National Earthquake Resiliency Coalition Newsletter
Volume 1, Issue 6, December 2017
Recent Events 
Oklahoma Hosts its First Ready Business QuakeSmart Workshop 

On October 11, more than 70 participants attended the Ready Business/QuakeSmart Preparedness Workshop presented by the City of Oklahoma City, CUSEC, Intertribal Emergency Management Coalition, FLASH, FEMA, FEMA Region VI, the Oklahoma Office of Emergency Management, Oklahoma County, Rose State College, Simpson Strong-Tie, Worksafe Technologies, and the United Way.
Jake Walter of the Oklahoma Geological Survey opened the day with a terrific, in-depth explanation of induced seismicity that provided everyone in the room with an understanding of why Oklahoma now exceeds California in earthquake activity.
Frank Barnes of the Oklahoma City Office of Emergency Management delivered an excellent overview of response considerations. He made the point that first responders might not be able to reach businesses in need directly following an event. That helped attendees understand the urgent need to prepare for at least 72 hours of self-sufficiency. He compared disasters such as earthquakes and tornadoes, which was effective as most of the local businesses had tornado experience.
Jackie Right of Rose State College quoted former president Dwight D. Eisenhower when she stated, "Planning Is Everything. The Plan Is Nothing." Right stressed the necessity to be prepared. He shared an eye-opening statistic that there are approximately 1.3 million people in metro Oklahoma City, a population size that is likely out of balance with the amount of government resources that are available immediately after a disaster.
The group was dynamic, actively engaged and participated in the discussion. They focused on single properties and infrastructure. Attendees commented at the end of the day, (I am) "definitely going to read through my organization's continuity of operations plan again to ensure all of these angles (presented today) are addressed."
Click here to learn more about QuakeSmart and all the Ready Business assets. 
Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills: Millions Taking Action, Making News, and Fostering Discussion

This year's Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills involved more than 57 million people worldwide practicing earthquake safety. For the first year, every U.S. state and territory was officially involved, with the creation of the "Upper MidWest" ShakeOut region adding South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. While most drills were held on October 19 (International ShakeOut Day), others were held throughout the year including Utah's statewide drill in April, and Taiwan's annual earthquake drill held on September 21.  While half of U.S. ShakeOut regions did see more involvement, the destructive hurricane season led to a slight overall U.S. participation decrease.  Read More>
Partner Profiles 
Partner Profile - 
Sean McGowan, PE - FEMA Region VIII Earthquake Program Manager & Building Science Lead

Q: What is the background/history of your organization?

A:The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was created in 1979 to coordinate federal support to states in their efforts to prepare for, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards. I think most readers are familiar with our disaster-related roles, so I'll briefly describe our mitigation efforts. FEMA's Mitigation staff work towards reducing the impacts of, and ideally preventing, future natural disasters. We deliver training on earthquake retrofits, manage new floodplain mapping projects, inform building code updates, award grants to state and local governments to improve their resilience to natural hazards, help communities build back better after disasters, provide technical expertise for disaster response and exercises, and provide a variety of other technical services to states. 

FEMA is broken up into ten Regions. Our office in Denver is the hub for FEMA Region VIII, which includes Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. This Regional system allows us to better understand the hazards affecting our states, respond more quickly to disasters, and develop strong collaborative relationships with state and local partners.  Read More>
Upcoming Events & Disaster Conference News
Eleventh National Conference on Earthquake Engineering

Registration has opened for the Eleventh National Conference on Earthquake Engineering (11NCEE). The conference will take place June 25-29 in Los Angeles, California. Click here for additional information. 
National Earthquake Conference 2020

Believe it or not, it's time to start planning for the National Earthquake Conference (NEC) 2020. Please send us your thoughts on location and timing, so we may begin to plan a framework for another successful gathering. As you know, this quadrennial conference is the premier gathering of earthquake thought leaders, practitioners, and scientists, and we want to ensure that 2020 is even bigger than 2016.

You can contribute to this effort by emailing today, and thank you in advance for your ideas and suggestions.
New Reports & Findings 
Earthquakes shake Costa Rica, Iran and Iraq, AIR Worldwide reports

By Denny Jacob on November 14

A magnitude 6.5 earthquake shook the Central Valley of Costa Rica late on Sunday, Nov. 12, causing minor damage in the lightly populated Puntarenas region of the Pacific Coast, according to catastrophe modeling firm AIR Worldwide.

The event occurred at a depth of about 12 miles according to the  United States Geological Survey, and was followed by at least two aftershocks.  Read more >
South Korea earthquake leaves 1,500 homeless, dozens injured

By Associated Press on November 16

SEOUL, South Korea - A 5.4 magnitude earthquake that was South Korea's second-strongest in decades damaged infrastructure, injured dozens of people and left about 1,500 homeless, officials said Thursday.

No deaths have been reported since the quake rattled the southeastern coastal region around the port city of Pohang on Wednesday afternoon.

As of Thursday morning, 1,536 people had been forced to evacuate their homes and 57 people were injured, the Ministry of the Interior and Safety said in a statement.
More than 1,000 houses and dozens of other buildings and cars were damaged or destroyed, and cracks and other damage were found in military facilities, bridges, port facilities and water supply facilities. Media images showed crumbled walls piled on damaged cars, broken windows and cracks in buildings.  Read more >
The real science behind the unreal predictions of major earthquakes in 2018

By Sean Kaplan on November 21

Rebecca Bendick would like you not to panic.

