Oral History Transcript — Dr. Carl Kisslinger
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Interview with Dr. Carl Kisslinger
Carl Kisslinger; June 17, 1998
ABSTRACT: The interview focuses on Kisslinger's training and career as a seismologist at St. Louis University before 1970. He describes his training under Father Macelwane and his involvement in the Department of Defense's "Project Vela Uniform," which aimed at the improvement of seismic detection capabilities.
Background: how did Kisslinger become interested in the Earth Sciences; K. says he knew that he wanted to be a scientist when he came out of high school; fascinated by biology, but discovered (around 1942) that biologists didn't use much math, and he loved math; he met Father James Macelwane and he had created first department of geophysics in the Western Hemisphere in 1925 at St. Louis; K. had never heard about geophysics before meeting with Macelwane, and he decided to study geophysics because he liked the blending of physics, math and geology; Macelwane got him into the field; K. was sent to M. by someone in K.'s college (he was 16 when he began University); K says that M was almost a second father to him; K entered St. Louis at beginning of WWII; got drafted in end of 1944; he had already 3 years of physics and math, and he went into Navy, became specialist in electronics; K stayed until in late 1946 in the Navy; went through training program in electronics
Assignment with the Navy: teaching; this was the only formal teaching training he ever had; one month immersion course in how to teach (K. thought it was very helpful); Navy gave K. training in electronics and teaching; K got pretty skilled in dealing with vacuum tubes (with transistor that became technologically obsolete)
K came back from the Navy in 1946, went back to university to get Bachelors in St Louis; he stayed on in St. Louis, because he was needed for instructional program (so many GI's came back to universities); good opportunities for Teaching Assistantships; K: Macelwane was superb as a mentor and K finished his Ph.D. in 1952: how the chemical composition of sedimentary rocks affect the wave velocity: K aimed at career in exploration geophysics (K was interested in oil business, and there the question of velocity of seismic waves in sediments is a central question); K had very good cooperation from a number of quarries in the St. Louis area: grew out of K' s Master's Thesis; Ph.D. in 1952 and interviewed with a number of oil companies: great time for job opportunities; Florence Robertson died (K knew her very well and liked her apparently very much) and Macelwane came and asked K to stay on for a year or so; Macelwane died in 1956 (went to Italy in 1954 for IUGG and developed Hepatitis or something like that, liver problems); Otto Nuttli and K basically inherited the department: two young guys who just got started; Ross Heinrich then chairman; Father Stauder came in 1959: K was apparently very happy when Stauder (who got his degree at Berkeley) came to St. Louis because they needed the help and the new viewpoint; K became chairman in 1963 and came to UC Boulder in 1972
Education at St. Louis: K remembers classes in physics and a lot of geology, (K had already enough advanced math, which was his favorite subject); St. Louis: emphasis on math, physics, geology, geared to applications, and primarily seismology; nevertheless, broad exposure to various geophysical subfields (geomagnetism, gravity, geodesy); K says that his primary interest was always in seismology
Concerning K's participation in professional societies: K went primarily to AGU meetings (he mentions the group photos at the lot of these meetings); Eastern Section of Seismological Society (Macelwane started that); K: in 1920 really two groups of seismologists in US with quite different viewpoints: one were the Californians, who studied earthquakes in the field (Caltech and Berkeley groups, doing instrumental work, with a lot of emphasis on faulting in the field, mapping faults, and understanding earthquakes as a geological phenomenon); other group around USCGS [U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey] in Washington DC: interested in analyzing seismograms for locating earthquakes: totally different problem compared to California groups; K: that was likely one of the reasons for starting the Eastern Section; SSA [Seismological Society of America] always had a strong engineering component and still does (AGU [American Geophysical Union] doesn't[!]); Macelwane was one of the prime movers in getting Eastern Section started and Macelwane defined the Eastern US as the first tier of states west of the Mississippi river (St. Louis got in) to the East Coast; K: Eastern Section meetings were wonderful: they were like little fraternity meeting: few hundred people, very friendly place for students to give their first papers, still had rigor, but congenial atmosphere; [K has the original prints from the group photos of the Eastern Section at home]; K: seismologists from the Western US were certainly welcome to attend, but not many did; a number of those meetings took place a Jesuit universities: Jesuits very strong in seismology then (not true now)
K talks about his first paper at the AGU (Macelwane read for him, K didn't have the money to attend); he remembers his first paper he gave personally because at that time the entire seismology section of the AGU met in a small room in the NAS [National Academy of Sciences] building (very small group of people); and K was last speaker in the morning session of that day and chairman was Benioff; and Benioff made a mistake and thought that another speaker would speak after K and pressed for time: K: was unnerving, and never got apology (but laughed about it now) [must have been 1952]
Interaction with other universities: not very much of travel in the early 1950s; Macelwane was famous and he attracted famous speakers (K met and chatted with Gutenberg, Jeffries); K says that the probably didn't attend the meetings of the SSA in the West in those early days, maybe some; then AGU had only one meeting a year, in the spring (and SSA and AGU meetings were only a couple of weeks apart and was too much to attend both); and at these days the SSA met with Cordilleran Section of GSA [Geological Society of America], and K felt more attracted towards AGU, because of the breadth of the subject matter; so Nuttli and K made a deal: Nuttli would cover SSA and K would cover AGU; changed radically when AGU decided to have two annual national meetings (one in December on the West Coast; started out as a very small operation, mostly space physics people from West Coast, and now it's huge [about 7,000 people] to the point that people almost get discouraged to attend); K was secretary of seismology section of AGU (somewhere around 1964) [refers to written auto-biographical statement for AIP]; K was president of seismology section of AGU in 1970; K was president of SSA in 1972; K joined all these professional organizations in 1948; K felt that AGU had a very big influence on his career in a very positive way; K published more in Trans AGU than in the Bulletin of the SSA; K' s focus more on geophysics in general than on seismological topics; K also in SEG [Society of Exploration Geophysicists] (he taught exploration geophysics for many years at St. Louis, and Nuttli did most of the teaching in the earthquake seismology side.
When Vela Uniform came along K felt that with his background in exploration geophysics and use of explosive sources for generation of waves he could contribute: first St. Louis proposals went into that direction: K felt that it was a logical leap to the larger explosions of interest for Vela; K studied the literature on physics of how contained explosions generate waves (some famous papers by Joseph Sharp); when K found out that Vela Uniform was not so interesting for him anymore as a scientific problem K took this background and moved into earthquake [prediction] problem
How did meetings differ (AGU, Eastern Section): K doesn't see major differences in quality or number of people; Eastern Section meetings more relaxed, Club atmosphere; when Vela started: for the first time money for the field: signal processing became much more rigorous and quantitative; K remembers an Eastern Section (Springhill College in Mobil, Alabama?), with really good papers on wave propagation and data analysis, pretty rigorous mathematically: K heard one Jesuit say to another: "This is no longer a place for an amateur" ; K: shows that seismology really had matured: had become a quantitative branch of physics [from earthquake descriptions in the 1950s to more math in the 1960s].
K: John Tukey changed the whole field in a couple of hours during the Berkner Panel: the whole process of how you pull information out of a signal was revolutionized; K: Tukey brought in totally new ideas; K: a lot of the people who were active in Vela U worked at Bell Labs, a company with years of experience in signal processing and how to pull a weak signal out of a noisy background; K: the fundamental physics didn't change much, but data processing.
St. Louis: Nuttli, Stauder, Ross Heinrich (recently died; K said that Heinrich was a coming name in seismology and then moved into dynamic meteorology and dropped out of seismology; dropped out of his Vela projects); for years just three faculty members [Nuttli, Stauder, Kisslinger]; cooperation from Sprengnether instrument company.
