Lucile M. Jones is a seismologist and public voice for earthquake science and earthquake safety in California. She has been with the US Geological Survey and a Visiting Research Associate at the Seismological Laboratory of Caltech since 1983. She is currently serving as the Chief Scientist of the USGS Multi-Hazards Demonstration Project for Southern California, developing a new program to integrate hazards science in urban areas with economic analysis and emergency response to increase community resiliency to natural disasters. She is also a Commissioner of the California Seismic Safety Commission (CSSC), which advises the governor and legislature on seismic safety, by appointment of Governor Gray Davis in 2002 and reappointment by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2005 and serves on the California Earthquake Prediction Evaluation Council. She has received several awards, including the Alquist Award from the California Earthquake Safety Foundation, the Shoemaker Award for Lifetime Achievements in Science Communication from the USGS, and the 2007 Award of Merit from the Los Angeles County Emergency Preparedness Commission.
Jones has authored over 80 papers on research seismology with primary interest in the physics of earthquakes, foreshocks and earthquake hazard assessment, and the seismotectonics (earthquake-producing geologic structures) of southern California. Jones received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chinese Language and Literature, Magna Cum Laude, from Brown University in 1976 and a Ph. D. in geophysics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1981. She visited China in February 1979 in order to study the 1975 Haicheng earthquake, which had apparently been successfully predicted by the Chinese authorities based on an analysis of its foreshock sequence. In doing so, she became the first United States scientist to enter China following the normalization of relations between the two countries. She is a past Secretary of the Seismology Section of the American Geophysical Union, past Director and past Chair of the Publications Committee of the Seismological Society of America.
Since 1986, Jones has given many interviews to the press on behalf of the US Geological Survey following significant earthquakes in southern California. In a 2004 profile of her, Tom Jordan of the USGS was quoted as saying, “Lucy provides Southern California — and the nation — with a very calming voice and an authoritative voice to the public’s inquiry in disaster.” He also said that her high public profile may make her “one of the most effective chairs of CSSC ever”. Public perception of Jones as a voice of calm and reassurance has been attributed, in part, to an incident following the 1992 Joshua Tree Earthquake in which she answered press questions while holding her sleeping child in her arms. In a 2011 interview, Jones denied the story that she asked the press to be quiet so as not to wake her son. She also expressed some regret that she became a symbol that “women can have it all”.
- Disaster Earthquake Scenario Unveiled For Southern California, ScienceDaily, 23 May 2008, retrieved 4 February 2011.
- Groshong, Kimm (17 May 2004), "Earthquake maven gets new position: Lucy Jones to lead California Seismic Safety Commission", Pasadena Star News: A-1.
- Lubick, 2004
- "2000 Alfred E. Alquist Medal Winner: Lucille M. Jones". California Earthquake Safety Foundation. Retrieved 4 February 2011.
- Wallace, 2011
- Lubick, Naomi (September, 2004), "Lucy Jones: The calm after the quake", Geotimes (American Geological Institute), retrieved 29 March 2011 .
- Wallace, Amy (April, 2011), "Shock Absorber", Los Angeles, retrieved 7 May 2011 .
- "USGS Professional Pages: Lucile M. Jones". U. S. Geological Survey. Retrieved 4 February 2011.