The Xi Chuan basin is classified as a high seismic area because the region is located right where the Himalaya mountain belt and the Eurasian plate collide (Li and Chen 1003) Being near an active fault, the area regularly experiences light tremors due to the constant movement of the plates. …
However, there are instances wherein big, catastrophic earthquakes hit the region. An example of which happened on May 12, 2008, 06:28:04 (UTC) wherein according to official reports, seventy thousand people were killed, three hundred seventy four thousand people were injured, and about seventeen thousand more were reported missing. (Chen, Qiao, and Liu 809) Compared to other natural calamities, earthquakes are close to impossible to predict. The fault lines may have been identified and mapped out but no one can really tell when a big earthquake will happen. These events can only be studied after they have already happened and the damages to property and the loss of lives have been done. If a catastrophe is defined as an event causing great and often sudden damage and suffering (Miriam Webster dictionary of the English Language) that definition is especially true for the earthquakes that plague the Xi Chuan region in the heart of mainland China. Houses were turned to mere rubble while the very foundations of old castles crack and give way to the power of nature. Unfortunately, in these display of nature’s power, human lives are also lost. Preventing mortality and too much loss in infrastructure led the Chinese to develop ways to hopefully predict when big, catastrophic earthquakes would strike and where. Although they failed in making an early warning system for earthquakes at that time, the ancient Chinese built the 1st rudimentary seismograph to be able to detect where in the realm an earthquake occurred so as to direct help there immediately (Weiland). The quest for an effective means to predict where and when strong earthquakes will occur is still the goal in China and the rest of the world nowadays, but fortunately there are many instruments, equations and programs available as well as volumes of seismic data that can give clues to the time and place these big earthquakes would hit. It is not merely the geologists’ and geophysicists’ job to make sure of the safety of the people and the reduction of the destruction on infrastructure. Scientists, policy makers, as well as the private sector need to work hand-in-hand to prevent further devastation caused by these types of calamities. Dynamic planning and effective implementation of different measures assure the safety of people living in these earthquake-prone zones. This study focuses on recent techniques and breakthroughs that have been and will be used in predicting the occurrence of strong earthquakes in the Xi Chuan basin region and then we will evaluate each strategy’s impact on the disaster planning and response of the area. Improvements in the early warning system technology is the key to reducing mortality and destruction of infrastructure caused by large earthquakes and the efficient dissemination of information will be the determinant to each stratagem’s effectiveness. This paper will also touch on the improvements on the policies that favor earthquake readiness and the level of implementation of these laws since the eight magnitude earthquake in 2008. Literature Review A brief history of the study of seismic activity in the Xi Chuan basic region was detailed in the study of Han and Jiang (231). The Xi Chuan – Yunnan and Xi Chuan – Quinghai area has been plagued with earthquakes historically due to its location within active faults. Records of big and damaging earthquakes were passed down from dynasty to dynasty until this present age. Although China had been a nation for ...
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