Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This


The 'Beyoncé Of Earthquakes,' Dr. Lucy Jones, Is Retiring From USGS

Stories like these are only possible with your help!
You have the power to keep local news strong for the coming months. Your financial support today keeps our reporters ready to meet the needs of our city. Thank you for investing in your community.

Seismologist Dr. Lucy Jones, a.k.a "The Earthquake Lady," will be leaving her post at the United States Geological Survey at the end of the month after 33 years of service.Dr. Jones is well known for appearing on TV whenever there's a seismic event of note; she gives thoughtfully explained answers to questions that are hard to comprehend for the non-seismologist, and does so in a way that's simultaneously soothing, but not devoid of real-talk. Not to mention the fact that she's achieved such acclaim in a field traditionally dominated by men.

The L.A. Times referred to Jones as, "the Beyoncé of earthquakes, the Meryl Streep of government service, a woman breaking barriers in a man's world."

"She has the bearing of your terrific next-door neighbor who takes superb care of her window boxes," NBC News anchor Brian Williams told Smithsonian. "And yet she is as learned as anyone in the field."

In 2014, Jones was appointed by Mayor Eric Garcetti to serve on an earthquake preparedness committee, where she came up with comprehensive building retrofitting and emergency plans.

Support for LAist comes from

Garcetti told the Times, "When the big one hits, people will be living because of the work that she has done." (Notice he said "when," not "if." Oh, god.) But after NASA reported L.A. was basically guaranteed to experience a big earthquake in the next couple of years, Jones, ever the soothing presence, assured us that it was unlikely to be that bad.

Jones also live-tweeted a viewing of the Oscar-snubbed San Andreas, in which she called out the inaccuracies. ("Tsunami from San Andreas is impossible. Now we are in fantasy territory.") She also uses Twitter to affably answer questions about earthquakes to her 15,000 followers, so if you need some reassurance, just @ the good doctor.

Jones said on Twitter that her position advising the city officially ended 15 months ago, "But the Mayor has my phone number & they can call when needed." She'll also be retaining her position in the Seismology Laboratory at Caltech.

After retiring, Jones won't stop working: according to the Times, she has plans to form a center that will merge science with public policy.