Commentaries

Slipping Towards a Better Understanding of How Earthquakes are Generated

Earthquakes continue to cause tremendous damage and casualties around the world. Contrary to other geophysical hazards, such as storms and floods, seismic hazards still elude short-term prediction. This is due, on the one hand, to our limited understanding of how rocks deform and break; and on the other hand, by the difficulty of probing Earth's interior to determine the physical parameters of a given fault.

2017 in Review

Dear EOS Community,

As the year comes to a close, I’d like to thank you for your continued interest and support in the research, initiatives and programs being conducted here at the Earth Observatory. Over the past year, your increased engagement has helped us to better understand your interests in geohazard research and provide content to meet them. From publications to awards and new blog series, here is a look back on a few highlights from 2017.

Communicating Climate Change

Climate change is a complex issue, which is challenging to communicate. Yet our understanding of it is crucial for the future of our world. Sonali Manimaran, a student at the Asian School of the Environment, explains the need for climate change communication that goes beyond facts and figures in order to more fully engage the public.

Reducing Natural Disaster Risk Across Asia

Asia and the Pacific are most at risk from natural disasters, according to a report from the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction. More than 90 million people worldwide were affected by natural disasters in 2015. Asia is the world’s most disaster-prone continent, with 152 out of the 346 reported disasters worldwide. This isn’t surprising, given that it is both geologically active and the most populous region on Earth. In the last few decades, earthquakes, tsunamis, and typhoons were among the deadliest natural hazards in the world. In 2015, earthquakes topped the list; the magnitude-7.8 Nepal earthquake in April claimed more than 8,000 lives, causing widespread damage in Gorkha and its surrounding areas. Earlier this year, the earthquake in Taiwan saw more than a hundred casualties, almost all from a shoddily constructed apartment building that collapsed in the quake.

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