International Federation of Digital Seismograph Networks

Thread: Passing along some sad news to the FDSN community

Started: 2022-02-11 17:50:23
Last activity: 2022-02-11 17:50:23
Bob Woodward
2022-02-11 17:50:23
Dear members of FDSN WGII,

We know many of you are direct colleagues of Rick Benson at the IRIS DMC, thus we are posting this letter here. Apologies in advance for the intrusion on the normal flow of FDSN business on this list.

We have very sad news to share with all of you on behalf of our community. This past Sunday, February 6, 2022, we lost our dear friend and colleague Rick Benson to a tragic accident while he was trimming trees to help his community and neighbors. Rick has been a huge presence within IRIS for the past 28 years as part of the IRIS Data Management Center. Rick has long led the “engine room” team at the DMC, as the operations group is called. In this role Rick collaborated with many of us as well as with seismological data users all over the world to facilitate receiving and archiving data at the DMC. For those who requested data from the DMC, Rick was the primary interface, answering questions, providing cheerful and tireless instructions and training. An entire generation of seismologists have come of age knowing that Rick was the go-to person for all questions around data access, networks, and more. Rick’s tragic passing has created a huge hole in our organization and in our seismology community at large.

Rick’s family has indicated that they are planning and will hold a memorial service in the coming months. We will distribute further information about this as it becomes available. In the meantime, we have set up a web-based "memorial board” which you can access at this link, or via links on the IRIS home page ( We encourage everyone to use this on-line memorial to share memories and photos of Rick or messages to Rick’s family.

We will sorely miss Rick's smile, energy, cheerful optimism, helpfulness, deep knowledge, and humor. We all extend our deepest sympathies to Rick’s family.

Bob Woodward, IRIS president
Rick Aster, Chair, IRIS Board of Directors
Jerry Carter, Director, IRIS Data Services