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Living with earthquakes in the developing world

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Many more people die in moderate-sized earthquakes in continental interiors than in massive earthquakes on the ocean margins, such as in Japan and Chile in recent years. This is partly because geological circumstances within the continents are different, and more challenging, than those on oceanic plate boundaries.

But it is also because the link between the appropriate geological knowledge and those who need to take account of it, such as planners, architects and politicians, is much more robust in developed than non-developed countries. Corruption and wealth also play a big role in resilience to earthquakes. A particularly significant factor is that the geological circumstances on continents concentrate populations into megacities in hazardous locations, making them especially vulnerable.

This seminar will illustrate how these processes have led to contrasting experiences in the modern world, in which earthquakes in rich developed countries are (relatively) stories about money, whereas in poor undeveloped or corrupt countries they involve (again relatively) a massive loss of life.


These seminars bring together a diverse range of individuals from the humanities as well as social and natural sciences to discuss the public policy implications of their work and research.

They will take place on Tuesdays between 1-2pm, throughout the year. Venue to be confirmed.

Each talk will last 25-30 minutes and will be followed by open discussion.

To register for this event, please follow the link here.

This talk is part of the Cambridge Public Policy Seminar Series series.

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