Cover

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Frontmatter

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Table of Contents

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p. v

List of Figures

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pp. vi-viii

List of Tables

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p. viii

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Preface

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pp. ix-xvi

The great pop artist Andy Warhol once said that in the future, everybody will befamous for fifteen minutes. If you are a Texas earthquake seismologist, Warhol’s prophecy comes true every time a major earthquake occurs. So, what happens to a seismologist when an earthquake happens? Both the authors of this book,Scott Davis and myself (Cliff Frohlich), are seismologists, and this is what...

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CHAPTER 1. MEASURING EARTHQUAKES

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pp. 1-16

When we hear that an earthquake has occurred, scientists ask the same basic•How bad was it? Were people killed, and was there severe damage?•Where was it? Did it affect places where we have friends or where lots ofpeople live? Did it occur in a place where earthquakes occur often or some-To answer questions like “how bad” or “how big,” it helps to have...

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CHAPTER 2. EARTHQUAKES IN TEXAS

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pp. 17-39

When people think of Texas, they seldom think of earthquakes. They think of hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, hailstorms, and droughts, but not earthquakes. On 25 October 1989 the Los Angeles Daily Newsran a story about the safest places to live in the United States to avoid natural disasters. While the article did note that disasters could happen anywhere, the writer identified the town of Alpine,...

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CHAPTER 3. EARTHQUAKES IN THE UNITED STATES

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pp. 40-51

As children, we played with a puzzle of the United States in which each state was a separate puzzle piece. From this, the most memorable fact many of us learned was that Alaska and Texas are the largest states, with Montana and California not too far behind; other states are not even close....

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CHAPTER 4. EARTHQUAKES IN THE WORLD AND OUT OF THIS WORLD

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pp. 52-64

Recently we were at a party where people were playing Trivial Pursuit and someone drew the question, “Which country has the most earthquakes?” To our chagrin we got the answer wrong. We answered “Vanuatu,” a South Pacific island nation (called the New Hebrides before 1980) that has experienced no fewer...

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CHAPTER 5. CAUSES OF EARTHQUAKES

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pp. 65-81

When one of this book’s authors (Davis) received his Ph.D. in seismology, a fellow student named Guillaume Cambois brought a bottle of champagne to the celebration party. When it came time to open the bottle, he asked, “Should I open it the French way or the American way?” Since Guillaume was from France, since we didn’t know what the French way was, and since this wasn’t the...

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CHAPTER 6. PREDICTING EARTHQUAKES

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pp. 82-94

Most likely, both of these “predictions” will come true. Over the past century California has experienced approximately nine earthquakes with magnitude of 7 or greater; we presume there will be similar activity in the century to come. At the rate of nine quakes per century, the chances are better than even that at least one will occur on any particular day of the week, such as a Saturday....

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CHAPTER 7. SHOULD I WORRY ABOUT EARTHQUAKES?

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pp. 95-102

We are always saddened when people are hurt or property is damaged by a natural disaster. Some disasters are especially poignant because it is clear that much of the suffering they produced could have been avoided. On beaches along the Texas Gulf Coast we see housing developments that are certain to be destroyed by the next serious hurricane. We have seen pictures of beautiful homes in...

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CHAPTER 8. WHO ARE SEISMOLOGISTS AND WHAT DO THEY REALLY DO?

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pp. 103-111

About ten years ago the Department of Geosciences at a well-respected university in Houston wished to hire a new faculty member, and so the department placed an advertisement in EOS, a newspaper sent to all members of the American Geophysical Union, a professional organization for earth scientists. The ad solicited applications from individuals “from any subfield of seismology,...

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CHAPTER 9. A NEW COMPENDIUM OF EARTHQUAKE ACTIVITY IN TEXAS

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pp. 112-256

The objective of this chapter is to summarize available knowledge about all historical earthquakes felt by Texas residents. Most of the events here are actual earthquakes that occurred within Texas borders. A few are earthquakes with epicenters outside of Texas, and still others are events reported by the media as earthquakes that in all likelihood were something else, such as sonic booms or...

References

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pp. 256-268

Index

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pp. 269-275