Initial public response to the Parkfield earthquake prediction

Citation
Initial public response to the Parkfield earthquake prediction

Material Information

Title:
Initial public response to the Parkfield earthquake prediction
Series Title:
Quick response research report ;
Creator:
Mileti, Dennis S
Hutton, Janice R
University of Colorado, Boulder -- Natural Hazards Research and Applications Information Center
Place of Publication:
Boulder, Colo
Publisher:
Natural Hazards Research and Applications Information Center, University of Colorado
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
ii, 7, [4] p. : ; 28 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Earthquake prediction -- Social aspects -- California -- Parkfield ( lcsh )
Earthquakes -- California -- Parkfield ( lcsh )
Earthquakes -- Psychological aspects -- California -- Parkfield ( lcsh )
Emergency management -- California -- Parkfield ( lcsh )
Genre:
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent) ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Statement of Responsibility:
Dennis Mileti, Janice Hutton.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
001983061 ( ALEPH )
287297582 ( OCLC )
F57-00011 ( USFLDC DOI )
f57.11 ( USFLDC Handle )

USFLDC Membership

Aggregations:
Added automatically
Natural Hazards Center Collection

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Book

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Initial public response to the Parkfield earthquake prediction
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1986.
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NaturalHazardsResearchandApplicationsInformationCenterCampusBox482UniversityofColoradoBoulder,Colorado80309INITIALPUBLICRESPONSETOTHEPARKFIELDEARTHQUAKEPREDICTIONDennisMiletiJanice Hutton1986QuickResponseResearch Report#16. he Natural Hazards This publication Of,tformation Center's ongoing &ApplicatIOns n. Research R rch Report Senes. .R ponse esea QUickesI rado.edu/hazards http://WWW.co 0InstituteofBehavioralScience#6 (303)492

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTSWewishtoexpressourgratitudetotheNaturalHazardsResearchApplicationsandInformationCenter.andparticularlytoWilliamRiebsame.andSusanTubbersingoftheCenter.forprovidinguswiththefundsneededtoperformthis" quick-responsse"research.NeithertheynortheCenter.however.areresponsibleforanyoftheanalyses.findingsorconclusionsmadeinthisreport.

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TABLEOFCONTENTSACKNOWLEDGEMENTS.TABLEOFCONTENTSiiiA.TheEarthquakePrediction.1B.C.PurposeandMethod.........FindingsandConclusions..1.EarthquakeCulture2.EarthquakeOwnership.3.ResearchasaPrediction1 2467APPENDIXA.ii9

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INITIALPUBLIC RESPONSETOTHE5 APRIL1985PARKFIELDEARTHQUAKEPREDICTIONA.TheEarthquakePredictionThe5April1985Parkfieldearthquakepredictionwasauniqueevent.ScientistshadcollecteddatathatledthemtoconcludethattheycouldpredictthenextParkfieldearthquakeandspeaktothefourelementsofanearthquakepredi.ction:time,place,magnitudeandprobability.ThebasisforthispredictionwaspresentedtotheNationalEarthquakePredictionEvaluationCouncil(NEPEC)on November 16,1984.Thiscouncilreviewssuchpredictionsandevaluatestheirscientificmerit.Additionally,on February 13,1985theCaliforniaEarthquakePredictionEvaluationCouncil(CEPEC)mettoevaluatetheprediction.Bothcouncilsjudgedthescientificmeritsofthepredictiontobesound,andon 5 Apr:i.11985theU.S.GeologicalSurvey(USGS)issuedapublicstatementpredictingthenextearthquakeinParkfield,.California.Thisprediction(seeAppendixA)constitutedascientificallycredibleearthquakeprediction.B.PurposeandMethodThepurposeofthisresearchwastocatalogueinitialimpactsofthe5April1985Parkfieldearthquakepredictiononthemembersofthepublicin-and-aroundtheareaofParkfield. We soughttogatherinformationonthistopicbydoingfieldworkandinterviewsassoonafterthepublicannouncementofthepredictionaswaspossible,butnotsoimmediatelythatpeoplewouldnothavehadalittletimetothinkabouttheprediction.Webeganourfieldinterviewingapproximately2weeksafterthepredictionwasannounced.

