Thursday, April 24, 2014

Seismic Hazard and Risk for Vancouver

It occurred to me that Vancouverites might choke on their collective high fat and sugar breakfasts before their morning commute, when they read my 'predictions'.  This should not be the case.

 Geologists who want to make money for their organizations tend to go to the glorious big faults.  In California they believe in thin straight lines as the be-all of seismic hazard.  This was carried to the extreme by the Global Gorming crowd.

Sad to say, this is not reality.  The boring truth is that seismic hazard is a big ugly smudge, and no individual earthquake or 'discovered' fault is going to budge it.  The smudge is caused by overwhelming uncertainties.  It is just as likely that the most damage for Vancouver will come from a local M6.5, a la Christchurch.

So, if you are living in a big pile of bricks on a swamp, then the good news is that your insurance is under-priced by a factor of 10.  Top up on it, to leave money for distant relatives.  If you are on that BC hardpan that takes blasting to dig a foundation, then your fish tanks are safe, and you can keep that champagne glass fountain you set up at New Years.  

Those that live near the coast better keep running shoes handy, and watch those bridges.

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