earthquake module

earthquake module - The Shaking Earth - Earthquakes...

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The Shaking Earth - Earthquakes INTRODUCTION The two extreme natural catastrophes of 2004-2008 originated as earthquakes: the Sumatra earthquake of December 26, 2004 and the Sichuan earthquake of May 12, 2008. See the following web sites for more information: Sumatra earthquake (December 26, 2004) Sichuan, China earthquake (May 12, 2008) In the first case the devastation was actually caused by the ensuing Tsunami. In the second case the earthquake itself was devastating, and ensuing landslides and the extreme difficulty of accessing all inhabitants in the very rural region significantly aggravated the seriousness of the catastrophe. Poorer, rural villages were hardest hit in terms of human lives and property damage primarily because houses and buildings were old and not built according to any regulations. Close to 25% of the dead were schoolchildren caught under school buildings that collapsed due to shoddy construction. Can understanding about earthquakes themselves enhance our capacity to minimize the devastation caused by these unpredictable events? Unquestionably. Taking charge of our own fate means spending resources and energy in ways most likely to improve outcomes. There are many choices about how to act and about how to spend resources (time, money, expertise and other resources). Knowledge about how the processes work and what causes the consequences are absolutely necessary for making good decisions about minimizing the effects of natural hazards. That means that Earth scientists are not the only ones who need to know about earthquakes. Law and policy makers, engineers, politicians, all need to understand so that their decisions will be based on information not superstition and ignorance. The historic earthquake near Lisbon in 1755 and the recent Kashmir earthquake both resulted in about 100,000 killed. These catastrophes were 250 years apart! What do we know today that wasn't known then? Are we not better informed about how and why earthquakes occur? Are we not better able to make living with earthquakes less dangerous? Page 1 of 76
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Left panel: Lisbon 1755, magnitude approximately 8.7, roughly 50 times more energy released compared to the Kashmir 2005 earthquake. Right panel: Kashmir 2005, magnitude 7.6. Approximately 100,000 people were killed in each of these two earthquakes, occurring 250 years apart. Click here to view a video montage produced by the National Geographic of recent earthquake events. CONTRIBUTIONS FROM SCIENTISTS What do scientists do? Careful observations and experimentation eventually permit them to explain some phenomenon. If explanations are not sufficient, more observations will be needed. This is often the bottleneck. Making observations can be difficult. NEVERTHELESS, explanations are necessary before scientists can
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earthquake module - The Shaking Earth - Earthquakes...

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