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2Interviewswereconductedonanon-randomlychosensetofParkfieldresidents.TheofficialpopulationofParkfieldis34.Weinterviewed9adultsand9school-agedchildren.Theinterviewswerequalitativeandlargelyunstructured;however.somestructurewasimposedupontheinterviewformatinthatfiveroutinequestions askedinreferencetotheprediction.Thesewere:(1)whathaschanged?(2)whatisbetter?(3)whatisworse?(4)whatareyouandothersdoing?and(5)whatareyouandothersnotdoing?Additionally.weconductedareviewofalllocalnewspapers(TheDailyPress)from1966--thetimeofthelastcharacteristicParkfieldearthquake--througheightmonthsafterthe5April1985prediction.Wereviewedthesepapersforthreethings:storiesaboutearthquakesandearthquake-relatedissues,storiesaboutthe5April1985prediction,andstoriesaboutearthquakeandearthquakepredictionresearch.C.FindingsandConclusionsThefindingsandconclusionsthatcanbedrawnfromthisworkaretentativebecauseofthelimitedscopeofthedatacollectioneffort.Nevertheless,severalinsightscanbe dra\nl fromthisresearch.Thesefindingsandconclusionsarebestviewedasgroundedhypothesesinducedfromthelimiteddatacollected,andeachisinneedofmoreelaboratesystematicinvestigation.OurgeneralconclusionregardinginitialpublicresponsetotheParkfieldpredictionisthattherewasvirtuallynoresponse.Thepredictionwasissuedon5April1985,anditwould have largelygoneunnoticedbytheresidentsofParkfieldanditsenvironshadnotnationalmediaattentionbeenfocusedontheevent.Locally,the

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3predictionwasnotevennewsworthy.ThedailyPress,thelocalnewspaperforNorthernSanLuisObispoCounty,forexample,didnotrunastoryontheprediction.OnApril16th,17thand19th--allabouttwoweeksafterthepredictionwasissued--thepapercoveredearthquakestoriesconcerningEarthquakePreparednessWeek,the1906SanFranciscoEarthquake,andanearthquakedrillinLosAngeles,respectively.InMayof1985,thepaperransixearthquake-relatedstories(onMay2,3,7,10,17and30th).The17May1985storycoveredearthquakeresearchinParkfield,andhowthequakehistoryofParkfieldwasattractingscientiststodoresearch.Juneof1985alsosawstoriespublishedaboutearthquakes,butnotinParkfield.ThepointisthattheParkfieldprediction,whilethetargetofnationalnewsmediaattentioninAprilontheheelsoftheprediction,wasnot ne\vsworthy inthelocal co'mmunity.lYhen astoryaboutthepredictionsurfacedinmid-May,some11/2monthsafter the predictionwasissued,itfocusedonearthquakeresearchandnottheprediction.Thepredictiondidnotgounnoticedbylocalresidents.Localslearnedofthepredictionfromthenationalmedia.Thenationalmedianotonlypublicizedtheprediction,theyalsodecendeduponParkfieldtofilmandinterviewresidents.Theyfoundlocals,asdidwe,alteredbythepredictionintwoways.First,localsweretalkingmoreaboutearthquakesinParkfieldthantheywouldhavehadthepredictionnotbeenissued.However,thiswasnottheresultoftheprediction.Itwasaconsequenceofhavingthemediaintheareaaskingquestionsabout the predictionandParkfieldearthquakes.Second,childreninthelocalschoolhadearthquakeissuesmadepartoftheirlessons.Again,however, this wasmore a responseto

