Unlike some natural disasters that we can depend on arriving at our doorstep every year—hurricanes, tornados, fires—earthquakes can be out of sight and out of mind because of their relative infrequency. But when the Big One strikes, it could be a real catastrophe for the Pacific Northwest coast, deeply disrupting the lives and economies throughout the region.

John Vidale, professor of Earth and Space Sciences and chief seismologist for the State of Washington, wants people to be aware of the threats. He doesn’t want to scare people; rather Vidale wants people to be as prepared as possible for when disaster strikes. He not only studies the kinds of earthquakes we can expect in our region, but applies that knowledge so that emergency managers, city planners, engineers, and others can be more resilient in the face of extreme shaking.

Vidale’s sold-out lecture Tuesday, November 10 at Kane Hall, uncovered the science and data behind earthquakes and earthquake preparedness, outlined some misconceptions about June’s high-profile New Yorker article, and revealed the origins of the Seattle Seahawks Beast Quake. The lecture was part of the Surviving Disaster: Natural Hazards & Resilient Communities series from the UW College of the Environment, UW Alumni Association, and UW Graduate School.

Video of the lecture is now available on YouTube:

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