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Living with Earthquakes in California

Robert S. Yeats

6 × 9 inches. Maps.Glossary, Bibliography. Index. 416 pages.

2001. ISBN 978-0-87071-493-1. Paperback, $21.95.

Over the past century, California has moved from denying the hazards posed by earthquakes — they were bad for business — to adopting building codes and protective Legislation that are today the most advanced in the world. In Living with Earthquakes in California, Robert Yeats, a leading expert on earthquake geology, describes California's revolutionary efforts to grapple with the earthquake threat. His book is a general reader's guide to California earthquakes, combining current research with practical safety information.

Beginning with a brief introduction to the geological setting of earthquakes, Yeats leads readers through a lively and lucid narrative that

  • describes the major faults that threaten Northern and Southern California and Nevada,
  • explores topics ranging from earthquake forecasting and catastrophe insurance (the California Earthquake Authority is the largest residential insurer in the world) to the risks of tsunamis and soil liquefaction,
  • reviews the current level of earthquake preparedness and disaster response, including the role of government, scientists, and the public in creating awareness and policy,
  • suggests actions that citizens can take to protect their families and homes.

Living with Earthquakes provides a detailed account of California's violent geologic past and a concise history of the state's innovative approaches to earthquake awareness and preparation. It also serves as a how-to-manual for life in earthquake country. Most importantly, however, it's a call to action. Earthquakes cannot be prevented, but the California experience provides a model for how society can learn to live with earthquakes — and survive them.

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