On Sprengnether: Bill Sprengnether was killed in accident (he was the son of the man who started that company; his father was instrument maker and repair man: the father repaired surveying instruments; Bill was working with his father and had a Master's degree in physics; late 1930s study on microseisms at St. Louis with Father Ramirez and Macelwane got together with Sprengnether to build an instrument based on principle of Galitzin but simpler instrument, for observatory use; that got Sprengnether into the seismic instrument business: they built a functioning instrument; Sprengnether junior took over the company and ran a good company; famous around the world; drowned in Mississippi trying to save his son (probably late 1950s); Bill's right hand man was a man of the name Rudy Hautly [Swiss], he was a high level technician, genius in making things work, but didn't have the background in physics; Hautly took over the Sprengnether company, bought it: for Vela U projects Hautly needed some technical help and Kisslinger became sort of principal scientific adviser for years (close relationship: Hautly became godfather for K.'s son, but K has lost track of him now, hasn't talked to him in years); K and Hautly worked together on some fundamental problems in instrument design; Sprengnether built all the long-period [LP] instruments that went into the WWSSN [Worldwide Standard Seismograph Network] stations; Hautly designed a rugged field instrument (K used it, sold also a lot to quarry blast measurements etc.); K worked for Sprengnether for a very long time; Sprengnether company still going, bought up by a big company (not Teledyne) Tom McEvilly was student of St. Louis, too; he succeeded K. as principal advisor to Rudy Hautly; McEvilly apparently ended up as vice-president of the company; K was principal advisor to Sprengnether from about 1960-1970; K: for WWSSN was of course competitive bidding and Sprengnether Co. was chosen for LP instruments; K says that Press-Ewing had a fundamental flaw in it, which we discovered [we is who exactly?]: spring made of alloy which was magnetic: this introduced a non-linear force into the system: period became strong function of the amplitude, which is a clear evidence of non-linearity; Rudy came with a clever design for the magnet assembly: shielded so that when the thing moved the turns and the coils did not cut lines of force: no introduction of non-linear forces; essentially a redesign of the Press-Ewing, very successful instrument, still out there although now primarily BB instruments in use (Streckeisen).
K was recruited for CIRES job in 1971; at AGU meeting; Chris Harrison (one of the founders of CIRES, geology department), and Bill Hess (director of the Environmental Research Lab): two of them asked K to become director of CIRES; looked like a good opportunity, and K had been chairman in St. Louis for about nine years (was then about 44 years old): time for a change and a challenge; K liked St Louis a lot but he was up for a change, and his wife loved the idea of moving to Boulder.
St. Louis: K's thesis work had been field measurements of seismic velocities; a number of ad hoc projects came along: ground motion generated by near passing of a tornado (early paper he had in JGR in 1959); seismic sources; first real opportunity to expand came with Vela Uniform when requests for proposals came in; and all of St Louis's work came from Hanscom AFB (AFCRL: Air Force Cambridge Research Laboratories); K and others got all the information AFCRL was interested in and K decided that a project K really liked to do was to set up a laboratory for studying explosion generated waves on a lab scale; K had a number of ideas of how to do that: he had visited the La Harbor Laboratories of Standard Oil of California (Chevron now) and they did some beautiful experiments (link to exploration: using explosives at that time rather than air guns): they had system for generating very small explosions; model seismology with small explosions; K had done some model seismology before (with crystals), and turned now to small save explosions; the Dean got nervous about having explosions in the basement, but where only about 10mg: gave a lot of insight into the non-linear region around the explosion (K published a whole series of papers about that in Geophysics with various students)
AFCRL: K worked with Norman Haskell and Robert Gray, who was monitor; there was a broad request for proposals that came out when money was made available for Vela (late 1959 or early 1960): Nuttli, Stauder, and K. would each take a piece of that list and K says he had already set up this little model seismology lab and that was the area he wanted to go; St. Louis put together a proposal and then Gray and Haskell showed up for a site visit, and K assumed that Gray and Haskell would tell Nuttli, Stauder, and K about revisions of the proposal: but they were only there, says K, to tell them how to get the money, it was a done deal (before Vela it was such a struggle to get money); it turned out to be a very small project as far as money was concerned: K set up a nice lab and did a whole series of experiments: firing explosions in pre-stressed materials (question of tectonic strain release); a whole series on cavity decoupling (also published in Geophysics); K: scaling is a real problem, but St. Louis was trying to get a sense of the basic physics that was underlying all that, and of course the processes of a HE [chemical high explosive] and a nuclear explosion are quite different; in 1962 K went to U of Michigan for the summer and put out a state of the art report VESIAC Report "Generation of the Primary Seismic Signal by a contained explosion" (K says it was fun to write that, that he learned a lot of shock wave physics) not much in the report that was original with K, except some of his own experiments, but digest huge literature on shock physics and translating it for seismologists; K thinks that the report was pretty successful; this work was an extension of his Ph.D. work: the only connection was his Ph.D. work was based on explosions: dynamite to generate waves to measure velocities: that is fairly remote from the process by which the waves get generated; in Ph.D. work he was only interested in having an energetic source.
