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Volume 32, Issue 3

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Wednesday, 17 June 2015 05:00

Big Computer Centers Bigger Quakes

Written by  Robert L. Patrick

California, the US Geological Survey and the media have inadvertently misled the public into thinking earthquakes just happen, and there is nothing to do but wait, suffer, and recover. Nothing is further from the truth. While humans have no control over Earth movements, much can be done to reduce financial loss, recover quicker, and save lives. Little earthquakes are routine. The danger is small, recovery is prompt, and emergency forces cooperate. However, big quakes are few and far between (every 100 years or so), they are not routine, and one can overwhelm available emergency services and leave people solving problems they are not prepared to address. There are several potency scales that geologists use to estimate the strength of a quake and where it is centered. For the public, a better indicator is strong shaking accompanied by loss of electrical power. If you lose power, you lose traffic signals and get traffic