EAS 122 Group Assignment 2 - Complete

EAS 122 Group Assignment 2 - Complete - ADAM AGATA STEVE...

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A DAM A GATA , S TEVE S OPRANO , V ICKY T IAN [ AMA 72, SDS 49, LT 93] EAS 122 E ARTHQUAKE ! I S IT POSSIBLE THAT AN EARTHQUAKE PREDICTION COULD CAUSE MORE HARM THAN GOOD ? While “better safe than sorry” may be a good rule to live by in general life, it isn’t necessarily when it comes to earthquake prediction. False alarms for earthquakes and other disasters can cause almost as much problems as the disasters themselves. Other factors such as unreliable predictions, hazards during natural disasters, and neglects of aftershocks could also prove that earthquake prediction could cause more harm than good as shown through recent history. Issuing a false alarm for something as major as an earthquake, tsunami, or some other natural disaster is a big deal. It’s not like pulling the fire alarm accidentally and having some fire trucks show up unnecessarily and then go home. Disaster alarms have major effects on large amounts of people, as well as entire cities and towns. Because an alarm is issued, the natural course of action is to evacuate the city or town that will be affected. Evacuating an entire town is no easy matter; it is very expensive and at times even dangerous. "False alarms can cause panic, injuries and huge economic losses," says Frank Gonzalez, chief of tsunami research at the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle. This is why earthquake prediction is a dangerous and
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risky venture. Do the positives of correctly predicting one earthquake or natural disaster outweigh the negatives from issuing many costly false alarms? Statistically they really don’t. The problem is that there are more incorrectly predicted earthquakes and natural disasters than correctly predicted ones. There have been only a few successful predictions of both the time and location of pending earthquakes. On February 4, 1975, Chinese seismologists predicted a 7.3 magnitude earthquake in Haicheng, China. They issued public warnings hours before notifying people to stay inside and seek shelter. Because of this, many lives were saved. However, this was a very rare occurrence. There are too many instances when an earthquake or some other disaster was incorrectly predicted. One example of this was when in 1990, a climatologist named Iben Browning claimed that there was a 50% chance of a major earthquake occurring in the Missouri-Tennessee region on December 3 rd . Even though he had no background in earthquake prediction, his prediction was backed by a seismologist of questionable reputation and many people unwisely heeded it. The predicted earthquake never happened, but the negative effects from needless evacuations made it more significant than if the predictions had been made. Another example when a false alert was issued for a tsunami
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EAS 122 Group Assignment 2 - Complete - ADAM AGATA STEVE...

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