Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Communication and Information



First Advisor

Dr. Timothy L. Sellnow


The Crisis and Emergency-Risk Communication (CERC) model is effective in providing communication recommendations for public health agencies and shows potential for use by other agencies with similar crises characterizations. The current study explores the challenges of earthquake scientists in communicating earthquake risk during the pre-crisis stage in order to grasp experts’ experience and gain insight into the complex and multifaceted world of communicating earthquake risk. The researcher integrates the in-depth knowledge with the recommendations of the pre-crisis stage of the CERC model. This study employs qualitative interviewing with earthquake scientists (N = 21) from the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC). Categorized under general challenges, communication challenges, and communicating probability challenges, findings from this study indicate that earthquake scientists face eight unique challenges, such as communicating uncertainty, emphasizing their responsibility as solely hazard communicators, and keeping public attention during earthquake quiet periods. Implications for earthquake scientists during the pre-crisis stage of CERC are discussed and recommendations are provided.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)