Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Earthquakes Kill Thousands In 2003; Deadliest Year Since 1990

Date:
January 26, 2004
Source:
United States Geological Survey
Summary:
According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), 2003 closed as the deadliest year for earthquakes since 1990, 25 times more fatal than 2002; 43,819 deaths have been reported for the past year, as confirmed by the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). In 2002, 1711 people died in quakes around the world; in 1990, 51,916 people were killed in various seismic events.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), 2003 closed as the deadliest year for earthquakes since 1990, 25 times more fatal than 2002; 43,819 deaths have been reported for the past year, as confirmed by the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). In 2002, 1711 people died in quakes around the world; in 1990, 51,916 people were killed in various seismic events.

The "strong" magnitude 6.6 that hit Bam, Iran on Dec. 26 was responsible for at least 41,000 deaths, and is expected to rise.

The magnitude 8.3 earthquake that rattled the Hokkaido, Japan region on Sept. 25 rang in as the largest temblor in the world for 2003, and the only "great" quake.

California experienced the deadliest U.S. quake, a magnitude 6.5, on Dec. 22 in San Simeon, 40 miles northwest of San Luis Obispo, Calif. Two people were killed when a building collapsed in nearby Paso Robles. Shallow but powerful, the earthquake uplifted the Santa Lucia mountains and triggered a vigorous aftershock sequence. The last strong earthquake to strike this area occurred over 50 years ago on Nov. 22, 1952. Four other events in Alaska, magnitudes 6.6 to 7.8 were stronger than the San Simeon temblor.

The USGS locates about 50 earthquakes each day or almost 25,000 a year. On average, there are 18 major earthquakes (magnitude 7.0 to 7.9) and one great earthquake (8.0 or higher) each year worldwide. Several million earthquakes occur in the world each year, but many go undetected because they occur in remote areas or have very small magnitudes. In the U.S., earthquakes pose significant risk to 75 million Americans in 39 States.

"Federal science plays an essential role in reducing our vulnerability to earthquakes. The ability to coordinate and respond to threats is a defining characteristic of good government," said USGS Director Chip Groat. "Mother Nature lacks the malice of terrorists, but compensates with endless energy and dogged persistence. We must be prepared."

Under the authority of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP), currently under reauthorization by Congress, the USGS is mandated to monitor earthquakes and provide earthquake warnings and notifications. It is the only agency in the Government that provides this service nationwide. The USGS and its partners operate a nationwide earthquake monitoring system that provides warnings, assesses seismic hazards, records earthquake activity and provides information essential in the design of building codes for new construction and retrofitting of existing structures. Timely information on the distribution and severity of earthquake shaking in urban areas is used to direct emergency response and to minimize disruption of lifelines and infrastructure. Data on earthquake shaking is used in the design and construction of safer, more earthquake resistant, future buildings and structures.

Although significant progress has been achieved in earthquake research and mitigation, earthquake risk is still high, especially in Third World countries where population growth and lack of earthquake-resistant structural design standards have put more and more people at risk.

In the U.S., the USGS and partners are working to improve earthquake monitoring and reporting capabilities to speed earthquake response efforts while at the same time minimize economic impact and enhance business continuity. Central to this goal is a new initiative designed to improve earthquake monitoring and reporting infrastructure. This effort, known as the Advanced National Seismic System (ANSS) has resulted in the installation of approximately 400 new earthquake-monitoring instruments in vulnerable urban areas including San Francisco, Seattle, Salt Lake City, Anchorage, Reno, Las Vegas, and Memphis. Full implementation of ANSS will result in 7000 new instruments on the ground and in structures. Once in place, the ANSS will provide emergency response personnel with real-time (within 5-10 minutes of an event) information on the intensity and distribution of ground shaking that can be used to guide emergency response efforts. Information on building "shaking" will equip engineers with the data they need to improve building designs in the future.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by United States Geological Survey. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

United States Geological Survey. "Earthquakes Kill Thousands In 2003; Deadliest Year Since 1990." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 January 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/01/040126072458.htm>.
United States Geological Survey. (2004, January 26). Earthquakes Kill Thousands In 2003; Deadliest Year Since 1990. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/01/040126072458.htm
United States Geological Survey. "Earthquakes Kill Thousands In 2003; Deadliest Year Since 1990." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/01/040126072458.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

AP (July 28, 2014) AP Investigation: As the Obama administration weans the country off dirty fuels, energy companies are ramping-up overseas coal exports at a heavy price. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins