Public Service Award. "Her tireless efforts to educate the public on earthquake hazards culminated in her leadership in the campaign to build public awareness and improve earthquake preparedness in the San Francisco Bay region during the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the devastating 1906 earthquake."


The Geological Society of America, founded in 1888, is a scientific society with 20,700 members representing academia, government, and industry in more than 90 countries. Through its meetings, publications, and programs, GSA enhances the professional growth of its members and promotes the geosciences in the service of humankind. Headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, GSA also fosters public dialogue on geoscience issues and supports all levels of earth science education.

Contact Information for Interviews:

Mary Lou Zoback
Risk Management Solutions

A photo of Dr. Zoback may be downloaded from the GSA Web site at

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