By Carl-Henry Geschwind

In 1906, after an earthquake burnt up a lot of San Francisco, major California officers and scientists defined the catastrophe as a one-time prevalence and guaranteed the general public that it had not anything to fret approximately. California Earthquakes explains how, through the years, this perspective replaced, and Californians got here to just accept earthquakes as an important probability, in addition to to appreciate how technological know-how and know-how might decrease this threat.Carl-Henry Geschwind tells the tale of the small workforce of scientists and engineers who—in rigidity with actual property speculators and different pro-growth forces, deepest and public—developed the clinical and political infrastructure essential to enforce higher earthquake expertise. via their political connections, those reformers succeeded in development a nation gear within which regulators might interact with scientists and engineers to lessen earthquake risks. Geschwind information the conflicts between scientists and engineers approximately how top to minimize those dangers, and he outlines the dramatic twentieth-century advances in our figuring out of earthquakes—their reasons and the way we will attempt to organize for them.Tracing the background of seismology and the increase of the regulatory nation and of environmental expertise, California Earthquakes tells how earthquake-hazard administration happened, why a few teams assisted and others fought it, and the way scientists and engineers contributed to shaping it.

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Extra info for California Earthquakes: Science, Risk, and the Politics of Hazard Mitigation

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The Reaction of Scientists: A Belated Call to Action Like California’s boosters and engineers, scientists reacted to San Francisco’s destruction by relying on previously established patterns of behavior. As they had done after the  bay area earthquake, they set out to investigate the quake, to determine the extent of damage it had produced, and to fix its epicenter and its cause. But in , the scientific resources available for such an investigation in central California were far more plentiful than they had been in .

This campaign was well-justified; fires posed a considerable threat to both lives and property in turn-of-the-century America. But as a result of their preoccupation with fire, engineers, like the boosters, did little to encourage earthquake-resistant construction in the rebuilding of San Francisco. The engineers’ campaign against fire hazards had developed in response to frequent urban conflagrations in the post–Civil War era. In October , a fire had swept through much of Chicago, burning more than three square miles, leaving about , people homeless, and causing nearly  million in damage.

A warehouse was in process of construction with brick external walls and interior columns, girders and floors of re-enforced concrete. ’’ 32 Advocates also cited a number of other examples of superior performance. ’’ At Stanford University, buildings constructed of reinforced concrete also fared much better than brick or stone buildings. 33 John B. ’’ 35 Using such evidence, advocates of reinforced concrete succeeded in having the ban on reinforced concrete construction in San Francisco lifted.

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