Magazine article The Futurist

Estimating Earthquake Losses

Magazine article The Futurist

Estimating Earthquake Losses

Article excerpt

Estimating Earthquake Losses

Accurately predicting when or where earthquakes will occur is not yet possible, but estimating the effects of potential quakes on cities can help in preparing for earthquakes and thus reducing their destructiveness.

Pre-quake studies, performed by seismologists, engineers, and emergency-management officials, "are an important tool for initiating effective programs in areas where earthquakes are a significant threat but have received little attention," according to a new report by a National Research Council panel.

These "loss-estimate" studies are forecasts of the effects of a hypothetical earthquake in a particular region. They provide estimates of deaths and injuries, property losses, loss of industrial capability and emergency facilities, homelessness, and economic impacts in an effort to prepare communities in case of an earthquake.

According to a 1983 Federal Emergency Management Agency report, as many as 70 million Americans in 39 states face significant risk from earthquakes and secondary hazards, such as earthquake-triggered landslides. Loss of life from a single major earthquake, such as those that have occurred in California in the last 150 years, could exceed 20,000, and economic losses could total more than $60 billion.

The first large-scale loss-estimate studies, conducted in the early 1970s, were devoted to the metropolitan areas of San Francisco and Los Angeles. Studies are currently in progress in other cities vulnerable to earthquake threat such as Boston, Massachusetts, and Charleston, South Carolina. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.