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4nationalmediainterviewsthan the predictionperse;thatis,lessonsonearthquakeswereaboveallelseanattempttoeducatechildrensothattheymightnotbecomescaredfromthequestionsbeingposedbynationalreporters.ThesignificantquestionregardinginitialpublicresponsetotheParkfieldprediction,therefore,becomeswhywasthepredictionvirtuallyignored. There arefouranswerstothisquestionprovidedbytheParkfieldcase.1.EarthquakeCulture.An"earthquakeculture"existsamongtheresidentsofParkfieldanditsenvirons.Itappearsthatlocalshavelongago--andwellbeforethe5April1985prediction--fullyincorporatedtheearthquakehazardintotheirlocalculture,beliefsandnorms.Resultingperceptionsandbehaviorsincludenotonlyrecognitionand ofearthquakerisk,butalsoideasaboutwhattodoto"successfully"live '-lith earthquakeriskandearthquakes.EarthquakesarebothexperiencedandanticipatedbytheresidentsofParkfield;theyareexpectedanddefinedasmuchasapartoflivingintheareasasistrueforanyotherlocalcharacteristic.Theearthquakehazard,andideasaboutwhattodobecauseofit,aresuchastrongcomponentoflocalculturethatthebeliefsystemsurroundingthehazardispassedonfromgenerationtogenerationinmuchthesamewayasothermorebasicculturaltraitstranscendandaresharedacrossgenerations.ThatpeopleinParkfieldanditsenvironshavefullyincorporatedtheearthquakehazardintotheirlocalcultureisnotasurprize.Earthquakesoccurthereoften;forexample,Richtermagnitudeearthquakesofapproximately6haveoccurredtherein1881,1901,

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51922,1934and1966.Manylocalresidentsrecollectthe1966event,andmanyotherwell-knowofpriorearthquakeseitherbecausetheytoowerepersonallyexperienced,orbecauseothershavetoldthemstoriesoftheirexperienceswiththesehistoricalevents.Itiscommonfolkknowledge,basedonthehistoricalrecordofthecharacteristicParkfieldearthquake,thatearthquakesoccureverynowandthen,andthatmoreshouldbeanticipatedinthefuture.InthiswaytheresidentsofParkfieldanditsenvironshavealsoincorporatedearthquakepredictionintotheirlocalculture;mostpresumethatearthquakeswilloccurintheirlocaleinthefuture.Thehistoricaltrackrecordofearthquakeoccurrencesprovideastandingfolkpredictionforthefuturethatlocalsunderstandandaccept.Theearthquakeculturein doesmorethanacceptandanticipateearthquakes.ItalsoclearlydefinesandlimitstheriskposedbyParkfield LocalresidentscontemplatetheriskoflossinfutureParkfieldearthquakesonthebasisofprioreventsexperiencedandrecollected.Relativelyrecentevents--recentinthesensethattheirintensity,magnitudeandimpactsarepartofthecollectiveknowledgesharedbyresidents--havenotposed-aseriousthreattolifeandproperty.Consequently,localsanticipatethatfutureearthquakeeventswillbeofthesamesort.Forthemostpart,localshaveadjustedtoaccommodatethisperceivedlevelofrisk.Peoplehave,forexample,keptcupboarddoorstiedshutinanticipationofafutureearthquake and anticipatedminimaldamage.PeopletakepridethattheirhomesareabletowithstandParkfieldearthquakes.Peopleareevenreassuredthatit'ssafertoliveclosertotheSanAndreasFault as theydobecausedamage,intlleirminds,wouldlikelybehigherfurther away.

