Friday, 20 February 2009

Rocket Science #6: Natural Hazards - Misconceptions and New Approaches

Coming up at DIG Cafe on Sunday 5th March at 3.30m a discussion to be led by Gary Gibson

Our approach to natural hazards is strongly influenced by our past experience, but often this is limited to recent experience. Natural hazards vary greatly from place to place, and so does our vulnerability to them. They often come up with surprises. Useful information can often be gathered from events that occurred earlier than our personal experience, or even earlier than historical records. Understanding the way that natural hazards occur can indicate the possible variability of the risk.

This discussion will use examples from recent earthquakes, especially from 12 May 2008 in Sichuan, China, to illustrate natural hazard surprises. Recent changes in our approach to reducing earthquake risk may be relevant to dealing with other natural hazards.

Gary Gibson has worked in earthquake seismology for 35 years, mainly concerned with risk mitigation in Australia, Africa, Asia and the Pacific, covering regions from very low risk in parts of Australia to very high risk in Papua New Guinea. He does not think that accurate prediction of earthquakes is feasible, but that by learning as much as possible about how earthquakes occur it may be possible to provide earthquake alerts or forecasts. However, the best way to reduce earthquake risk is to be prepared for the local effects of earthquakes.

To book contact DIG on 5476 2744

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