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With an official estimate of 316,000 deaths, it is the second most destructive earthquake in recorded human history. Over 97,000 houses were destroyed and more than 1 88,000 damaged. However, could this Earthquake have been predicted and some, if not all, of the 31 6,000 deaths prevented? Are we able to predict, or even prevent, the next large earthquake that is bound to rock our planet to the core?

These pressing questions are amongst the ones that seismologist and geologist Roger Munson answers with an informative and interesting study throughout the course of this book. In the first part of the book, Munson educates about the reader about past earthquakes, what they are, how they are caused and their various effects, in addition to intensity and magnitude scales used to measure earthquakes. While doing this he takes the reader on a journey throughout time, going as far back as the sixth century BC and as close to the present as the earthquake that ravaged Haiti in 2010.

By weaving in history and tales about past earthquakes the book intrigues the deader and adds an extra layer to the knowledge it imparts. The author also debunks several scientific misconceptions, such as the usefulness of the Richter Scale, highlighting that it is never used is scientific discourse and has been surpassed by the moment magnitude scale. In the second part, the author discusses whether earthquakes can be predicted as well as methods being explored to reduce damage, save lives, etc.

He tackles various subjects such as how cities are being adapted by engineers to become more “earthquake proof’ and how seismologists are searching for various ways in which earthquakes can predicted, so that warnings can be sent out. He concludes however, that although earthquakes are inevitable they are not predictable. Furthermore, he questions whether such predictions would be useful even if we could produce them. In the case of Peru, an earthquake prediction caused investment to slump, property prices to fall and tourism figures to plummet.

Even though the prediction was eventually discounted by a panel of nine senior seismologists, the effects of the prediction were disastrous. Throughout the book the author makes it clear that a million death quake is inevitable. He argues that evidence shows that the death toll will be between 10 and 15 per cent of the population affected. In Haiti there were a population of three million and so 220,000 people died (Approximately 13. 5% of the population). An earthquakes deadliness is determined by its hazard, exposure and vulnerability.

All that’s required for a tragedy of stupendous proportions is for all three to be at maximum at the same time. He tells us the first million death quake could occur in Iran or even Turkey. It is impossible to Stop earthquakes happening, Munson tells us. But you can make a difference by electing governments that prioritize earthquake research and invest in departments of seismology. He ends the book by saying that the first step towards protection is to know the enemy and knowledge is power.

It is safe to say that after reading this book you know much more about the enemy (an earthquake) and be far more powerful than you were before reading it. Flair Marks: Risk has 3 components – Hazard, Exposure and vulnerability. All 3 have to be present for a disaster to occur, mitigation focuses on exposure or limitability egg. Californian emphasis on strong building codes reduces vulnerability, therefore significantly reduces the probability of a disaster occurring.

Earthquake swarms: Earthquake swarms are events where a local area experiences sequences of many earthquakes striking in a relatively short period of time. Emphasis on relatively as the USGS points out that an event may be on the order of days, weeks, or months. Can also act on a global scale as large scale earthquakes may trigger other tectonic activity (whether it be volcanic or seismic). The moment magnitude scale (abbreviated as MS; denoted as MM or M) is used by seismologists to measure the size of earthquakes in terms of the energy released.

It is equal to the rigidity of the Earth multiplied by the average amount of slip on the fault and the size Of the area that slipped. There may be a limit of approximately 9. 5 as no fault could accumulate enough train to a produce a magnitude 10 scale, it would break before that point. 3 Methods of earthquake prediction: Pattern Recognition: The easiest approachability: -Population of 10 million Has one of the longest-recorded seismic histories thanks to its position as the Eastern Capital of the Roman Empire. One of the strongest historical earthquakes hit Istanbul in 1509 and was referred to in the records as the “little Doomsday’ -The earthquake engineering community in Turkey is of the highest caliber, but the collapse of sub-standard housing during the Commit earthquake shows what the local builders do may be what counts. No equipment or experimentation, just historical data and imagination required in search of repeating patterns Precursor Method:

An earthquake precursor is an anomalous phenomenon that might give effective warning of an impending earthquake For example, there may be electric signals or streams of ions that heat the upper atmosphere days before the earthquake. In addition, animal activity has been suggested as a precursor to earthquakes. Monitoring Seismic Waves Traveling Through Rock: Monitoring the properties of rocks in the vicinity of a future earthquake. Under pressure, the cracks in the rocks will be aligned at right angles to the direction of the pressure.

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