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Report #1: Earthquake Information For the World:
Understanding Earthquake Hazards Around The World

An essential role of the Federal Government is to minimize loss of life and property that results from natural disasters such as earthquakes. The U.S. Geological Survey, through its National Earthquake Information Center, helps fulfill this responsibility. Since 1973, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has provided up-to-date earthquake information to scientists, government agencies, universities, private companies, and the general public.

This information includes determinations of the locations and severity of seismic events in the United States and throughout the world, including the rapid analysis of significant earthquakes on a 24-hour basis. Seismologists around the world use this information to increase their understanding of earthquakes and to better evaluate earthquake hazards

The USGS National Earthquake Information Center (NEIC) in Golden, Colorado, operates a 24-hour-a-day Earthquake Early Alerting Service. This service rapidly and accurately determines the location and magnitude of significant earthquakes throughout the world. The NEIC immediately sends this information to key civil defense and public safety agencies, including railroads, powerplants, and pipeline companies, and Federal and State emergency service agencies.

The information also goes to National and international news media, to scientific agencies (including groups involved in aftershock studies), and to private citizens who request information. The facts about a damaging earthquake abroad are also relayed to staffs of the American Embassies and consulates in the affected countries, and to the United Nations Department of Humanitarian Affairs in Geneva, Switzerland. The NEIC issues rapid reports for earthquakes of magnitude 4.5 or greater in the United States, 6.5 or greater anywhere in the world, and other earthquakes of lesser magnitude that are potentially damaging.

The NEIC relies on the cooperation of many seismic- reporting networks throughout the world to gather data. More than 3,000 seismic stations report data to the NEIC. Of the many millions of earthquakes estimated to occur each year, the NEIC staff presently locates and publishes information for approximately 20,000 events. The NEIC and its cooperators have located more than a quarter million earthquakes since 1973. The NEIC is open to the public and provides daily tours to both individuals and groups. At the facility in Golden, Colorado, USGS/NEIC spokesman Waverly Person explains earthquakes to the media, students, and other visitors from around the world. NEIC Products and Services ·Quick Epicenter Determinations: Updated daily, this is a preliminary list of earthquakes available for computer access by modem and over the Internet.

This list includes about 350 events. ·Preliminary Determination of Epicenters: Lists parameters for all earthquakes located by the NEIC. Weekly and monthly bulletins are published electronically on the World Wide Web. ·Earthquake Data Report: Published electronically on the World Wide Web. This provides detailed information on about 1,600 events each month. Information is intended for use by seismologists who provide data to the NEIC. ·State, national, and global seismicity maps: Earthquake data are also made available on CD-ROM's.

Earthquake Information Line: (303-273-8516) offers, on a 24-hour basis, a recorded message about earthquakes throughout the world with magnitudes 5.5 or greater,and earthquakes that are felt and (or) cause damage in the United States. The line is updated twice daily or whenever a significant earthquake occurs. Through the NEIC, the USGS continues to develop new technologies to monitor, analyze, communicate, and respond to earthquake hazards. In this role, the USGS/NEIC during the past quarter century has become the global leader in providing timely, reliable earthquake information to the citizens of the United States and to people with interest in earthquakes throughout the world. Cooperators The USGS/NEIC cooperates with institutions and observatories in about 80 countries.

By Waverly J. Person, Madeleine D. Zirbes, and William M. Brown III For more information contact: National Earthquake Information Center (303)-273-8500 U.S. Geological Survey Denver Federal Center Mail Stop 967 Denver, CO 80225-0046 USA http://wwwneic.cr.usgs.gov U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 125-97 1997 - U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR.

Report #2: SPECIAL REPORT: An Earthquake Interview Update With Geologist: David Schwartz of The office of the US Geologic Survey Menlo Park, California

Q: How accurately can you predict earthquakes around the world?
There is no way to predict the frequency of global earthquakes.

Q: What about the Pacific Rim Countries?
The risk and hazard is higher for the Bay Area and Southern California. Risk for the Pacific Northwest is a little lower, because the faults are younger, more shallow and less active. The more or greater the number of sources for a quake, the higher the probability or risk will be, because they determine how often the fault will move. The risk factor for the San Francisco Bay area is 70% for a major quake by 2030.

Q: Do earthquakes relieve the stress on a fault?
Sometimes. The 1906 San Francisco quake relieved the stress so that there has not been a major earthquake in San Francisco since. The stress does built back up again. And sometimes release of stress can push an adjacent fault closer to failure. Studying a geologic fact sheet of your area can show you the risk factor for that area.

Q: People think that their area will not be hit-or that if they are on bedrock they are safe. Is that true?
There is almost no escape in high risk areas. A major earthquake in the Bay Area or Southern California would be felt by everyone in that area. Just as the Loma Prieta and Northridge quakes were felt and did great damage far from the epicenter--the Loma Prieta quake was on a fault we didn't even know about!

Q: Is there any chance that California can fall into the ocean during a major earthquake?
None. The tectonic plates run horizontally, not vertically.

Q: Why is the damage so much greater in other countries?
In other countries, the local contractors know, but do not often follow, the building codes. Unreinforced adobe structures and tile roofs will fall-wherever they are-in a major earthquake!

Q: So, reinforcing and securing can actually can save your life, home and valuables in a major quake?
Yes. It is important to educate people now. There's no time to wait!

Inteview conducted by Sharon D. Hart February, 2002

Copyright© Joseph D. Perry 2002   Created by: R. James Enterprises

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