1958 was terrible collapse in the oil industry, and a number of really brilliant seismologists in the oil industry were suddenly laid off: they took this as an opportunity to get advanced degrees; so all of a sudden St. Louis had all this talent; suddenly combination of money coming in for the first time and a bunch of talented young people: Golden Age, synergy: people like Tom McEvilly, Jim Hannon (still at Livermore), Bob Decker ended up with Western Geophysical in Houston, TX, he was president of one part of that (was K's student); K: probably most of the people who are now either mid or late mid careers in seismology were supported under Vela Uniform for their graduate work.
Any concern about accepting ARPA money: K: the only person I ever heard who didn't want that was Jim Brune (he didn't want to take the DOD money); he probably got money from NSF; K: interesting question concerning the ethics, but he always felt that they [the seismologists] were on the side of the angels: it was DOD money, but purpose was to make possible a test ban treaty; K says he never had any problem with his conscience of taking the DOD money [he didn't seem to find this question offensive or strange]; K felt in fact that the chief opponents of the seismologists efforts were people in DOD who didn't want that treaty; K remembers those as wonderful days: you could write a proposal for five years of support, of course subject to review but if everything went well you were assured you could start a graduate student through the process and have money to support that student; K says that Mansfield Amendment wrecked everything: says that it had tremendous impact; now NSF is going back to multiyear funding.
Interaction between St. Louis and Norman Haskell: Haskell didn't come very much after that initial visit, mostly Bob Gray came and Cer Thomson, he would come down once in a while: he was interested in model studies also; how close was the monitoring: K says no one knew where the breakthrough might come from to make possible the effective monitoring of underground explosions, so in the very early days, K felt, any proposal that didn't patently violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics had a reasonable chance to getting funded; K: very little pressure to work on any particular problem: K says that all of us (at St. Louis?) picked things that were directed toward the mission.
Question: Would seismologists align themselves with the mission, would they take the money and run? K: says that they were very sensitive about that this was a mission to be accomplished and of course they would tailor what they would propose to do to contribute somehow to that mission, but also because of the latitude they were given we realized that nothing was wrong to work on broad fundamental [scientific] problems, because that's what they [ARPA?] wanted anyway; K thinks it was not a question of taking the money and then working on something totally unrelated, K doesn't recall any problem with that; anyhow, one could work on broad range of subjects; with the new graduate students who brought with them all this field experience they could put together some excellent field equipment (St. Louis got new equipment for measuring ground motion: all that would have been very difficult to get without Vela money).
Any changes in research focus because of Vela? Real concentration on question of wave generation and signal processing (existed before, but now real emphasis); with development of computers it became possible to study problems you wouldn't dream of working on before; first Fourier analysis on explosion record K did with electric calculator: hard job (laughter), by hand; Vela probably didn't pay for computers; first computer the St Louis department ever got was an IBM with punch paper input: taught them computer techniques; K: a lot of the basic physics was already known: it was just a question of having the experiments and the analytical capacity to do something with that; some new ideas: decoupling; a lot of emphasis on how to pull signals out of noise, that really was a major change in the whole field of seismology; at St. Louis not that much emphasis on array processing; Stauder did a lot of work on focal mechanism and interested in shear wave approach to focal mechanism studies; Nuttli was interested in earthquake location work and magnitudes and continental earthquakes (he came up with his own approach to magnitude scale, which is still being used: Nuttli magnitude, based on Lg phase); K: magnitude question did not really play a role in his own work.
