Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

2004 Deadliest In Nearly 500 Years For Earthquakes

Date:
February 23, 2005
Source:
U.S. Geological Survey
Summary:
According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), 2004 was the deadliest year for earthquakes since the Renaissance Age, making it the second most fatal in recorded history, with more than 275,950 deaths reported from the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami that hit the Indian Ocean on Dec. 26.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), 2004 was the deadliest year for earthquakes since the Renaissance Age, making it the second most fatal in recorded history, with more than 275,950 deaths reported from the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami that hit the Indian Ocean on Dec. 26. The total death toll for earthquakes in 2004 was 276,856; less than 1,000 casualties were reported around the world prior to the Indian Ocean event.

On Jan. 23, 1556, a magnitude 8 earthquake killed an estimated 830,000 people in Shansi, China. Tangshan, China, is the site of the quake where 255,000 fatalities were reported in 1976 when a magnitude 7.5 temblor hit the area on July 27.

The magnitude 9.0 that hit Banda Aceh, Indonesia, is not the only great (magnitude 8.0 or higher) earthquake that occurred during 2004; a magnitude 8.1 earthquake hit north of Macquarie Island (about one thousand miles southwest of New Zealand) three days before the Indian Ocean quake and tsunami, but no deaths were reported. Prior to the Macquarie Islands’ earthquake, the last great earthquake was a magnitude 8.3 in Hokkaido, Japan, in September of 2003.

The loss of life from earthquakes and related tsunamis in 2004 far exceeded that of recent years. In 2003, 33,819 deaths occurred; about 31,000 of these resulted from the Dec. 26, 2003 magnitude 6.6 earthquake that struck Bam, Iran. In 2002, 1711 people died as a result of earthquakes.

The largest earthquake in the U.S. in 2004 was a magnitude 6.8 in southeastern Alaska. Although smaller, the most noteable U.S. earthquake was a magnitude 6.0 quake in Parkfield, Calif., on Sept. 28, 2004. The long-anticipated event along the San Andreas Fault ruptured roughly the same segment of the fault that broke in 1966. This earthquake was the seventh in a series of repeating earthquakes on this stretch of the fault. The previous events were in 1857, 1881, 1901, 1922, 1934, and 1966. The deadliest earthquake event on U.S. soil occurred nearly 100 years ago in San Francisco on April 18, 1906. The magnitude 7.8 quake and resulting fires caused an estimated 3,000 deaths and $524 million in property loss. The USGS locates about 50 earthquakes each day or almost 25,000 a year. According to long-term averages, 18 major earthquakes (magnitude 7.0 to 7.9) and one great earthquake (8.0 or higher) should happen each year worldwide. Several million earthquakes occur in the world each year, but many go undetected because they strike in remote areas or have very small magnitudes. In the U.S., earthquakes pose significant risk to 75 million Americans in 39 States.

“Natural hazards will always be with us. They are unpredictable and can have tragic consequences. With USGS science, we are striving to prevent these natural hazards from becoming disasters. This is no longer a scientific endeavor – it is a matter of public safety,” said USGS Director Chip Groat.

Under the authority of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP), 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 500 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.

A link to the list of the most destructive earthquakes on record in the world can be found at: http://neic.usgs.gov/neis/eqlists/eqsmosde.html The USGS serves the nation by providing reliable scientific information to describe and understand the Earth; minimize loss of life and property from natural disasters; manage water, biological, energy, and mineral resources; and enhance and protect our quality of life.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

U.S. Geological Survey. "2004 Deadliest In Nearly 500 Years For Earthquakes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 February 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050222111059.htm>.
U.S. Geological Survey. (2005, February 23). 2004 Deadliest In Nearly 500 Years For Earthquakes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050222111059.htm
U.S. Geological Survey. "2004 Deadliest In Nearly 500 Years For Earthquakes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050222111059.htm (accessed July 26, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath

Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath

AP (July 25, 2014) Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe toured the Cherrystone Family Camping and RV Resort on the Chesapeake Bay today, a day after it was hit by a tornado. The storm claimed two lives and injured dozens of others. (July 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

AFP (July 25, 2014) Europe's highest train, the little train of Artouste in the French Pyrenees, celebrates its 80th birthday. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 24, 2014) The eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, mainly known for conflict and instability, is an unlikely place for the production of fine cheese. But a farm in the village of Masisi, in North Kivu is slowly transforming perceptions of the area. Known simply as Goma cheese, the Congolese version of Dutch gouda has gained popularity through out the region. Ciara Sutton reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bill Gates: Health, Agriculture Key to Africa's Development

Bill Gates: Health, Agriculture Key to Africa's Development

AFP (July 24, 2014) Health and agriculture development are key if African countries are to overcome poverty and grow, US software billionaire Bill Gates said Thursday, as he received an honourary degree in Ethiopia. Duration: 00:36 Video provided by AFP
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