Earthquakes, Prediction V Preventation.

Topics: Earthquake, Prediction, Seismology Pages: 7 (2527 words) Published: February 2, 2014
Predicting VS Preparing.

Should the government spend more money on predicting an earthquake than on preparing a town for the next?

This case study will be arguing the reasons as to whether the government should or shouldn't spend money on predicting an earthquake than on preparing a town to be ready for the next. There are many different points of views on this argument and I will be justifying these in further detail, as well as giving my own opinion towards earthquake prediction.

An earthquake is a natural disaster when two tectonic plates rub together and send huge amounts of energy and vibrations called seismic waves through the Earth's surface causing the ground to shake violently. This can cause many dangerous outcomes including buildings to collapse, hillsides to form landslides and many people can also get very badly injured or even worse, killed. Over the past 10 years over 700,000 people have been killed due to earthquakes, can we put an end to this? Do this many people really need to die? Is it possible to precisely predict when and where they might happen next?

Some scientists believe they are able to use a special instrument, called a seismometer, to detect the vibrations after the earthquake which, collects a chart called a seismogram that can be used to predict the next earthquake and reduce the amount of damage caused. There are two types of waves earthquakes send out. P-waves which are also known as Longitudinal waves, that start of the earthquake travelling in straight lines moving back and forth to cause minimal damage. Then comes much rougher waves called S-waves which are also known as Transverse waves, these travel sideways moving left and right and cause quite a lot of destruction, depending on how much the earthquake measures on the Richter scale.

In this case study I will be arguing whether it is actually worth spending such a large amount of money for the equipment that will be used to predict an earthquake or if it's not possible to prevent this natural disaster, we spend more money on preparing people and towns for when an earthquake does occur.

Arguments for the spending money on predicting earthquakes rather than preparing a town for the next. Many people are in favour of spending money on the equipment that scientists may use to predict earthquakes however; do we know if these will really be worth spending money on? Will this be just another waste of money? Or can we actually rely on scientists to save the day? Most earthquake predictions are vague at best; these predictions are based on broad research of aftershock patterns. Seismologists can make quite a good guess at figuring out how an earthquake originating along one fault will cause more in the future.

Today scientists think they can use a variety of equipment and data to detect seismic activity days in advance of a quake, they can predict where major earthquakes are likely to occur based on the movements of the plates under the Earth’s surface as well as being able to make rough guesses about when these earthquakes may happen in a certain area by looking at the history of earthquakes that have happened in the past and detecting where pressure is building along fault lines. Seismometers are special instruments which collect information during and after an earthquake as a seismogram; they measure the strength, direction and type of waves which scientists then use to predict the next. Some scientists think they can also use laser beams which detect plate movement as well as radon gas, which escapes from cracks in the Earth’s crust, the level of radon gas can be monitored, if it shows a sudden increase it could suggest an earthquake on the way [1].

In an issue of Science Daily an article states that, seismologist and mathematical geophysicist, Vladimir Keilis-Borok of UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) believes ‘major earthquakes can be predicted months in advance.’ His team measures small changes in...
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