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Rob Parker (University of Cardiff) and Dave Petley
The Mw = 7.8 earthquake on Tuesday in Iran was the largest event in that country for about 50 years. Fortunately, the depth of the earthquake (82 km) and the low population density in the affected areas meant that loss of life was low for an event of this size. Indeed, reports suggest that only one person died in Iran, although there are reports of 40 deaths in Pakistan. This single fatality in Iran was the result of a landslide, and one of the images on the BBC reports about the earthquake also seems to show landslides:
Over the last three years or so, we have been working with our colleagues Alex Densmore and Nick Rosser, funded by the Willis Research Network, to develop a model that will allow us to make an initial assessment of landslide impacts in earthquakes. Rob recently submitted his PhD, and has now moved to a post-doctoral position at Cardiff. However, we thought that this event would be an interesting first application of the model, which has been produced through a statistical (logistic regression) analysis of spatial patterns of landslides (with areas larger than 11,000 square metres) triggered by four large earthquakes in the USA, New Zealand, Taiwan and China. The model provides a first-order prediction of the probability of hillslope failure across the region affected by seismic shaking, based on the strength of ground motions and the gradient of hillslopes. Areas likely to have experienced high levels of landslide activity are shown in red, and while areas we expect to be less affected by landslides are shown in green and then blue. Here, landslide probability has been estimated using preliminary ground motion data published by the USGS and hillslope gradients derived from the ASTER global elevation model. Read more
Programme for Disaster Interventions and Humanitarian Aid
Yesterday I was deeply honoured to present the AQA Annual Lecture at the Geographical Association annual conference in Derby. I talked on the topic of Future Trends in Natural Hazard Losses - essentially a review of what we expect to see in the next few decades on a global basis. I started the talk by looking at recent trends, and then looked forward to what we might expect. I finished with an example of one of the mega-quakes that we fear – in this case a large earthquake in Western Nepal.
The slides are on Authorstream – you can download the Powerpoint file there – and should also appear below:
Dr Chris Massey, a researcher with GNS Science in New Zealand is currently visiting the Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience. During the 2011 Christchurch earthquake large boulders were unhinged from extremely steep slopes and crashed into houses below (see Christchurch earthquake secondary hazards). In this highly informative and exciting video, Chris presents some of the work they’re doing in studying how large rocks travel down steep slopes.
I didn’t have the pleasure of attending AGU 2012, but thanks to their video on demand session and lecture series you can still watch some really great sessions online. I highlight several of them that I think have particular implications for research in hazard and risk from geohazards to climate change and communicating science in the case of the 2009 L’Aquila Earthquake after which seven scientists were prosecuted and sentenced to jail for six years for failing to predict the earthquake. An incredibly controversial decision that has been met with ferocious criticism from scientists and non-scientists alike.
The Race to Understand a Changing Planet
Dr Piers J. Sellers
How modelling is trying to keep up with planetary change. Some really nice visuals. Read more