K felt that it was a mistake in LTBT [he means TTBT: Threshold Test Ban Treaty of 1974, not Limited Test Ban Treaty of 1963] to specify the limit in terms of yield rather than magnitude (source of political problems of the 150 kt limit: magnitude so strongly influenced my local conditions and crustal properties: magnitude wouldn't satisfy the arms control people; K talks about limit of yield for detection and the question of how small a yield can give information relevant for weapons development; K says that now we understand at least the regional bias question: signals from NTS abnormally small compared to other places in the world; talks about Ms-mb and depth as discriminants; rule of thumb [for depth measurement]: you want one station closer to the epicenter that the depth of this event, of course hard to realize; K says that he tried to keep informed on progress in monitoring (in 1998 both AGU and SSA had papers on research related to the international datacenter and the monitoring program (and K was actually discouraged by these papers: re-plowing old ground, only better data from better instrumentation: fundamental questions had not changed much since the mid-1970s); K: from his own political view he hopes for a CTBT; K was interviewed on the radio about Indian nuclear test: he felt that Indians acted in their national self-interest but it was unfortunate, but he would not make a judgment saying what they did was wrong.
How much did K do in the 1960s on discrimination work? Not so much directly, because he didn't do so much with the nuclear tests themselves; he used St. Louis field equipment to record tests in case they were announced in advance: recorded Salmon, Gnome: simply send the seismograms to whoever wanted to analyze them (K laughed that they would get a diploma back acknowledging their participation in the testing program, which he felt was kind of amusing); in general St Louis did not do very much on the monitoring side; interested in Longshot (Aleutians) and generation of shear waves from explosions.
K talks about a contribution of his to the monitoring problem in 1971 (cited in a very recent paper from the Blacknest crowd): radiation pattern: take distribution of mb determinations around the world and make a correction for the radiation pattern and see whether it takes the scatter out of the magnitude measure; Vela problem: to pick out a rare explosion in a place where you have lots of earthquakes; talks about earthquake off the coast of Kamchatka in 1997 (was totally closed to visitors): remarkable aftershock sequence (K's primary research subject for the last 10 years): K says that if someone fires a bomb off in the middle of such an aftershock sequence one would never find it (K says it's of course not realistic to set up a test and wait for years for a large earthquake and accompanying aftershocks); K: so there are some hard problems for monitoring, but thinks that it would be a joke to raise that as a scheme for evasion;
Any anti-test ban seismologists? K: Latter, but he was a physicist; many people came into Vela from physics; K: all the seismologists he remembers were working towards, not against, test ban
Interaction with DOD seismologists like Carl Romney; K worked with Romney on specifications for WWSSN; K was very impressed with his approach: if K raised an objection, he would say "Explain that", really pin you down (not adversarial, but just wanted to have this information); K knew Romney pretty well; K knew Rudy Black very well; K likes Bob Frosch very much, very impressed by him (when Frosch became head of the NTDO [ARPA's Nuclear Test Detection Office], he invited all the established researchers and Nuttli and K were among them; he understood that snafus could happen with experimental setups and ocean bottom seismographs etc.)
NAS panel for selection of WWSSN instrumentation: how did K get involved? K thinks that it came through Byerly; first meeting at San Francisco Office of the ONR, Jim Wilson chaired; this was K's first exposure to anything like that [Gov. panel]; K cannot imagine that there was any classified part to WWSSN: K says that there were of course classified networks (AFTAC [Air Force Technical Applications Center] networks); K says that we [the NAS panel?] worked very hard to convince the world that WWSSN was not a surveillance network (came out of Berkner Panel report); K says they really had a problem with certain countries, trying to convince them that it was not a spy network: the French gave them a bad time (K picked by accident, he says, a place for a station in the Sahara, which turned out to be only a few miles away from the French test site; he said he didn't know that).
