Assessment of Research on Natural Hazards



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MIT Press


This is a summary report on a research project that has been ongoing at the University of Colorado for the past several years. The project has generated a number of individual reports covering specific geophysical hazards, which have been distilled and brought together in a uniform and coherent manner in the present volume. It is hoped that the work will catalyze further research (and debate) in this important area. To this end, it has been written to communicate concisely to specialists in the various subjects covered. But as a statement on a vital aspect of public policy, it has also been designed to inform and guide administrators at the local, state, and federal levels, and others concerned with disaster prediction, mitigation or prevention, and relief planning. The book covers the following kinds of natural hazards: frost-lightning-hail-urban snow-windstorm-hurricane-tornado-coastal erosion-landslide-avalanche-earthquake-flood-tsunami-volcano eruption-drought-and problems common to all these. the book not only examines actual disasters from the past but also presents methods of simulating possible disasters. Thus, one of its chapters simulates events that could occur in the future: a hurricane in Miami, an earthquake in San Francisco, a flood in Boulder, Colorado. Among the questions for which answers are sought are these: How does the nation respond to extreme geophysical events? What are acceptable levels of risk? What affects the choice of adjustments made after these events? How could the current situation be improved? To what extent could research stimulate such improvements? How do research findings get applied? How can research payoff be estimated? How serviceable are post-audits? Longitudinal observations? Clearinghouse services? Obviously, none of these questions are answered once and for all. The book's most important contribution is that it subjects the full range of natural hazards to the same searching questions and extracts intriguing answers in response.


487 pages


geophysical hazards, natural disasters