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The Loma Prieta Earthquake

The Loma Prieta Earthquake

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Published by api-3736392
Content: 1) short overview, 2) predicting earthquakes, 3) preparing for earthquakes, 4) "How prepared is San Francisco for the Big One?"
Content: 1) short overview, 2) predicting earthquakes, 3) preparing for earthquakes, 4) "How prepared is San Francisco for the Big One?"

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Published by: api-3736392 on Oct 18, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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The Loma Prieta Earthquake and its impact on San Francisco – adescription of the damage caused
Although the epicentre of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake was nearly a hundredkilometres outside of San Francisco and had a strength of „only“ 6.9 on the Richter scale(the Big One of 1906 having released 97% more energy), consequences could be seen bigtime whatsoever
in and around San Francisco
:i.60 deaths were noted; most occured due to the collapse of the Cypress Freeway,which was previously known not to be conforming to any aseismic building codes(rigid pillars etc.).ii.16,000 homes and apartments wereso badly damaged that they had tobe broken downiii.142 roads and bridges had to betemporarily closed due to damagedparts. The Bay Bridge for examplewas built on soft sand and clay. Theprocess of soil liquefaction amplifiedthe initial strength of the earthquaketo a much greater level in the BayAreaiv.Monetary losses amounted to about$10 billion
Levels of shaking during the 15 seconds of the Loma Prieta earthquake.Noticeable is the red spot near Oakland,the area in which both the CypressStructure and the Bay Bridge collapsed dueto soil liquefaction.Why the Cypress Structure collapsed 
The benefits of predicting the probability of the next major earthquake
The underlying thought of predicting hazards is to safe lives and economic values.Knowledge is the basis for any kind of protection or even prevention. Since attempts toprevent earthquakes have proved unsuccesful, predicting them and warning people is theonly effective measure to date. Possible methods are the gap theory which uses 'locked'areas as a criterion (long-time) or measuring foreshocks and observing unusual animalbehaviour shortly before an earthquake happens.Safe predictions are probably the first step needed to arouse the attention of thegovernment and its people. Richer countries may modify the event, i.e. build aseismicbuildings, or work for the preparedness of its emergency services (i.e. they should be builtin an earthquake-safe area, thus be accessible and have specific technology) andpopulation (see below). Poorer countries have at least the opportunity to safe livesthrough reasonable land-use planing.An alternative to predicting how strong an earthquake will be is to construct a hazard zonemap which identifies the most hazardeous areas (those where the impact will bestrongest) through taking into account the type of soil, the assumed strength of shaking,the likelihood of landslides and so on.Whatever system is being used: the bottom line is that improved seismic monitoring leadsto improved decision-making!
Preperations for the family – What preperations can be made for anearthquake? Will these preperations make a difference?
An protection plan could look like this:1.Identify potential hazards in your home (e.g. loose and heavy objects or rigid gaspipes) and begin to fix them (e.g. buy 'smart meters' which automatically cut off the gas line in an earthquake).2.Create a disaster-preparedness plan, know exactly what to do during theearthquake.3.Hold a first-aid kit at home.4.Protect yourself during earthquake shaking: „Drop, cover and hold on“
5.Afterthe quake, check for injuries and damage.6.When safe, continue to follow your disaster-preparedness plan.Such preperations, and test drills, could easily make a difference. Whilst economic lossesare rather difficult to reduce, it is essential to know what to do during and after anearthquake and
to remain calm
in order to safe your own life and the lives of others.Perhaps even more important and more fundamental is that information on howearthquakes are formed and in which area they are most likely to happen are madeavailable to all social classes, races and ages. Only with the sufficient knowledge, mapslike the following can be interpreted correctly:
 A major earthquake ahead 

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