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Northridge Quake Damage The earthquake hazard poses the most serious intermediate term risk to the health, safety, and economic viability of many parts of the United States and throughout the world. Recent earthquakes demonstrated the risks to modern industrial societies from such cataclysmic events, affecting everything from massive loss of life, infrastructure damage, and financial instability. Much larger earthquakes can be expected to occur adjacent to many metropolitan regions in the United States.


1. The Northridge earthquake (1994) was a modest (magnitude 6.7) event which caused 57 deaths, over $20 billion of damage, and created major disruption of the Los Angeles area infrastructure.

2. The Kobe, Japan earthquake was another modest 6.9 magnitude event that same year which caused 5,480 deaths, over 150 billion dollars of damage and a major disruption of Japan's economy with global impacts.

Expected Accomplishments:

  • Characterize spatio-temporal variability of motions of the Earth's surface globally
  • Understand fault system interactions and stress transfer physics
  • Model and predict the behaviors of earthquake systems

Practical Benefit to Society:

  • Identify and validate possible local and regional precursors to earthquakes
  • Refine global maps of natural hazards to support mitigation strategies
  • Enable rapid response to seismic disasters worldwide

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