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What Can Be Done About the Faults and Earthquakes?

Even though people cannot stop earthquakes from happening, they can learn to live with the problems caused by earthquakes. Three major lines of defense against earthquake hazards are being developed. Buildings in earthquake-prone areas should be designed and constructed to resist earthquake shaking. Building codes that require attention to earthquake shaking have been improving in recent decades and constitute a first line of defense. In some cities, programs are underway to strengthen or tear down older buildings most likely to collapse during earthquakes. A second line of defense involves the selective use of land to minimize the effects of hazardous ground. High- occupancy or critical structures, for example, should not be placed astride the San Andreas fault or on landslide-prone areas. The third line of defense will be the accurate prediction of earthquakes. When such prediction becomes possible, it will permit timely evacuation of the most hazardous buildings. A major program aimed at learning how to predict earthquakes and to assess and minimize their hazards was initiated following the Earthquake Hazards Reduction Act of 1977 and is being carried out by the U.S. Geological Survey, other Federal Agencies, universities, and private groups.

USGS scientists use laser beam
USGS survey team using a laser beam geodolite to monitor motion between fixed points on either side of the San Andreas fault. Aircraft gathers information on atmospheric conditions between geodolite and target several kilometers away.
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Page Last Modified: Wednesday, November 30, 2016, 12:12:25 PM