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Fact Sheet 2007-3037

Fact Sheet 2007-3037

Increasing the Resilience to Natural Hazards in Southern California

Southern California is at great risk for extreme catastrophic losses owing to numerous natural hazards, such as earthquakes, wildfires, floods, tsunamis, landslides and coastal changes, that occur in this area (fig. 1). Expected losses from these hazards are estimated to exceed $3 billion per year in the eight counties of southern California.

In southern California

figure 1

Figure 1. Geographical extent and overlap of natural hazards in southern California.

Figure 2

Natural gas pipeline broken as a result of the 1994 Northridge earthquake in southern California.

To accomplish the objectives of the Multi-Hazard Demonstration Project, the USGS will

The Multi-Hazards Demonstration Project (MHDP), initiated by the U.S. Geological Survey in 2007, brings together multiple disciplines and partners to help communities in southern California reduce death and destruction from natural hazards. To help increase the resilience of communities to future natural hazards, the project combines the knowledge of geology, water resources, geography, and biology with sound economic, engineering, social science and geospatial information capabilities to

figure 3

2003 Cedar Fire, San Diego County, southern California. About 280,000-acres burned.

Natural-hazard information is useful to community decision makers in preparing risk-reduction strategies. To provide the best scientific information on natural hazards, the USGS will carry out research to increase the understanding of the framework of hazard possibilities, vulnerable environments, community response, and associated risk-reduction options. The vulnerable environment is in part created by humans, but natural elements such as the soils, geology, hydrology and ecology also make an environment vulnerable. The goal of the USGS activities is to provide an understanding of the relationships between human actions and environmental vulnerabilities to aid in making informed decisions about possible risk-reduction activities.

Figure 4

The San Fernando earthquake of 1971 collapsed freeway overpasses in southern California.

Figure 5

Landslide at Laguna Beach, California, June 2005. The landslide occurred after record heavy rainfall in southern California in the preceding months. It occurred next to the 1978 Bluebird Canyon landslide.

Dr. Lucile Jones
    U.S. Geological Survey
    Multi-Hazards Demonstration Project,
    Chief Scientist
    525 South Wilson Avenue
    Pasadena, CA 91106
Dale A. Cox
    U.S. Geological Survey
    Multi-Hazards Demonstration Project,
    Project Manager
    6000 J Street, Modoc Hall
    Sacramento, CA 95819

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