Geomagnetism geomagnetic reversal

severity of such destructive natural events reduces their consequences significantly. Communities can use this information to plan evacuations, strengthen buildings, and make detailed plans of what needs to be done in natural disasters to such a degree that their costs have been greatly reduced. Increased government responsibility accompanies this greater understanding. Formerly society hardly looked to government for aid in natural disasters. For instance, nearly 10,000 people perished in a hurricane that hit Galveston, Texas, on September 8, 1900, yet since there were no warning systems in place, no one was at blame. In 2001 two feet (0.6 m) of rain with consequent severe flooding hit the same area, and nobody perished, but billions of dollars of insurance claims were filed. When Hurricane Ike hit Galveston in 2008, most people evacuated and the loss of life was minimal.

Public perception of natural hazards and disasters has changed with the development of warning and protection systems, and few disasters occur without blame being assigned to public officials, engineers, or planners. Extensive warning systems, building codes, and increased understanding have certainly prevented the loss of thousands of lives, yet they also have given society a false sense of security. When an earthquake or other disaster strikes, people expect their homes to be safe, yet they were built to withstand only a certain level of shaking. When a natural geological hazard exceeds the expected level, a natural disaster with great destruction may result, and people often blame the government for not anticipating the event or preventing the destruction. However, planning and construction efforts are designed to meet only certain force levels for earthquakes and other hazards; planning for the rare stronger events would be exorbitantly expensive.

Geologic hazards can be extremely costly in terms of price and human casualties. With growing population and wealth, the cost of natural disasters has grown as well. The amount of property damage measured in dollars has doubled or tripled every decade, with individual disasters sometimes costing tens of billions of dollars. A 2000 report to the Congressional Natural Hazards Caucus estimated the costs of some recent disasters: Hurricane Andrew in 1992 cost $23 billion, the 1993 Midwest floods cost $21 billion, and the 1994 Northridge earthquake cost $45 billion. Recovery from Hurricane Katrina cost a staggering $80-200 billion, with some estimates exceeding $1 trillion. In contrast, the entire first Persian Gulf War cost the United States and its allies $65 billion. That the costs of natural geologic hazards are now similar to the costs of warfare demonstrates the importance of understanding their causes and potential effects.

See also earthquakes; energy in the Earth system; hurricanes; island arcs, historical eruptions; mass wasting; plate tectonics; volcano.

Disaster Survival Guides Collection

Disaster Survival Guides Collection

This is a set of 3 guides all about surviving disasters. Within this set you will learn the following subjects: Earthquakes, Evacuations, Survivor Family and Tsunami.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment