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Can Human Innovation Greatly Minimise The Impact Of Earthquakes?

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Robert Hicks Can Human Innovation Greatly Minimise The Impact Of Earthquakes? Looking at the effects of an earthquake is truly amazing; the destruction caused can be catastrophic! They can leave a trail of untold damage including, hospitals being disabled, fractured highways, damaged airports, damaged harbours, free flowing sewerage, water contamination, flaming gas lines, oil spilling into the sea, landslides, floods, collapsed buildings and the obvious violent shaking of the earth or ground. This short essay will be looking at the effects of an earthquake, whether human innovation has a role to play and seeing where or why there's a need for it? California and particularly San Francisco have been prone to some of the most prominent earthquakes known; this is due to the location of the continent and state. San Francisco is sited on the San Andreas Fault, the edge of the North American plate (that carries most of the continent) and the edge of the Pacific plate (which carries most of the California coastline). Where these two plates meet there is a hive of activity as they attempt to move past each other at an average speed of four centimetres(cm) ...read more.


All of this preparation for an event of such magnitude that might occur every 80 years or 5 years and last for only several seconds is put in place to try to ensure public safety. Nobody really knows when and where the next earthquake will strike, or in fact how big it will register. This is why such phenomena as avalanches, freak flooding and earthquakes are known as natural disasters. Geologists claim to have an idea as to when these events may occur, although they can never be one hundred percent sure! Engineers and scientists have been working together in building safer structures, saving lives and investing millions of dollars doing the required research for many years. Scientists learn about earth movement during a quake and structural engineers use this information to design stronger and more flexible buildings. Engineers must understand the stress caused by the shaking of an earthquake to be able to design these safer buildings. Scientists place probes and monitors (seismographs) in buildings near the ground to measure the response of a building and the ground movement during an earthquake. ...read more.


Also earthquake shelters are being introduced to schools, hospitals, factories and shopping centres. Large corporations such as IBM and GENETECH are funding their own operations in all of the above mentioned. As we speak the people in these disaster areas are virtually racing against time and implementing these practices. Mainly because scientists are expecting another large quake in the imminent future, but can't be sure exactly when? Through improved innovation and understanding of past earthquakes and other natural disasters, the information generated has motivated and inspired communities, the Government and corporations to prepare. By planning for emergency situations, by training people, by strengthening facilities and with improved scientific practices then it has become more likely to survive an earthquake with less destruction to infrastructure. Based on the above facts it is reasonable to conclude that the answer to the above question has to be that human innovation does greatly minimise the impact of earthquakes! Any idea or practice that safeguards or benefits human life, communities, towns, cities, states or even an entire country has to be a good thing. There is an old 17c Proverb and in this case it's perfect for points and facts that have been mentioned; the proverb is "PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE". 1 ...read more.

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