The University of Montana geophysicist knows you may have read the articles warning about " swarms of devastating earthquakes" that will allegedly rock the planet next year thanks to a slowdown of the Earth's rotation. And she feels "very awful" if you've been alarmed. Those dire threats are based on Bendick's research into patterns that might predict earthquakes  - but claims of an impending "earthquake boom" are mostly sensationalism.

Here's what the science actually says.

There is no way to predict an individual earthquake. Earthquakes occur when potential energy stored  along cracks in the planet's crust gets released, sending seismic waves through the Earth. Since scientists know where those cracks exist, and how they are likely to convulse, they can develop forecasts of the general threat for an area. But the forces that contribute to this energy buildup and trigger its release are global and complex, and we still cannot sort out exactly how it might unfold.  Read more >
Earthquake hits Delaware, rattling windows as far as D.C.

By Joel Achenbach on November 30

Yes, that was an earthquake. It wasn't much of one. People conceivably have sneezed harder than the violence produced by Thursday afternoon's earthquake. But it was unusual, centered in the normally quiescent state of Delaware, and it could be felt as far as the nation's capital and its Virginia suburbs.

The tremor occurred at 4:47 p.m., centered about 6 miles northeast of Dover, Del., and about 5 miles deep. The U.S. Geological Survey gave varying estimates of the earthquake's magnitude, at one point rating it as high as a 5.1 but later  downgrading it to a 4.1 - a modest event that did not appear to cause any damage, much less fatalities. The Delaware Emergency Management Agency  told the Dover Post that there were no reports of damage or injuries.  Read more >

By Eric Klemmeti on November 30

Earthquakes are common across much of North America. The most famous might be the area along the  San Andreas fault in California, where the Pacific and North American plates are sliding side-by-side, generating earthquakes in the process. Even the interior of North America has some major earthquake zones, like the  New Madrid Seismic Zone that runs along the Mississippi River from Illinois to Arkansas. However, some parts of North America are suddenly seeing big jumps in earthquakes and it's in places that you might not expect, like the middle of Texas.

The question has become: is this a naturally-occurring process that is the consequence of the shaping of the continent or are these  new earthquakes being triggered by human activity , namely the pumping of waste-water from hydrofracture (a.k.a. "fracking") operations or excess water from oil/gas wells. A  new study by Maria Magnani and others  in Science Advances supports the idea that at least for one major area, humans must be the culprits and they offer some techniques to possibly identify whether spikes in earthquakes are human-induced or the product of geologic events.  Read more >

By Richard M. Allen on December 1

Since 1990, nearly one million people have died from the impacts of earthquakes. Reducing those impacts requires building a local seismic culture in which residents are aware of earthquake risks and value efforts to mitigate harm. Such efforts include earthquake early warning (EEW) systems that provide seconds to minutes notice of pending shaking. Recent events in Mexico provide an opportunity to assess performance and perception of an EEW system and highlight areas for further improvement. We have learned that EEW systems, even imperfect ones, can help people prepare for earthquakes and build local seismic culture, both beneficial in reducing earthquake-related losses.

Public EEW systems are deployed in Japan and Mexico and are being implemented elsewhere around the globe, including ShakeAlert in the United States. Mexico's EEW system, SASMEX, was built following the 1985 Michoac√°n earthquake in which more than 9500 people died. Seismic sensors covering much of the country provide alerts in select cites. In Mexico City, roughly 12,000 pole-mounted speakers can sound a siren to indicate that an earthquake is imminent. Alerts are also distributed by radio and television.  Read more >

On November 2, 2017, EERI hosted the Earthquake Resilience: Lessons from the 2016 Central Italy Earthquake Sequence Webinar as a part of its Learning from Earthquakes (LFE) program. A recording of the webinar presentations and PDFs of presentation slides are now available on the Central Italy Earthquakes Virtual Clearinghouse Website here

Webinar recordings include the following presentations:
  • Geographic and Temporal Distribution of Ground Motions and Damage by Paolo Zimmaro, UCLA/GEER
  • Retrofits and Retrofit Policy by Silvia Mazzoni, UC Berkeley
  • Case Studies of Critical Facilities by Carmine Galasso, University College London
  • Emergency Response and Recovery by Jay Wilson, Clackamas County Emergency Management
View the full webinar video playlist here

On November 14, 2017, EERI hosted the Mexico Earthquake Reconnaissance Briefing Webinar as a part of the Learning from Earthquakes (LFE) program. A recording of the webinar is now available on the Puebla, Mexico Earthquake Virtual Clearinghouse Website here.

The webinar included the following presentations:
  • Introduction by Lucy Arendt, St. Norbert College
  • Earthquake Overview and Response by Luciano Fernandez, UAM AZC
  • Geotechnical Impacts by Tara Hutchinson, UC San Diego/GEER
  • Earthquake Early Warning by Richard Allen, UC Berkeley
  • Structural Impacts by Luciano Fernandez, UAM AZC
  • Lifelines Impacts by Erica Fischer, Oregon State University
  • Reconnaissance Gaps and Needs by Gilberto Mosqueda, UC San Diego
For more information about the September 19, 2017 Mexico Earthquake, visit the Virtual Earthquake Clearinghouse Website here.

Thank you to our partners at EERI for providing content for this newsletter.

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