Dangerous and Natural Energy: Earthquakes

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Patterns of earthquake distribution across the United States

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) interactive map shows that the entire Pacific coastline of the United States is highly prone to earthquakes (Hyndman & Hyndman, 2009). This runs from Washington, Oregon up to California and extends to the Eastern border of California. The convergent point of Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee and Arkansas states is also a high-risk area. Other high-risk areas include the South Carolina Coastline and the southern Coastline of Alaska.

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The risk intensity decreases as one moves away from the above-mentioned hotspots that are shaded red on the United States earthquake hazard map. The entire border stretch between Idaho and Wyoming is also a relatively high-risk area, and this goes up to the Southern border of Montana. Generally, the Western part of the United States is highly prone to earthquakes compared to other areas of the country.

The relative risk of my home area

I live in Indianapolis, the state of Indiana. The Southern tip of the state is shaded yellow, implying that it’s a relatively high-risk area. However, as you move towards the north, the shade changes to green then blue. The area covering Indianapolis city is shaded blue, indicating that it’s a relatively low-risk area.

Distribution of Earthquakes around the world

The latest earthquake map shows that earthquakes mostly occurred in continental areas bordering the Pacific Ocean, and the various Islands located inside the same ocean. The incidences stretched from Oceania, Asia, North America and South America. Some significant incidences were also witnessed in the Caribbean Islands. Some incidences were also witnessed in the European and Middle Eastern areas bordering the Mediterranean Sea. The most affected regions were the East Asian Islands, Oceania, Puerto Rico region and the lower side of the US West Coast.

Region and Magnitude of earthquake

Baja California, Mexico

Magnitude 4.0

The earthquake occurred on 10 June 2012

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If I would be willing to live in one of the red areas on the map

I will not be willing to live in any of the areas marked red. The areas marked red are high-risk areas that are prone to frequent episodes of immense earthquakes. Such earthquakes have the potential to cause massive destruction of life and property. Furthermore, such earthquakes can also precipitate cyclones and hurricanes that will result into more deaths and destruction.

Using the USGS resources for earthquake readiness

In the case I and my family are forced to relocate to a red area I will use the USGS resources to ensure that we are prepared for any earthquake occurrence. It’s important to note that a red area will be prone to high magnitude earthquakes that can cause massive destruction. The specific areas that need to be addressed will include:

Conducting exercises to ensure that each and every member of the family is aware of what to do in case of an earthquake (Wald, 2011). For instance, we will establish a management location where we can reunite in the event of earthquake occurrence, keep emergency supplies put on shoes that are comfortable, in case we are required to escape on foot (Wang, Zang, Shen, Zhang, & Zhao, 2000).

Identifying the exact location of power, gas and water shutoffs and how to switch them off so as to reduce the risk associated with them in the event of an earthquake (Hyndman & Hyndman, 2009). I will also make sure that older members of the family have knowledge on how to switch off the utilities.

Additionally, I will furnish myself with knowledge on required emergency services. For instance, I will locate the nearest fire and police stations, medical facilities, and ensure that I and other older members of the family get first aid and CPR training (Wald, 2011).

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The power of science to control and predict earthquakes

The list of earthquakes provided by USGS indicates that earthquakes have caused the deaths of millions of people for just a few centuries. One of the most deadly, being the Haiti Earthquake that happened in 2010 killing more than 300,000 people (Wald, 2011). This indicates that science is very limited when it comes to the prediction of earthquakes.

The time frame between the detection of waves and the actual occurrence of an earthquake is not sufficient to ensure the implementation of safety/control mechanisms. Science has no power to control the occurrence of earthquakes as they are massive natural processes that originate from deep within the earth (Wald, 2011).

Seismological tools

The tools that are used for detecting and recording earth vibrations are seismometers and seismographs respectively (Hyndman & Hyndman, 2009). The tools were developed due to the need to measure the magnitude of earthquakes and map out the risk associated with different regions depending on their frequently registered scores.

How geological energy compares to biological energy and how they differ

Geological energy compares to biological energy in the sense that they are both produced by natural processes. They differ in their mode of action and magnitude.


Hyndman, D., & Hyndman, D. (2009). Earthquakes and their causes. Brooks: Cengage learning.

Wald, L. (2011). The Science of Earthquakes. Web.

Wang, G., Zang, S., Shen, Z., Zhang, H., & Zhao, C. (2000). Longitudinal Study of Earthquake-Related PTSD. Am J Psychiatry , 157 (8): 1260–1266.

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