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Earthquake Time Bombs
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Book description

In a media interview in January 2010, scientist Robert Yeats sounded the alarm on Port-au-Prince, Haiti, as an 'earthquake time bomb', a region at critical risk of major seismic activity. One week later, a catastrophic earthquake struck the city, leaving over 100,000 dead and triggering a humanitarian crisis. In this timely study, Yeats sheds new light on other earthquake hotspots around the world and the communities at risk. He examines these seismic threats in the context of recent cultural history, including economic development, national politics and international conflicts. Descriptions of emerging seismic resilience plans from some cities provide a more hopeful picture. Essential reading for policy-makers, infrastructure and emergency planners, scientists, students and anyone living in the shadow of an earthquake, this book raises the alarm so that we can protect our vulnerable cities before it's too late.


'This book highlights the appalling reality of the threat to the world’s growing population that is exposed to earthquakes, especially those concentrated in vulnerable megacities. The recent calamities of the earthquakes in Haiti and Nepal are simply foretastes of what is to come, unless decisive action is taken. It is written by someone perhaps uniquely qualified to do so: an earthquake scientist whose long and personal engagement with many of the cities he writes about is accompanied by an extremely well informed, up-to-date and widely respected grasp of his subject. It is written in an easy semi-populist, non-technical style that will make it accessible to non-specialists, but with the completely convincing authority and balance that accompanies an author who is utterly confident and secure in his knowledge. It is an impressive achievement to distil decades of global scientific effort into a compelling narrative and call to action.'

James Jackson - University of Cambridge

'An excellent and very timely book! Professor Yeats places the disaster potential of urban earthquakes within a varied context of history, local culture, public planning and politics, in a comparative manner. He presents a massive amount of information in a clear, concise, and readable style, which will be of interest to anyone working on mitigating the urban earthquake risk on a global scale. The book is also a must-read for policymakers, city administrators, risk managers, emergency planners, scientists and students.'

Mustafa Erdik - Boğaziçi University, Istanbul

'In Earthquake Time Bombs, Yeats provides the proverbial wake-up call for earthquake-prone major cities around the world. History, politics, economics, and seismology are interwoven in order to demonstrate the unique challenges each city faces, as well as the lessons to be shared with the others. This book should be required reading for both public and private sector leaders in these cities, heads of international development agencies and multinational corporations, students and practitioners of earthquake science and engineering, and others who may implement existing solutions or develop innovative approaches for diffusing at least some of these bombs before it’s too late.'

Mark Benthien - Director of Communication, Education and Outreach, