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03/18/2011 03:23 AM
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Earthquake Technology

Elizabeth Grillo   Dr. Bailey   Natural Science   02/09/09   Earthquake Technology   Would you prefer to have an accurate earthquake predictor or safer and stronger buildings in case of an earthquake? United States Geological Survey seismologist Lucy Jones says that the “United States, compared to the rest of the world, we do less in prediction, but more in preparedness (Reich, 2008). According to Jones, “predictions might be less useful to us since we have such stronger building codes. If building structures are resilient, then prediction isn’t so necessary. It’s most necessary where people are least prepared, such as in China,” she states (Reich, A3). “Would you rather have two hours notice of an earthquake, or safer buildings that will stand the effects of an earthquake?” Jones asked.   More and more seismologists are determined to have both better predictive capabilities, as well as the technological advances which will keep buildings upright and together in an earthquake. United States scientists have remained relatively pessimistic about the likelihood of technology anytime in thefuture to provide adequate quake warnings. But as Jones pointed out, the major U.S. concern is the application of technology to the maintenance and support of existing structures when a quake occurs. In July, 1996, Carnegie Institution seismologist Paul G. Silver and Tokyo University earthquake chemist Hiroshi Wakita says a recent meeting in Japan showed that the United States is “lagging” Japan and China in prediction research. Geologists who specialize in earthquakes have become expert gamblers. By analyzing seismic data from sensors and historical records of past events, researchers attempt to calculate the odds in a given region within a specific timeframe. But that timeframe is generally measured in decades—or even centuries. For example, it’s estimated that, on average, San Francisco’s Hayward fault generates an earthquake every 140 years—and we just passed the 140-year mark. “That…

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