NAS panel suggested the list of 125 stations apparently to USCGS, not directly to DOD; with the Russians: no WWSSN stations inside Russia: but an exchange of seismic instruments (a set of Russian instruments ended up in St. Louis, Kimos instruments); NAS panel: station selection was duty of USCGS: K: there were certainly some changes in locations locally: too noisy, replaced a couple of miles away; Geotech did noise survey around the world; Florissant [seismic station] got the full WWSSN equipment: then older instruments were phased out: the Galitzins and Wood-Andersons.
Any critics of the NAS panel decisions? K: no one complained about the fundamental concept of good LP and SP off-the-shelf instruments: get the network now, not years of delay from development of new components; main problem: noise: response characteristics which were specified were such that in noisy places peak magnification had to reduced; K not aware of any major criticism; this panel work was K's contribution to Vela instrumentation and the redesign with Hautly of the LP instruments (no publications came out of that)
Hautly and K published a paper on basic properties of seismic instruments for IEEE.
Question concerning documents he might have stored: he has stuff in his garage including records of various committees he worked on (IUGG: years of minutes and materials; AGU from about 1970-84; work on earthquake prediction and hazard reduction problem; there might be some stuff from 1950s and 1960s: he probably kept all his security clearance documents; K says that he hardly throws anything away; USGS advisory panel on earthquakes: K was chairman and he has all those documents; K was foreign secretary of AGU for ten years [extremely valuable set of documents]; K kept documents on AGU and China relations: K was very active, wanted to get Thailand back into IUGG; talks about his experience with China and refers to the story of how Taiwan was thrown out of the IUGG so that China could take the seat; a lot of this went through ICSU (Int. Council of Scientific Unions); K contacted State Department on that; they just said vote for what is best for science.
K and Macelwane: K's family had little money (Depression), couldn't afford university outside of hometown St Louis; Macelwane taught him a lot about how to do science: M. was ruthless in assigning scientific literature in any language (K read a lot of German); the geophysics library at that time was essentially his personal library, but he let his students sign books out; M. expected his students to read scientific articles in foreign languages; Heinrich and Florence Robertson taught most of the undergraduate level; Macelwane he might have been the only one at St. Louis who taught seismology classes at the graduate level; K took a lot of graduate courses in physics and math department; Heinrich's interest shifted into meteorology by that time; Macelwane taught in a seminar mode; Macelwane was thesis advisor for K; Roy Hanson was probably the last of Macelwane's Ph.D.'s.
Other graduate colleagues during '50s: Frank Pilotte (now at AFT AC); K and Pilotte worked together well, but two different temperaments when it came to problem solving: K would plunge into problem and would make many mistakes.
Graduate students during the '50s: K has not have contact with Pilotte for a very long time; Bill Best was another graduate student of St. Louis (in meteorology) (contact between St. Louis seismologists and AFOSR [Air Force Office of Scientific Research]: K: Stauder had some support from AFOSR at one point); George Garland of Toronto, pretty well-known geophysicist; Pat Healon [spelling??], Jesuit from Ireland; K had no second thought about going to a Jesuit institution: K: speaks highly of Jesuits and their openness, good education, of course heavy overlay of catholic theology, but we [seismologists?] were not required to do any of these things: we were required to study thomistic philosophy and it was a degree requirement and K never regretted that at all; constitution of St. Louis was changed while K was faculty member that the only person in the system who had to be a Jesuit is the President of the University, but there are many lay deans, non-Catholic deans and department chairs; K has great respect for the Jesuits.
Any change in Jesuit activity in seismology as a consequence of Vela: Georgetown (Father Sohon) made a decision to do astronomy instead of seismology, and with Vela seismology became more mature and professional: no place for the amateur anymore; Fordham: with death of Father Lynch: nobody picked it up; the only Jesuit school (besides St. Louis) now strong in seismology is Boston College (John Ebel); almost all of the Jesuit schools have dropped out except for St Louis and Boston College; some might still operate instruments.
