PSN-L Email List Message

Subject: Re: Representative stations?
From: Brett Nordgren brett3nt@.............
Date: Wed, 16 Mar 2011 18:15:59 -0400


Sorry that I didn't address your main question, but It was so obvious 
to me that I was totally unqualified to make such a decision that I 
just passed up the opportunity without thinking any more about it.

Seismic stations don't exist in isolation, they are being used to 
study specific issues.  For example, I'm sure some stations are being 
used to study the Cascadia fault to estimate how likely and how large 
its next great quake/tsunami will be on the Pacific coast.  The 
results of such studies guide planners in determining how much to 
spend on constructing buildings, roads and power plants to survive 
whatever is likely to happen, and enormous amounts of money are at 
stake.  How much would it have been worth for Japan to have predicted 
years ago that the southern Japan Trench was capable of generating an 
8.9 with associated tsunami rather than the 7+ that I think they may 
have been planning for?

Should we have instruments monitoring the magma chamber under 
Yellowstone?  A mega-volcano eruption might be unlikely to occur in 
ten thousand lifetimes, but wouldn't it be wise to be aware if 
something is changing there?

Should we be studying the New Madrid fault system to suggest whether 
building codes (and costs) in Memphis should be designed to handle a 
large quake that repeats every couple of hundred years, or instead, 
one that was a much more rare event?

There are huge amounts of money involved either in unneeded 
earthquake preparedness or in destruction due to unpreparedness and 
the basis for deciding how much to spend on preparation comes partly 
from data collected by seismic stations.  If you want to suggest 
which programs to defer or degrade, be my guest, but those are 
decisions I would never want to have to make.

Best regards,

At 12:42 PM 3/16/2011, you wrote:
>Cheers Brett,
>It's slightly frustrating that you're avoiding all my direct
>questions, but I'm starting to get the picture from your replies ;-)
>All the best,


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