Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

How can we help reduce the death toll from destructive earthquakes? University of Adelaide earthquake physics expert Professor Sandy Steacy says help may come from assessing short-term changes in quake risk.

Professor Steacy, new Head of the School of Physical Sciences, will discuss ‘operational earthquake forecasting’ at a free public lecture at the University of Adelaide on Tuesday 26 May.

“As recent events in Nepal have dramatically shown, earthquakes are one of the most deadly and destructive of all natural hazards,” says Professor Steacy.

“In the past 15 years alone, they have caused more than 650,000 deaths and property damage of more than US$300 billion; such losses are on the rise with population shifts into megacities.

“Prediction was once thought to be the ultimate goal of earthquake science, the idea being to evacuate vulnerable populations in advance of large events. However, it’s now widely recognised in the earthquake community that prediction is impossible and hence other strategies to reduce risk must be found.

“One long-term solution is clearly engineering, building structures that won’t kill people in earthquakes, but this can be prohibitively expensive in developing countries.”

At her inaugural lecture, Professor Sandy Steacy will describe the science behind dramatic changes in the likelihood of a near future damaging earthquake, and she will discuss the challenges in communicating such changes to the public and to decision makers.

WHAT:         Reducing earthquake risk: a Research Tuesdays Inaugural Lecture
WHERE:      The Braggs lecture theatre, North Terrace campus, University of Adelaide
WHEN:         5.30–6.30pm, Tuesday 26 May 2015
COST:          Free and all welcome – but registration is essential

The University of Adelaide’s Research Tuesdays Inaugural Lectures are held to mark major milestones in our researchers’ careers, such as achieving the rank of Professor, or being appointed to a Chair or other Professorship.

Professor Sandy Steacy is the Head of the School of Physical Sciences at the University of Adelaide; she was previously Professor of Earthquake Physics at the University of Ulster. Professor Steacy was a member of the expert elicitation panel on future seismic hazard in the Canterbury region whose work informed the revised building codes in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Media Contact:

Professor Sandy Steacy
Head, School of Physical Sciences
The University of Adelaide
Phone: +61 8 8313 4270

Robyn Mills
Media and Communications Officer
The University of Adelaide
Phone: +61 8 8313 6341
Mobile: +61 (0)410 689 084
[email protected]

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Reducing earthquake risk free public lecture



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