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Initial Steps for Integrated Earthquake Scenario Development

Leads: Dr. Yolanda Lin, Dr. Elizabeth Vanacore, Dr. Surya Pacchai, and Dr. Kristine Pankow

Earthquake scenarios are important tools for anticipating the potential impacts from specific earthquakes. Scenarios have been used within emergency management communities for response and recovery exercises and as tools to identify potential impacts to built structures and the overall risk in communities. While earthquake scenarios have been utilized within specific user groups for many years, communicating the importance and impact of the scenarios outside of these specific groups to the wider community is less-well-developed.


This pilot project addresses the research question: how to generate integrated earthquake scenarios? By integrated, we mean how we combine the physical science observations related to fault source, wavefield propagation and amplification, secondary hazards like liquefaction, rockfall with the impact to the built environment, and societal impacts within the framework of collective impact. How do we use these scenarios to better meet the needs of a wider community? To start addressing this question, we need to identify the contributions to response, recovery, and resiliency that communities (emergency managers, engineers and municipal, and local stakeholders) find valuable. We also must learn how to best communicate this information to make a significant impact. 


We propose three tasks as part of this pilot project: (1) Develop a questionnaire to determine what consequences of the scenario matter to impacted communities  (2) Measure the average shear velocity in the upper 30 m (Vs30) in southwest Puerto Rico and (3) Identify and compare strategies for engaging communities to participate in Vs30 data collection and scenario development. All tasks relate directly to improved scenarios. Tasks one and three address  the science of scenario development. Task two provides data necessary for specific scenarios. All three tasks relate directly to Collective Impact–tasks one and three have a community focus and task two provides for shared knowledge for students through the collaboration.

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