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Lecture 6

Earth Science - Lecture 6 Notes.docx

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McMaster University
Earth Sciences
Sergei Basik

Lecture 6 September 18, 2013 EARTHQUAKES: PREDICTION AND MITIGATION Predicting Earthquakes  Impossible to 100% predict an earthquake  There are sometimes foreshocks before the earthquake (ground shakes before actual earthquake)  Only 1/3 of earthquakes have foreshocks  Most dangerous earthquakes usually occur without foreshocks  Sometimes the surface area around the fault rises before an earthquake  There is sometimes a rise in radioactivity in wells before an earthquake Early Warning Systems  Best system in the world is located in California  Only sometimes do early warning systems help Prediction Consequences  Short-term forecasts raise political, social and psychological issues  Ex. If people knows there is going to be an earthquake there will be hysterical public reaction (can have physical and economic damage)  Even if scientists know when the earthquake is coming it is hard to tell people because of these consequences  Governments often do not disclose information to public because afraid of reaction Earthquake Probability  Paleoseismology: the study of prehistoric fault movements  Can sometimes help to predict future behavior  Use recurrence interval/return period to predict when earthquakes will come  Earthquakes are not always evenly spaced out so not always accurate  Seismic gaps: possible areas for future fault movements (nothing has happened yet but may happen in future)  Ex. Coast of Oregon, Washington  Huge earthquakes can migrate along a fault  This situation can bee s
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