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uTheParkfieldearthquakeculture,therefore,fullyrecognizesthatearthquakeshaveandwilloccurinParkfield; futureearthquakesonthebasisofastandingfolkpredictionbasedonthehistoricalrecord;limitsperceptionsoffuturedamageinfutureearthquakesbasedonexperienceswithParkfieldearthquakesthatarepartofthelocalcollectiverecollection.GiventheParkfieldearthquakeculture,itisquiteunderstandablewhythe5April1985predictionwentvirtuallyunnoticedbylocals.Oneofourrespondentssummedupthelocalviewpoint:"Whenscientistsstarteddoingresearchonearthquakesaroundhere,thatmeantscientistsfinallyrealizedwhatwealwaysknew:earthquakeshappenhere.Whenthatpanelofgovernmentpeopleissuedtheirprediction,thatjustmeantthatgovernmentfinallynoticedtoo."From publicviewpoint,theParkfieldpredictionwasnotonecastinthemodelofhowearthquakepredictionistypicallyviewedbyscientists, andgovernmentofficials;scientistsfindsomethingoutandtellofficialswhointurninformthepublic;instead, Parkfieldpredictionisbettercastintheoppositedirection.Thepublicviewedthepredictionas"they"finallynoticedwhatwehavealwaysknown.2.Earthquake Ownersh!E. EarthquakesandpredictedearthquakesintheParkfieldarea, and likelyotherplacesaswell,are "mmed." Parkfieldresidents were veryfamiliarwiththeirearthquakehistory,buttheydefinetherecentearthquakeinCoalingaasCoalinga's.Conversely,CoalingacitizensrecollectParkfield'shistoricalearthquakesasParkfield's.PeopleinCoalingaandPasoRobles,forexample,whenquestionedabouttheParkfieldprediction,viewedthepredictedquakeassomeoneelse'sproblem.ThisisunfortunatesincethepredictedParkfieldearthquakecouldcausedamagein,forexample, Conlingn.

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7Itappears that thenamingandlabellingofearthquakepredictionswiththenamesoftownscanactasaperceptualconstrainttoactionbymembersofthepublicinotherplacestomitigate earthquake loss.Predictionslabelledwiththenameofonetownmayactuallyconstrainpreparednessandmitigationinothertownsbecausetosonameaprediction"1abelslltheimpendingquakeassomeoneelse'sproblem.InitialpublicresponsetotheParkfieldpredictioninneighboringCoalingaandPasoRoblessuggeststhatanalternativeschemeforlabelingearthquakepredictionscoulddomuchtoincreaseactionbythepublic-at-Iargeto-prepareforandmitigatelossesfrompredictedearthquakes.3.ResearchasaPrediction.TheParkfieldpredictionisoneearthquake-relatedeventinalonghistoryofsucheventsinthatarea.Storiesandexplanationsprovidedbylnanyrespondentssuggestanotherreasonwhythepredictionwentvirtuallyunnoticedbylocalresidents.Thefieldinvestigationsandresearchcarriedoutbyscientistsinthearea,whichprovidedthescientificbasisfortheprediction,wasmoretheactualpredictionforresidentsthanwasthepredictionitself.Infactalargeamountof ne,vspapcr coverage ,vas devotedtotheemergingscienceofearthquakepredictionandpredictionresearchlongbeforethe5April1985prediction.Thiscoveragedescribedat-lengththescientificresearchbeingconductedtopredictthenextParkfieldearthquake.Publicdefinitionofearthquakepredictionsmaynotbeequaltoscientificandgovernmentdefinitionofearthquakepredictions,e.g.,time,place,magnitudeandprobability.InParkfield,theactofsteppinguphighlyvisibleearthquakepredictionresearchwasitselfperceivedasanearthquakeprediction.Ifthisphenomenonis

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generic,itmayormaynothaveconsequencesinacommunitydependingontheamountofearthquakeculturein-place,andlocalperceptionofriskfromtheimpendingquakewhichwaslowinParkfield.TheParkfieldcase,therefore,perhapssuggestsausefulwayto predictionsinotherareasistousethe net ofpredictionresearchtohelplocalsgradunllybecomeusedtotheideathatanenrthquakemayoccur.Precludingotherearthquakepredictionsfrom"fallingfromtheblue"maybeaworthwhilemodelthatcanheborrowedfromParkfieldandusedinotherfuturepredictions.