Did Vela change the predominance of Berkeley, Cal tech, Lamont, and St. Louis, the four major programs in the 1950s? K: Utah, MIT (because of signal processing business), Harvard reached a major low with Don Leet at that time (K had personal problems with Leet: tells about conflict with Leet about Leet's seismograph: K and Hautly found out that Leet's seismograph inferior; K took the Leet seismograph with him to St. Louis, took it apart, and found that they made a fundamental error in the calibration, magnification of the instrument was less than they said it was, which meant that every ground motion they measured was bigger than they said it was, serious problem; K wrote a report about the problem, Hautly forwarded it to the company in Pennsylvania and they forwarded it to Leet; Leet's response was that K's report was filled with fundamental errors (guy at this company at Pennsylvania was a student of Leet and he said that errors in K's report were obvious); around 1960; DeNoyer confirmed the problem of the Leet instrument in a paper in SSA and settled the question; Leet and Maurice Ewing had a personal conflict; Leet would attack Ewing's students giving presentations; K thinks that Leet brought down Harvard seismology: the only person who kept geophysics at Harvard going is Francis Birch, who K thinks was a genius and wonderful guy; K: Leet had written a couple of good papers and a book on waves; K: Leet took any attack on his work as a personal attack; K didn't remember Leet's 1962 article on test detection in Scientific American.
How did St. Louis position in seismology change as a consequence of Vela? K: we did pretty well in maintaining our position (now key people Bob Herman and Brian Mitchell, (spelling???) Stauder dropped out of faculty, still holding an administrative position; Chuck Amen, new chairman, David Crosley); K was invited to give a presentation about the history of the St. Louis department; he has other unpublished material: compare what geophysicists 50?? years ago predicted what would happen in their science with what actually happened; K feels that St. Louis was at its peak in seismology in the 1960s in terms of national prestige and recognition, one of the strong places in the country; mid-1960s emphasis shifted to detection problem; by the late 1960s the DOD got less and less interested in supporting seismology, big blow when they pulled out their support from the WWSSN (1966-67 around), NSF had to pick up the difference on the international scene and USGS helped out domestically; prediction began as a new area of interest in the 1960s: K felt that everything was in place: good people, good computing equipment, seismology had developed in many ways under Vela Uniform to move in earthquake prediction to take advantage of all the capability seismology had developed
Asked if there was a policy change from decreasing Vela towards prediction, going were the money is: K that was never stated as a national policy, but he says that this was his own policy, it seemed logical; the real prediction program didn't start before 1976; K says that his and Engdahl's participation in prediction work grew out of monitoring business, because K was on the safety panel for the AEC [Atomic Energy Commission] (had to do mostly with question whether big explosions as NTS [Nevada Test Site] would trigger aftershocks: Alan Ryal,), Jack Oliver and K were the two seismologists on that panel ("Effects Evaluation Panel"), that got them involved in the Aleutians, Longshot (1966?) and then Millrow and Cannikin; AEC concerned that these explosions would trigger a big earthquake in the Aleutians, and Bob Engdahl (was K's student) he had set up a good network on Amchitka island; 1973 his network was shut down and NOAA didn't want to fund it; but then in 1974 with Oliver plans for prediction network, and Engdahl designed the new network from his experience with the Aleutian network (this is the link from detection to prediction work), installed in 1974, ran until 1991
Network in the Aleutians was about equally distant from Semipalatinsk and NTS, but, K says, they never did much with that; Archambeau took over all the monitoring related research at UC Boulder.
Asked about whether Vela money didn't achieve as much as Evemden/Archambeau managed to do on their own in a couple of years, K replies: that's misleading: huge part of money went into nuclear tests; we learned a lot of seismology and as far as discrimination is concerned: a lot of approaches which didn't work were eliminated; K: Vela did a good job and also mechanism by which the scientific capability [for seismic monitoring] was created in the US, because so many people were educated with support from Vela and got their research training as part of Vela; in K' s view Vela was very successful program; K: says one would need a specialist in cost-benefit analysis to decide whether the country got its money's worth out of Vela;
Were Jack Evernden's papers accepted as solutions to the monitoring problem? K: accepted as solutions, impact on the thinking.
[K. suggested to make reprints available, gave me list of his publications]