Disaster Deferred: A New View of Earthquake Hazards in the by Seth Stein

By Seth Stein

Within the wintry weather of 1811-12, a chain of huge earthquakes within the New Madrid seismic zone-often incorrectly defined because the largest ever to hit the United States-shook the Midwest. this present day the government ranks the possibility within the Midwest as excessive as California's and is pressuring groups to adopt dear arrangements for catastrophe.

Coinciding with the two-hundredth anniversary of the hot Madrid earthquakes, Disaster Deferred revisits those earthquakes, the legends that experience grown round them, and the predictions of doom that experience of their wake. Seth Stein essentially explains the recommendations seismologists use to review Midwestern quakes and estimate their chance. Detailing how constrained clinical wisdom, bureaucratic instincts, and the media's love of an outstanding tale have exaggerated those dangers, Stein frivolously debunks the hype surrounding such predictions and encourages the formula of extra good, less expensive coverage. Powered by way of insider wisdom and an enticing variety, Disaster Deferred exhibits how new geological rules and knowledge, together with these from the worldwide Positioning process, are portray a really different-and less frightening-picture of the long run.

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Extra info for Disaster Deferred: A New View of Earthquake Hazards in the New Madrid Seismic Zone

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The hazard is a geological fact, but we don’t know how big it is and so have to make our best estimates. In contrast, the risk is affected by human actions like where people live and how they build. Areas of high hazard can have low risk because few people live there. Areas of modest hazard can have high risk due to large populations and poor construction. The important idea is that earthquake risks can be reduced by human actions, even though hazards can’t. All of this makes it hard to decide how to best prepare for earthquakes.

One is that talented people can fall into groupthink. President Dwight Eisenhower, who approved the Bay of Pigs, had led the carefully planned and successful invasion of Europe during World War II. The Vietnam planners had seemed to be a capable bunch; David Halberstam’s book about them is called The Best and the Brightest. A second lesson is that groups can THINK OR PANIC ? learn from mistakes. S. did much better in the 1963 Cuban missile crisis. President John Kennedy’s advisors carefully thought through different options, looked at the possible outcomes, and came up with a successful policy.

Earthquakes can also cause major property damage. The 1994 Northridge earthquake under the Los Angeles metropolitan area caused 58 deaths and $20 billion in property damage. S. annual loss due to automobile accidents. S. S. earthquake deaths for the years from 1812 to 2003. in the most active areas like California are built to reduce earthquake damage. Earthquakes are a bigger problem in some other countries where many people live near plate boundaries. During the past century, earthquakes worldwide caused about 11,500 deaths per year.

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