Reducing the vulnerability of the built environment dramatically improves resiliency in the face of natural climate and geologic events. This page is intended as a resource to help inspire safer human habitation through the geographic integration of science, engineering, economics and public policy. I highlight newsworthy events and share best practices that improve planning and locational decisions, with the goal of reducing the loss of life and property.
A recent article by the Washington (State) Geological Survey
demonstrates the uses of Lidar (light detection and ranging) technology to map
geological hazards. The article explains the process and illustrates its use
with fascinating case studies involving hazards common to the Pacific
Volcanoes.The article goes on to
describe applications of the technology in locating fault lines, predicting
tsunami inundation zones, and tracking the courses of rivers over time to
predict flooding impact.The process can
also yield incredible images of sub-surface geology.
Clearly the benefits for applying the technology to hazard
identification and mitigation are immeasurable.Hopefully, it will also become a useful tool in educating and convincing
policy makers and the general public to address the hazards in a real way.Being able to target action and resources to
more specific geographical locations will be a significant benefit to
Lidar image of the glaciers on Mt. Rainier. (From the Article)
The online, interactive article is well worth your time to read.
Last Sunday, there was a 7.3 earthquake reported in Iran,
near the Iraqi border.Just 8 hours
later, Costa Rica experienced a 6.5 quake.These were on the heels of 5 major earthquakes (>6.0) reported over
the last week, plus dozens of moderate quakes (>4.0) that hit hotspots like
the Pacific Rim. News reports called the Iranian quake the deadliest of
the year, adding that “at least 452 people were killed and thousands injured… and
was felt as far away as Turkey and Pakistan.”
Interestingly, there those scientists who think the two may be related, at least on some level.They’ve
identified statistical (indirect) relationships between the two.Others have demonstrated that a phenomenon known as “slow earthquakes” can be triggered by major atmospheric disturbances like hurricanes and typhoons.(Wikipedia defines a slow earthquake as “a
discontinuous, earthquake-like event that releases energy over a period of
hours to months, rather than the seconds to minutes characteristic of a typical
earthquake.") That sounds like an interesting topic for another time.
The message here is that, whether they are increasing or
we’re simply experiencing an anecdotal spike in natural disasters, they will
continue to come. Nobody is predicting a reduction in the future.Thus building resilience into our
cities and adapting our communities to survive these events should remain a top