Earthquakes: Risk, Detection, Warning, and Research
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
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The 1994 Northridge CA earthquake caused as much as 26 billion in 2005 dollars in damage and was one of the costliest natural disasters to strike the United States. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has estimated that earthquakes cost the United States over 5 billion per year. A hypothetical scenario for a magnitude 7.8 earthquake in southern California estimated a possibility of 1,800 fatalities and over 200 billion in economic losses. The May 12, 2008, magnitude 7.9 earthquake in Sichuan, China, resulted in nearly 70,000 fatalities. The January 12, 2010, magnitude 7.0 earthquake that struck Haiti only 15 miles from Port-au-Prince, the capital city, is also expected to result in a high number of fatalities and injuries. Compared to the loss of life in some other countries, relatively few Americans have died as a result of earthquakes over the past 100 years. The United States, however, faces the possibility of large economic losses from earthquake-damaged buildings and infrastructure. California alone accounts for most of the estimated annualized earthquake losses for the nation, and with Oregon and Washington the three states account for nearly 4.1 billion 77 of the U.S. total estimated annualized loss. A single large earthquake, however, can cause far more damage than the average annual estimate. An ongoing issue for Congress is whether the federally supported programs aimed at reducing U.S. vulnerability to earthquakes are an adequate response to the earthquake hazard. Under the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program NEHRP, four federal agencies have responsibility for long-term earthquake risk reduction the U.S. Geological Survey USGS, the National Science Foundation NSF, the Federal Emergency Management Agency FEMA, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology NIST.
- Economics and Cost Analysis
- Geology, Geochemistry and Mineralogy