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Public Invited to Free Lecture at NASA Goddard: Detecting Landslides from Space

GREENBELT, Md., Jan. 2, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The public is invited to a free event in January to experience "Finding the Slippery Slope: Detecting Landslides from Space," by Dalia Kirschbaum, research physical scientist in hydrological science at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, in Greenbelt, Md.


The talk is part of the Gerald Soffen Lecture Series and will be held at the Goddard Visitor Center on Wed., Jan. 9, 2013, at 7 p.m. EST (doors will open at 6:45 p.m.). The free talk is about one hour and will end with a question and answer session. Registration is requested online at: Pre-registration will be open until Jan. 7, 2013.

In just two days in August 2010, more than 2,000 people died from an onslaught of mud and debris that inundated their villages in rural India and China. Every year landslides kill thousands of people due to intense thunderstorms, hurricanes and monsoons, yet no operational landslide prediction system exists for these hazards. This talk will explore the muddy issue of using satellite data to characterize and predict rainfall-triggered landslide hazard and risk on Earth's surface.

Through merging topography data and satellite rainfall information, this research has developed new techniques to estimate where and when landslides may happen globally. Building upon the existing Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) and upcoming Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission, Kirschbaum will describe how we can link rainfall patterns we observe at the global scale to what we experience in our own back yards. With an immense database of NASA Earth science data at our fingertips, we can piece together satellite information to complete the puzzle in better understanding landslides and their impacts worldwide.

Dalia Bach Kirschbaum graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in geosciences from Princeton University in 2004. Her research interests are centered on natural hazard assessment using remotely sensed information, focusing on rainfall-triggered landslide hazard assessment and modeling. Her current research focuses on advancing empirical and physical approaches to landslide modeling and forecasting using remote sensing information. Kirschbaum also currently serves as the GPM mission applications scientist.

The Gerald Soffen lecture series is dedicated to Dr. Gerald Soffen (1926-2000) who led the science team for NASA's Viking program, was director of life sciences at NASA Headquarters, was project scientist for NASA's Earth Observing System, and created NASA Academy, NASA's premiere leadership training internship. The Viking 2 lander was posthumously named after Soffen and a crater on Mars was named "Soffen." He was best known, however, for his passion for inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers.

The Goddard Visitor Center is located off ICESat Road. Once on ICESat Road, turn left into the Visitor Center prior to the security checkpoint. Visitors are still welcome to attend without pre-registration. Attendees who have submitted pre-registration forms will have priority for seating and overflow seating may be required to accommodate all guests.

To register online, go to: or  

For directions to the Goddard Visitor Center, visit:


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