Forcasting Earthquakes?

Check out the website OpenHazards to see the probability of an earthquake with a greater magnitude than 5.0 occuring in your area over the next year.  According to their website, OpenHazards is a group of scientists, technologists, and business people dedicated to enabling “a more sustainable human society in the face of severe, recurring natural disasters.”  By the way, the probability for my area, Charlottesville, Virginia, is 0.04%

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Today in earthquake history

The U.S. Geological Survey has made available a wealth of information about earthquakes, among them the “Today in Earthquake History” page .  A look at the page for May 4 shows several significant earthquakes around the world, two of which were in Alaska in 1923 and 1934.  By looking at the “Earthquake Reports” section in the left menu bar here on the Toolkit, you will note that Alaska is experiencing tremors again today.  The USGS has also provided an excellent Preparedness and Response page, all important information, particularly for everyone who lives on the west coast of North America, Alaska and Hawaii.

15 years ago in Northridge, CA

In January of 1994, the Northridge area of California was shaken by a level 6.7 earthquake, which devastated the area, including California State University at Northridge. See Susan Curzon’s story of the destruction of her library at CSU, and how they responded by getting services back up and running in temporary shelters and with limited staffing. (This story and more are available from the “Library Disaster Stories” page here on the toolkit.)

Earthquake damage to the rear side of the Oviatt Library.  Image from Susan Curzon's story.

Earthquake damage to the rear side of the Oviatt Library. Image from Susan Curzon's story.

Today, in the “Emergency Preparedness News” section in the left column of the toolkit, you can see a story about the earthquake drill that is scheduled for Stanford University in early February. It is interesting to see how well their preparedness planners have used the lessons learned from previous incidents in their area and have planned the drill to deal with issues they know they will face when the next quake occurs.

The toolkit has two additional resources for preparedness and risk assessment related specifically to earthquakes. (1) See the “Earthquakes” RSS feed available in the list of RSS feeds on the left, and (2) under “Risk Assessment Maps and Charts” on the right, see the Earthquake map produced by the USGS showing earthquake probability for all of the U.S. The USGS says that over 75 million people live in earthquake-prone zones in the U.S., which affect 39 states.

Some help with risk assessment…

Check out the latest new feature of the Toolkit! Scroll down past the Resources section of the right side menu bar to find a list of links to the maps that Dan has used in his training classes on service continuity. The maps are helpful for risk assessment for all regions–they add a larger picture to the very localized knowledge that most of us have about what has happened or is likely to happen in our areas. The maps in the “Risk Assessment Maps & Charts” section cover incidents of severe weather, earthquakes, wildfires, chemical and nuclear power plans, flood plains, tornadoes, among others.

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Charleston Earthquake of 1886

Last week I was preparing for a presentation for the NLM site visit at the SE/A RML and noticed that there is a higher degree of earthquake risk for the coastal region of South Carolina (see map below). Investigating further, I learned about the Charleston earthquake of 1886. (Click on the link below for further information.) I also discovered that earthquakes in the eastern United States are felt for greater distance than earthquakes in the western United States. For example, the 1811 earthquake in western Tennessee rang church bells in Boston, Mass. (Reference: http://quake.wr.usgs.gov/prepare/factsheets/NewMadrid/.)

Charleston Earthquake

Hospital sample plan available

Heidi Sandstrom, Associate Director of the Pacific Southwest Region, facilitated availability of our first sample disaster plan for a hospital library.  Please look on the “Disaster Plan Templates/Samples” page (see link in menu above) for the contribution from Joy Graham at San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center.  Thanks, Heidi and Joy!