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15.3.1. Seismic risk

Seismic risk

The main risks that we can suffer if we are in a place where an earthquake occurs are:

  • Collapse of buildings if they are not earthquake resistant.
  • Landslides that can cause unstable slopes and slopes to collapse.
  • Diversion channels of rivers.
  • Damage to infrastructures. In addition to buildings, water pipes, roads, dams, nuclear power plants, etc., can be affected and cause even more damage than the earthquake itself.
  • They can cause a tsunami that affects coastal cities.

Prediction measures

Although it is impossible to predict when an earthquake will occur, we can know where it is most likely to occur. Some of the predictive measures are:

  • Location of active faults that could produce the earthquake.
  • Know the historical data of previous earthquakes. Knowing the return time can help prevention.
  • Preparation of risk maps to know what and where certain facilities can be built.
  • Monitoring of seismic precursors. They are phenomena that occur before the earthquake occurs. Some seismic precursors are:
    • Strange behavior of some animals.
    • Increase in the number of local microseisms.
    • Decrease in the speed of propagation of P waves.
    • Increase in the amount of Radon emission.
    • Deformations that raise the ground.
    • Changes in electrical conductivity and magnetic field in the area.

Prevention measures

Some preventive measures are:

  • Preparation of risk maps for proper spatial planning and avoiding exposure in high-risk areas.
  • Establish civil protection measures to inform, alert and evacuate the population if necessary.
  • Construction of earthquake resistant buildings. Some of the measures of the earthquake resistance standard are:
    • Leave wide spaces between buildings, to avoid overcrowding of the population and the collision of buildings during the earthquake.
    • Constructions with non-rigid foundations so that they can absorb vibrations from the ground and allow the building to oscillate.
    • The buildings should modify the terrain as little as possible.


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