Millions in Europe, Asia Face 'Unmapped' Quake Risk

'Interior zone' earthquakes can be the deadliest
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted May 23, 2011 11:26 AM CDT
Millions in Europe, Asia Face 'Unmapped' Quake Risk
In this April 4, 2009 file photo, mourners light up fire crackers, burn incense and make offerings to those who died in May 12, 2008 earthquake, on the grave sweeping day in Beichuan, Sichuan, China.   (AP Photo/ Elizabeth Dalziel, File)

We’re well aware of longstanding earthquake risks in places like California and Japan. But Europe, the Middle East, and Asia face potentially deadlier threats—and it’s time for scientists to take action, researchers say. So-called “interior zone” earthquakes have killed 1.4 million in the past century, compared to 800,000 killed by temblors on major fault lines and the tsunamis that followed. And “in many parts of the continental interiors,” scientists write, “we do not even know where the hazards lie.”

“The knowledge that underpins earthquake resilience in Japan or California must be transferred to countries in which earthquakes regularly inflict huge death tolls, often far from the media spotlight,” they note. And the threat is getting worse “as millions of people every year migrate into mega-cities in vulnerable locations.” Areas of particular risk include the Alpine-Himalayan belt, which stretches from Italy to China, notes the Daily Mail. Among recent interior zone earthquakes: Muzzafarabad, Pakistan’s 2005 temblor, which killed 75,000; and Wenchuan, China’s 2008 earthquake, in which 70,000 died. (More earthquake stories.)

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