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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2003. Living on an Active Earth: Perspectives on Earthquake Science. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10493.
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Living on an ACTIVE Earth

Perspectives on Earthquake Science

Committee on the Science of Earthquakes

Board on Earth Sciences and Resources

Division on Earth and Life Studies

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2003. Living on an Active Earth: Perspectives on Earthquake Science. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10493.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20001

NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.

This study was supported through endowment funds provided by the National Academy of Sciences. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Living on an active earth : perspectives on earthquake science / Committee on the Science of Earthquakes, Board on Earth Sciences and Resources, Division on Earth and Life Studies, National Research Council of the National Academies.

p. cm.

Includes bibliographical references and index.

ISBN 0-309-06562-3 (Book)

ISBN 0309-50631-X (PDF)

1. Seismology—Research. 2. Earthquake hazard analysis. I. National Research Council (U.S.). Committee on the Science of Earthquakes.

QE539 .L58 2002

551.22'07'2073—dc21a

2002151540

Additional copies of this report are available from the
National Academies Press,
500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu

Cover: Different perspectives on earthquake science. Left: Global tectonic map, generated from digital ocean bathymetry and land topography data. SOURCE: NOAA National Geophysical Data Center. Upper right: Geologists examining fault slip from the 1954 Dixie Valley-Fairview Peaks, Nevada, earthquake. SOURCE: Photograph by Karl Steinbrugge, Steinbrugge Collection, Earthquake Engineering Research Center, University of California, Berkeley. Center right: Synthetic aperture radar interferometry image of deformation caused by the 1999 Hector Mine earthquake. SOURCE: D. Sandwell, L. Sichoix, A. Jacobs, R. Scharroo, B. Minster, Y. Bock, P. Jamason, E. Price, and H. Zebker, Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, La Jolla, Calif. Bottom right: Rubble of collapsed buildings in the town of Golcuk, Turkey, resulting from the 1999 Izmit earthquake. SOURCE: Photograph by Enric Marti. Copyright (1999) Associated Press.

Copyright 2003 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

Printed in the United States of America

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2003. Living on an Active Earth: Perspectives on Earthquake Science. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10493.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences.

The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering.

The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine.

The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.

www.national-academies.org

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2003. Living on an Active Earth: Perspectives on Earthquake Science. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10493.
×

COMMITTEE ON THE SCIENCE OF EARTHQUAKES

THOMAS H. JORDAN, Chair,

University of Southern California, Los Angeles

GREGORY BEROZA,

Stanford University, Stanford, California

C. ALLIN CORNELL,

Stanford University, Portola Valley, California

C. B. CROUSE,

URS Corporation, Seattle, Washington

JAMES DIETERICH,

U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, California

ARTHUR FRANKEL,

U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, Colorado

DAVID D. JACKSON,

University of California, Los Angeles

ARCH JOHNSTON,

University of Memphis, Tennessee

HIROO KANAMORI,

California Institute of Technology, Pasadena

JAMES S. LANGER,

University of California, Santa Barbara

MARCIA K. MCNUTT,

Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Moss Landing, California

JAMES R. RICE,

Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

BARBARA A. ROMANOWICZ,

University of California, Berkeley

KERRY SIEH,

California Institute of Technology, Pasadena

PAUL G. SOMERVILLE,

URS Corporation, Pasadena, California

National Research Council Staff

Anne M. Linn, Study Director (from September 2000)

Tamara L. Dickinson, Study Director (May to November 1998)

Ellen Kappel, Study Director (July 1999 to January 2000)

Charles Meade, Study Director (until January 1998)

Monica Lipscomb, Research Assistant (from October 2001)

Verna J. Bowen, Administrative Assistant (from June 1998)

Steven Shannon, Project Assistant (until October 1996)

Susan Sherwin, Project Assistant (October 1996 to June 1998)

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2003. Living on an Active Earth: Perspectives on Earthquake Science. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10493.
×

BOARD ON EARTH SCIENCES AND RESOURCES

RAYMOND JEANLOZ, Chair,

University of California, Berkeley

JILL BANFIELD,

University of California, Berkeley

STEVEN R. BOHLEN,

Joint Oceanographic Institutions, Washington, D.C.

VICKI J. COWART,

Colorado Geological Survey, Denver

DAVID L. DILCHER,

University of Florida, Gainesville

ADAM M. DZIEWONSKI,

Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

WILLIAM L. GRAF,

University of South Carolina, Columbia

RHEA GRAHAM,

New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission, Albuquerque

GEORGE M. HORNBERGER,

University of Virginia, Charlottesville

DIANNE R. NIELSON,

Utah Department of Environmental Quality, Salt Lake City

MARK SCHAEFER,

NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia

BILLIE L. TURNER II,

Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts

THOMAS J. WILBANKS,

Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee

National Research Council Staff

ANTHONY R. DE SOUZA, Director

TAMARA L. DICKINSON, Senior Program Officer

DAVID A. FEARY, Senior Program Officer

ANNE M. LINN, Senior Program Officer

PAUL M. CUTLER, Program Officer

KRISTEN L. KRAPF, Program Officer

KERI H. MOORE, Program Officer

LISA M. VANDEMARK, Program Officer

YVONNE P. FORSBERGH, Research Assistant

MONICA R. LIPSCOMB, Research Assistant

EILEEN MCTAGUE, Research Assistant

VERNA J. BOWEN, Administrative Associate

JENNIFER T. ESTEP, Administrative Associate

RADHIKA S. CHARI, Senior Project Assistant

KAREN L. IMHOF, Senior Project Assistant

SHANNON L. RUDDY, Senior Project Assistant

TERESIA K. WILMORE, Project Assistant

WINFIELD SWANSON, Editor

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2003. Living on an Active Earth: Perspectives on Earthquake Science. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10493.
×

Acknowledgments

This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report:

Brian Atwater, University of Washington, Seattle

Bruce A. Bolt, University of California, Berkeley

Adam M. Dziewonski, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

J. Freeman Gilbert, University of California, San Diego

James E. Monsees, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Inc., Orange, California

Stuart Nishenko, PG&E, San Francisco, California

Terry Tullis, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island

Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Clarence R. Allen, professor emeritus, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2003. Living on an Active Earth: Perspectives on Earthquake Science. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10493.
×

Appointed by the National Research Council, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.

Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2003. Living on an Active Earth: Perspectives on Earthquake Science. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10493.
×

Preface

Recent earthquakes in California, Japan, Taiwan, and Turkey have demonstrated the devastating consequences of seismicity in large urban areas. Vulnerability to these seismic hazards can be reduced through scientific research in support of mitigation. However, applying this research to mitigation of seismic hazards has been a challenge. The study presented in this report was motivated by questions surrounding the effectiveness of the “knowledge-based” strategy taken by the National Earthquake Hazard Reduction Program (NEHRP). A series of critiques in the early to mid 1990s, including a 1995 report by the congressional Office of Technology Assessment (1), concluded that the NEHRP approach short-changed practical measures for mitigating earthquake losses, creating an “implementation gap” in which risk-reduction efforts lagged far behind the knowledge base created by basic research. A preliminary review by the National Research Council (NRC) Committee on Seismology indicated that the debate over the structure of a national program for earthquake risk reduction lacked adequate information about the prospects for, and potential payoffs from, long-term basic research and the relationship of current research activities, both basic and applied, to mitigation efforts.

Based on this assessment, a proposal was submitted to the National Academies, which established the Committee on the Science of Earthquakes and provided a grant from its endowment funds to

assess the current scientific understanding of earthquake processes. In its work, the study committee will prepare a comprehensive summary of the multidisciplinary research throughout the earth and physical sciences on the origins, properties, and consequences of earthquakes, assess

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2003. Living on an Active Earth: Perspectives on Earthquake Science. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10493.
×

the research goals for the field of earthquake science, particularly as they support engineering and policy efforts to improve seismic mitigation strategies, and identify strategies to improve the communication of earthquake science to engineers, policy makers, and the general public.

This report is meant to provide a technical reference for scientists, engineers, and policy makers concerned with understanding earthquakes and reducing society’s vulnerability to seismic hazards.

To gather information for the study the committee met with representatives from government agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and private sector companies concerned with earthquake research and engineering, hazard mitigation, and earthquake insurance. Briefings were provided by AXA Reinsurance, the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Institute of Standards and Technology, National Science Foundation, Office of Science and Technology Policy, and U.S. Geological Survey. Input from the broader Earth science community was solicited through an editorial in Seismological Research Letters (2) and the committee’s web site, which included a series of white papers on different earthquake topics. Altogether the committee met eight times to gather information and prepare its report.

The committee thanks the following individuals for making presentations or providing background material, figures, or other input: Cliff Astill, Aykut Barka, Harley Benz, Yehuda Ben-Zion, Margaret Boettcher, Steve Bratt, Robert Bucknam, George Budd, Rhett Butler, Wuchen Chi, Rob Clayton, Paula Davidson, James Dolan, Douglas Dreger, John Filson, Chris Goldfinger, Tom Henyey, Steve Hickman, Ken Hudnut, Jeff Kimball, Richard Krimm, Michael Mahoney, Jeff McGuire, Robert Nadeau, Amos Nur, Elaine Padovani, Robert Page, Gilles Peltzer, Eliza Richardson, Charles Rubin, Ronald Sack, Charles Sammis, Kaye Shedlock, David Simpson, Shyam Sunder, Louis Walter, Jim Whitcomb, Cecily Wolfe, Nicholas Woodward, Richard Wright, Howard Zebker, and Mark Zoback. The committee also thanks the staff of the National Research Council for their support of this project. Charles Meade obtained funding for the study and helped the committee generate most of the raw material for this report before he left the NRC to pursue a new career. Tammy Dickinson and Ellen Kappel provided figures and interim support to the committee. The committee is particularly grateful to Anne Linn, whose outstanding efforts brought this study to a successful conclusion.

Thomas H. Jordan

Chair

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2003. Living on an Active Earth: Perspectives on Earthquake Science. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10493.
×

NOTES

1.  

Office of Technology Assessment, Reducing Earthquake Losses, OTA-ETI-623, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 162 pp., 1995.

2.  

T.H. Jordan, Is the study of earthquakes a basic science? Seis. Res. Lett.,68, 259-261, 1997.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2003. Living on an Active Earth: Perspectives on Earthquake Science. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10493.
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The destructive force of earthquakes has stimulated human inquiry since ancient times, yet the scientific study of earthquakes is a surprisingly recent endeavor. Instrumental recordings of earthquakes were not made until the second half of the 19th century, and the primary mechanism for generating seismic waves was not identified until the beginning of the 20th century.

From this recent start, a range of laboratory, field, and theoretical investigations have developed into a vigorous new discipline: the science of earthquakes. As a basic science, it provides a comprehensive understanding of earthquake behavior and related phenomena in the Earth and other terrestrial planets. As an applied science, it provides a knowledge base of great practical value for a global society whose infrastructure is built on the Earth's active crust.

This book describes the growth and origins of earthquake science and identifies research and data collection efforts that will strengthen the scientific and social contributions of this exciting new discipline.

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