Research Paper on Earthquakes:
Among a variety of natural disaster that may affect the life of human beings the threat of earthquake is probably one of the most serious ones because it is practically impossible to forecast precisely when an earthquake can occur. Moreover, the effects of earthquakes are traditionally very harmful since, depending on the strength of an earthquake, damages may vary dramatically but, in actuality, in spite of the technological progress, it is practically impossible to prevent and even predict an earthquake. Such a situation is really dangerous, especially if people are not really aware of the threat of such a natural disaster as earthquake. At the same time, it is hardly possible to find any other natural disaster in face of which people could be as helpless as in the case of earthquakes.
In this respect, the IUB area is an exception and earthquakes occur here leading to destructions and deaths of people. This is why it is extremely important to develop an effective system of risk assessment and emergency management in order to minimize negative effects of earthquakes in the IUB area.
The threat of earthquake
Speaking about the threat of earthquakes in the IUB area, it should be pointed out that this areas as well as Indiana at large was susceptible to the threat of the earthquakes since ancient epochs and it was always considered to be one of the major threats to the normal life of people in the area. In this respect, it is possible to refer to a number of historical examples. For instance, specialists emphasize that earthquakes occur in the area in prehistoric epochs as well as in recent times. Moreover, one of the most significant earthquakes that struck the area occurred in 1909 and it was the largest earthquake in the history of Indiana (http://earthquake.usgs.gov/regional/states.php?regionID=14®ion=Indiana). There are also evidences which refer to the beginning of the 19th century, when earthquakes occurred in the region in 1811-1812 (http://igs.indiana.edu/geology/earthquakes/eqinindiana/index.cfm).
In such a way, it is possible to estimate that Indiana is traditionally exposed to the threat of earthquakes that makes the region quite dangerous in regard to the destructive effects of this natural disaster. However, it is worthy of mention that even the largest earthquake that occurred in Indiana in 1909 did not exceed the magnitude 5.10 intensity VII that means that the strength and the destructive power of earthquakes in the area are normally not extremely harmful. In other words, an average earthquake may cause little harms naturally on the condition of the proper risk assessment and emergency management. What is meant here is the fact that in order to make the negative effects of an earthquake minimal if the local facilities and population are prepared for the disaster.
IUB vulnerability factors
Nevertheless, the IUB area may be viewed as quite vulnerable to the negative impact of earthquakes. There are several factors that determine its vulnerability and make the potential threat of earthquakes very high. In this respect, it should be said that earthquakes, being relatively widely spread phenomena, are still unknown for the majority of people who arrive to the IUB area from other states. As a result, they simply do not know what to do in the case of the disaster. Naturally, this leads to the panic, especially among young people, i.e. students, that does not contribute to the prevention of negative effects of an earthquake.
To put it more precisely, earthquakes may cause panic, which in its turn may lead to the unreasonable and simply dangerous actions of people. It is not a secret that in extreme situations people’s behavior becomes unpredictable and often absolutely illogical since it is based not on their reason but on their natural instincts, which do not always help people to escape injuries or even survive. For instance, it is possible to estimate that often in an attempt to find some shelter form the natural threat people attempt to hide in some buildings while they do not really know what buildings are really safe and what parts of buildings are the most protected against the destructive effect of the earthquake. As a result, people can choose a building that seems to be solid and indestructible but, in actuality, due to the material used and specific characteristics of its construction the building may be easily destructed even in the result of an average earthquake.
By the way, the resistance of local buildings and facilities to the destructive effect of earthquakes is another important factor that can make IUB particularly vulnerable to the threat of this natural disaster. Even though the threat of earthquakes in the area was well-known, the safety of the local buildings and facilities is often far from perfect. What is meant here is the fact the local buildings and facilities often do not meet the modern demands concerning their safety because they were built in the epoch when the modern technologies, which increase the safety of buildings and facilities in face of the threat of an earthquake, were simply unavailable. As a result, the reliability and safety of the local facilities as well as infrastructure is under a question.
Finally, another factor is purely natural, which even the modern science cannot eliminate. This factor is the unpredictable nature of earthquakes. In fact, even the most advanced technologies and developments cannot provide the local population with a 100 per cent guarantee that the time and strength of an earthquake may be predicted with absolute precision. Consequently, people simply do not know when an earthquake can strike and how destructive it can be.
Risk assessment of the threat of earthquake
Obviously, taking into consideration the great threat of earthquakes in the area, it is extremely important to develop an effective system of risk assessment and prevention of negative effects of earthquakes. In this respect, it should be said that forecasting of the natural disaster is really quite problematic, but still the application of the modern technologies provides specialists with an opportunity to predict the possibility of an earthquake to occur, though without a definition of the precise date and time of a disaster. Nevertheless, it is possible to forecast an earthquake within a few months, for instance, making people more prepared for the natural disaster.
In such a situation, the effective and well functioning system of notification about the upcoming disaster, which development may be predicted on the basis of the analysis of tectonic activity and changes that occur just before the earthquake, may be very helpful to make people prepared for the disaster. In this respect, it should be said that the local authorities have already made consistent steps on the way to improve the local system of notification through the introduction of the new warning siren project (http://www.iub.edu/~uconnect/news/award.shtml) which may warn people about the threat of the earthquake just before the disaster occurs. In such a way, people receive an opportunity to undertake essential steps to avoid injuries in the result of earthquake, but even such warning cannot prevent destruction of local facilities, buildings and infrastructure.
Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that earthquakes occur regularly in the IUB area and, therefore, they represent a serious threat to people living in the area. Unfortunately, it is quite difficult to predict the precise date of an earthquake beforehand, but it is possible to warn people about the upcoming disaster just before it occurs through the effective system of notification used in the IUB area.
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