Source: FilippoMonteforte / AFP / Getty ImagesThe Daily Beast The L’Aquila earthquake Case
April 6, 2009 M6.3 • Very seismic region • L'Aquila built on ancient lake bed – amplifies motion • Medieval city –old construction not to modern codes • 20,000 buildings damaged • 30,000 homeless
Basic EQ Facts • +1 magnitude = +30 x energy (a few small ones don’t stop a big one) • Most deaths in earthquakes occur in collapsed buildings
Earthquake Prediction • A reliable earthquake prediction should occur BEFORE the event and include: • Location • Time • Size • How likely • Reasonsbehind prediction (justification)
Short-term EQ Prediction – Hasn’t been done reliably None of these are reliable • Radon gas measurements • Animal behavior (dogs barking) • Alignment of the moon and the sun • Micro earthquakes • Earthquake swarms • Changes in shear and primary wave velocities (Vs/Vp)
False Prediction by Giampaolo Giuliani – March 29, 2009 • Phoned the mayor of the town of Sulmona, about 55 kilometers southeast of L'Aquila, to expect a "damaging" — or even "catastrophic" — earthquake within 6 to 24 hours. • Loudspeaker vans warned the inhabitants of Sulmona (not L'Aquila) to evacuate • Residents panicked. Then no EQ occurred • Giuliano cited for inciting public alarm and prohibited from making public predictions.
Quote from Enzo Boschi “It is unlikely that an earthquake like the one in 1703 could occur in the short term, but the possibility cannot be totally excluded.” Note: No mention was made of what to do if a major earthquake should occur
Quote from MarcellMelandri – Lawyer for EnzoBoschi • . . . scientists may now, effectively, be forced to rethink how they interpret science when citizens are worried. And that, he says, will compromise their authority. “In Italy you will now see many more false alarms in such situations, because experts will choose to cry wolf when in doubt. In the end they will become less and less credible.”
You Are the Court Judge • Were the scientists/engineers negligent or just guilty of poor communication of the risk by providing “incomplete, imprecise, and contradictory information”? • Is poor communication a crime punishable by prison? • In the future should the committee predict an earthquake even if the probability is very small? • Should issuing a false alarm also be a crime? • List the important facts you know and those you would like to know more about • List the conflicts • Do any code of ethics elements apply here?
Turn in a Written Summary • Include all your names and student ID numbers at the TOP (write neatly so we can see them) • Follow with issues and conflicts (This can be bullets) • Finish with short summary (3 or 4 sentences) of your analysis