earthquake prediction response and options for earthquake prediction, global and national earthquake

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  • EARTHQUAKE PREDICTION RESPONSE AND

    OPTIONS FOR PUBLIC POLICY

    Dennis S. Mileti Colorado State University

    Janice R. Hutton Woodward-Clyde Consultants

    John H. Sorensen University of Hawaii

    Program on Technology, Environment and Man Monograph #31

    Institute of Behavioral Science University of Colorado

    1981

  • This work rests partially on some of the data

    gathered as part of National Science Foundation

    Grant NSF-RANN-AEN 7442079 to the University of

    Colorado, for which J. Eugene Haas and Dennis

    S. Mileti were co-principal investigators. Most

    of the work to produce this volume was done after

    completion of that grant, and the Foundation is in no

    way responsible for the ideas, findings or conclusions herein drawn.

    Copyright ~ 1981

    by the

    University of Colorado,

    Institute of Behavioral Science NTIS Is authorized to reproduce and sell this report. Permission lor lurther reproduction must be obtained Irom the copyright owner.

    Library of Congress

    Catalog Card No.

    81-82940

  • PREFACE

    The benefits promised by long or short-term earthquake prediction

    technology are most likely to accrue only if careful efforts are made

    by scientists and public and private decision makers to develop and

    implement the methods and policies needed to prepare society for

    response to possible earthquake predictions. This work has been written

    to assist in that effort, and to provide some indications of how people,

    organizations and society will respond to scientifically credible earth-

    quake predictions. It is our intention to review the range of

    possible decisions and behavior elicited by an earthquake prediction, to

    examine the causes for those decisions and behavior, and to discuss

    options for changes in policy which promise to maximize the benefits of

    prediction while minimizing its potential social and economic costs.

    In the first chapter we review briefly the history and status of

    earthquake prediction, global and national earthquake vulnerability, the

    range of adjustments to the earthquake hazard, the social benefits and

    possible negative impacts (costs) of prediction, and some general arenas

    of concern for public policy. Chapter II is a discussion of some social

    responses to a few actual earthquake predictions and a hypothetical pre-

    diction scenario. Chapter III is a review of the problems of method we

    faced and which accompany social science research into questions about

    future human behavior. The chapter also documents the different kinds of

    data and studies on which this work and its conclusions are based. In

    Chapter IV our findings are presented; earthquake prediction and warning

    are cast in a model similar to other natural hazard warning systems, and

    an earthquake prediction-warning system is divided into three constituent

    elements: (1) giving information, (2) interpreting information, and

    (3) responding to information. In the chapter we present conclusions

    about people and organized social collectives with reference to each of iii

  • the three aforementioned elements of an earthquake prediction-warning

    system. Chapter V, based on the conclusions in Chapter IV, suggests some

    issues and options for public and private policy and action.

    This work gives persons in public and private positions some tenta-

    tive answers to questions about social response to earthquake prediction,

    and, on that basis, proposes some possible and desirable changes in

    policy. We write this report for people who are able to effect change

    now and do things that will enhance the future use of earthquake predic-

    tion technology. Our audience includes local, regional, and especially

    state and federal policy and decision makers. Our contributions lie in

    identifying the range of decisions that a variety of people and public

    and private decision makers will be faced with during an earthquake

    prediction.

    To some, this work may appear more technical than is necessary to

    get our point across. To others, including academics and scientists,

    this work will appear less technical than typical research accounts.

    We hope that this mid-ground will make this work useful to both scientists

    and agents of change.

    The Authors

    December, 1980

    iv

  • ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

    Particular encouragement to write this work was given to us by

    William Anderson of the National Science Foundation, and Gilbert F.

    White of the Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado.

    We appreciate their moral support and we thank them for helpful review

    comments on several earlier versions of the text.

    We also extend our thanks to Kevin Jones and Craig Piernot, both

    graduate research assistants at Colorado State University, for assem-

    bling and processing much of the data. Typing for earlier versions was

    provided at the Department of Sociology, Colorado State University; we

    thank Kathy Brown, Helain Fox, Mary Timmer and Carmen Pando for giving

    freely of their skills and time to help us assemble this and earlier ver-

    sions of the manuscript. We are indebted to Sarah Nathe, a long-time

    friend and colleague, for her assistance in editing the manuscript. We

    are especially grateful to Roy Popkin of the American Red Cross, and to

    Robert E. Wallace of the USGS, for their sincere and helpful reviews of

    our work.

    v

  • TABLE OF CONTENTS

    LIST OF TABLES .

    LIST OF FIGURES

    Chapter

    1. INTRODUCTION...................... .. Earthquake Prediction and Prediction Research

    History and status of earthquake prediction World experience with predictions Earthquake prediction research in the United States

    Earthquake Vulnerability and Human Adjustments Global earthquake vulnerability National earthquake vulnerability Causes of earthquakes Range of human adjustments Interaction of adjustments t·1icrozonation

    Earthquake Prediction Issues and Concerns Social utility of earthquake prediction Possible negative consequences Generic questions for public policy

    Changes in the Time Parameters of Predictions

    PAGE

    vi i i

    ix

    II.

    III.

    IV.

    EARTHQUAKE PREDICTIONS: EXPERIENCED AND IMAGINED The Palmdale Bulge The Los Angeles Prediction The Haicheng Prediction The Japanese Prediction Psychic Predictions Prediction of San Fernando, 1971 The Hypothetical Prediction Scenario

    Preface to the hypothetical prediction The scenario-time phase one The scenario-time phase two The scenario-time phase three The scenario-time phase four

    Summary

    ~1ETHODS OF STUDYING Hut1AN RESPONSE TO EARTHQUAKE PREDICTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ...

    The Problems Minimizing the Problems Data Sources Techniques of Analysis

    PREDICTION-WARNING DISSEMINATION AND RESPONSE Earthquake Prediction and Warning An Integrated Prediction-Warning System

    System functions System links

    vi

    26

    62

    73

  • v.

    TABLE OF CONTENTS (continued)

    The Dissemination Function: Giving Information Warning credibility \~arning equity

    The Dissemination-Response Link: Interpreting Information

    Identifying risks Measuring the risk Information dissemination Information utilization

    Responses Decision choices and prediction response Explanation of Response Goal-related response and negative secondary effects

    Future Predictions and Likely Response Prediction parameters Possible future predictions Parameter variation and human response

    ISSUES AND OPTIONS FOR PUBLIC ACTION Delegation of Responsibility

    USGS responsibility Other agency responsibility

    Insurance Resources Information

    Understanding prediction technology Understanding earthquake risk Equity in information access

    PAGE

    126

    APPENDIX I:

    REFERENCES .

    Scenario Methods

    vii

    141

    149

  • LIST OF TABLES

    Information Dissemination ...

    The Effects of Image of Damage on Earthquake Prediction Decisions ..... . .....

    A Summary of Prediction Characteristics

    A Matrix of Data on Prediction Response

    Media Coverage of an Earthquake Prediction

    Response Strategies . . . . . .

    5

    15

    50

    60

    66

    90

    91

    96

    101

    PAGE

    A Summary of SignificantResponse in Wilmington: Relationships .....

    Successful Predictions of Potentially Destructive Earthquakes . . . . . . . . .

    Adjustments to the Earthquake Hazard1-2

    I1-1

    II-2

    II 1-1

    IV-1

    IV-2

    IV-3

    IV-4

    TABLE

    1-1

    IV-5

    IV-6

    The Effects of Exposure to Risk (Insurance) on Earthquake Prediction Decisions .

    The Effects of Exposure to Risk (Other Adjustments and Economic and Physical Indicators) on Earth- quake Prediction Decisions .

    106

    108

    IV-7 The Effects of Access to Information on Earthquake Prediction Decisions . 111

    IV-8

    IV-9

    The Effects of Commitment to Target Area (Economic or Operational Dependency) on Earthquake Predi cti on Deci sions . . . . .

    The Effects of Resourc

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