Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A new method accounts for social factors when assessing the seismic risk of a city

02.07.2012
Seismic risk not only depends on the magnitude of the tremor itself but also on the resistance of buildings and the social characteristics of its population. A team of Spanish scientists have presented a new method for calculating seismic risk incorporating aspects like social fragility and the chances of collective recovery.

"When faced with the possibility of an earthquake, up until now the physical risk of the city has only ever been evaluated. This, in other words, means damage to buildings and infrastructures taking into consideration the amount of people inside," as explained to SINC by Liliana Carreño, researcher at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC). Her team proposes a new method of carrying out an overall assessment of the seismic risk of an urban area, taking into account the social strengths and weakness and the city's governance.

The system created by Carreño and her team considers values such as "crime rates, whether there are marginalised areas, the number of hospital beds, training of hospital staff, etc, which all constitute factors of fragility and social capacity," explain the researchers. "This methodology greatly improves on our ability to assess future losses because it takes into account the social condition of the exposed population, which was previously treated as a mere number," states Carreño.

Published in the Bulletin of Earthquake Engineering, the new approach has another added value: it uses a technique based on 'fuzzy logic theory' which allows for the use of qualitative information obtained from expert opinion when the necessary numerical information is lacking.

Translating Opinions to Numbers

"The methods for making a complete risk calculation in a given urban area require great quantities of information that is not always available" highlights the researcher. According to Carreño, seismic risk specialists have always faced complex problems concerning imprecise information. "We can now translate linguistic variables like a lot, a few, slight, severe, scarce and enough into mathematic formalism for their subsequent measurement," outlines the scientist.

In order to verify the method's validity, Carreño and her team applied it to the cities of Barcelona and Bogotá (Colombia). She adds that "the Catalan city is a good model since its seismic risk has been subject to study for more than 20 year." Its results confirmed expected risk levels: medium-high for Bogotá and medium-low for Barcelona.

As Carreño concludes, "Barcelona's assessment was carried out with the availability of sound information. But, the most important aspect of this model is that it is especially useful when studying an urban space that does not have such an advantage and where information is lacking."

Reference: Carreño M.L.; Cardona O.D.; Barbat A.H. "New methodology for urban seismic risk assessment from a holistic perspective" Bull Earthquake Eng 10:547-565. 2012. DOI 10.1007/s10518-011-9302-2

SINC | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.agenciasinc.es

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht NASA sees quick development of Hurricane Dora
27.06.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht Collapse of the European ice sheet caused chaos
27.06.2017 | CAGE - Center for Arctic Gas Hydrate, Climate and Environment

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Touch Displays WAY-AX and WAY-DX by WayCon

27.06.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Drones that drive

27.06.2017 | Information Technology

Ultra-compact phase modulators based on graphene plasmons

27.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>