San Francisco’s Big Seismic Gamble

From the NYTimes: San Francisco’s Big Seismic Gamble

San Francisco lives with the certainty that the Big One will come. But the city is also putting up taller and taller buildings clustered closer and closer together because of the state’s severe housing shortage. Now those competing pressures have prompted an anxious rethinking of building regulations. Experts are sending this message: The building code does not protect cities from earthquakes nearly as much as you might think.

Progress in Predicting Major Earthquakes

Article on Predicting Major Earthquakes.

A Nagoya University-led team reveals the mechanisms behind different earthquakes at a plate boundary on the west coast of South America, shedding light on historical seismic events and providing a foundation for risk prediction tools to assess the likelihood of earthquakes and tsunamis striking this region and their potential periodicity and intensity.

Earthquake Early Warning for Transit Systems

From the Homeland Security Newswire: Earthquake early warning vital for city transit. |

Although no one can reliably predict earthquakes, today’s technology is advanced enough to rapidly detect seismic waves as an earthquake begins, calculate the maximum expected shaking, and send alerts to surrounding areas before damage can occur. This technology is known as “earthquake early warning” (EEW). An EEW system called “ShakeAlert” is being developed and tested for the West Coast of the United States.

“EEW is a game changer with respect to postdisaster recovery,” Johnson said. “By using EEW to minimize derailments, lives will be saved, injuries will be reduced, and the impacts to a postdisaster-stressed medical system will be minimized.”

Better Communication re Earthquakes

From HSNewswire, Better communication key to reducing earthquake death toll

A major problem in conveying earthquake risks to the public is that scientists are unable to predict when, where, and with what strength the next earthquake will strike. Instead, they use probabilistic forecasting based on seismic clustering. Earthquake experts have long grappled with the problem of how to convey these complex probabilities to lay persons.

The full text version of  this 31 page article is available here: The evolution of the operational earthquake forecasting community of practice: the L’Aquila communication crisis as a triggering event for organizational renewal, by Deanna D. Sellnow, Joel Iverson & Timothy L. Sellnow, Journal of Applied Communications Research.

The Diva does not usually use the term “academic” to mean dense and unclear, but I do mean it this time — it would be great if someone could write a short analysis of the full article ( about 3-5 pages) with the essentials that a practitioner would like to know.

Prepare for Quakes in CA

Earthquake Experts Urge Californians to Prepare for Future Disasters.

In the wake of a series of small Southern California seismic events that prompted a state agency to issue a major earthquake alert, a panel of disaster management leaders urged residents to insure their property and take other steps to get prepared.

The appeal was made by representatives of the American Red Cross, the Los Angeles Emergency Management Department, the California Institute of Technology and the California Earthquake Authority (CEA) – the state-sanctioned not-for-profit insurer – at a November 17 earthquake preparedness forum organized by New America Media.

Southern Californians should prepare for an earthquake comparable to the magnitude 6.7 Northridge temblor in 1994, the last major seismic disaster in the region, according to panelists.