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APPENDIXA

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Forrelease:April5,1985Hairs Office UnitedStatesDepartmentof the Interior Geological Survey, Western Region Menlo Park, California94025EdnaKing(415)-8111, Ext. 2953 DonovanKelly(703)860-7444STUDIESFORECASTINGMODERATEEARTHQUAKENEARPARKFIELD,CALIF.,RECEIVEOFFICIALENDORSEMENTTheforecastthatanearthquakeofmagnitude5.5to6islikely to occurintheParkfield,Calif.,areawithinthenextseveralyears(1985-1993) has beenreviewedandacceptedbystateandfederalevaluationpanelsaccordingtoan announcementtoday(April5,1985)bytheU.S.GeologicalSurvey.AlettersummarizingtheresultsofthescientificreviewoftheParkfieldforecastwassenttoMr.WilliamMedigovich,DirectoroftheCaliforniaOfficeofEmergencyServices,by Dr.DallasPeck,Directorofthe U.S. GeologicalSurvey.Parkfieldhas beenthesiteofaUSGS predictionexperiment.thatis using sophisticateddistancemeasuringdevicesandothermonitoringequipmentinanattempt-todetermineandmonitorsignalsthatmight presage anearthquake.Theresearchthatledtotoday'sstatementhasbeencarriedoutbyWilliamH.Bakun andAllanG.LindhoftheU.S.GeologicalSurveyand ThomasV.McEvillyoftheUniversityofCalifornia.Theirconclusionsarebasedonanalysesofreportsof intheParkfieldareain1857,1881, and1901andseismographrecordsofeventsnearParkfieldin1922,1935,and 1966. Theaverageintervalbetweentheseeventsis22yearsandstatisticalanalysesindicateahigh_.p.robability(over90percent)ofanotherearthquakeinthe within-tJi-e---198,:-1993intervar:--The seismographrecordsofthelastthreeParkfieldearthquakesareverysimilar,leadingtothehypothesisofacharacteristicearthquakeintheParkfieldregionofaboutmagnitude6ontheRichterScale.ParkfieldliesalongtheSan faultinasparselypopulatedregionabout170milessouthofSanFranciscoand 180 northofLosAngeles.Anearthquakeofmagnitude6isofmoderatesize,atthethresholdofbeingabletocausemodest damagetosomestructuresthathavenotbeendesignedforearthquakeresistance.(more)(EARTH SCIENCEINTHE PUBLIC SERVICEI

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2ThelastcharacteristicParkfieldearthquakeoccurredon June 28,1966,registereda magnitudeslightlylessthan6,andcausedonlyminor damagetowood-framehousesintheregion.TheresultsoftheParkfieldstudiesbyBakun, Lindh, McEvilly haverecentlybeen reviewed andendorsedbytheNationalEarthquakePredictionEvaluationCouncilandtheCaliforniaEarthquakePredictionEvaluationCouncil.Thesebodiesadvisefederalandstateofficialsrespectivelyonthevalidityofstatementsandstudiesregardingtheoccurrenceoffutureearthquakes.ThenationalcouncilconcludedthatthefindingsatParkfieldconstitutealong-termprediction,atermadoptedbybothcouncilstodescribeastatementontheoccurrenceofanearthquakeataspecificplaceandwithinatimeintervalofa few yearstoa few decades.Intheirevaluationoftheresearch,thetwopredictionreviewpanelssaidthatthepotentialexistsforthenextearthquakeintheParkfieldregiontobelargerthanthe1966shock,andforthefaultrupturetoextendsoutheastintotheadjacent25-milesegmentoftheSan Andreasfault.Bothpanelsagreed,however,thattheevidenceforthislargerearthquakewasspeculativeandrequiredadditionaldataand.review.Under a programofearthquakepredictionresearch,theU.S.GeologicalSurveymaintainsanarrayofsensitivegeophysicalmonitoringinstrumentsintheParkfieldregioninanattempttopredicttheoccurrenceoftheexpectedearthquakemoreprecisely.TheCaliforniaDivisionofMines and Geologyalsomaintainsalargenumberofinstrumentstomeasuretheeffectsofthe earthqyake. 'TheCaliforniaOfficeofEmergency hasreviewedtheevaluationwithlocalofficialsandwilltakecoordinatedactionshouldtheextensivemonitoringequipmentarrayedthroughouttheParkfield regionindicate thattheanticipatedearthquakeisimminent. * USGS * *


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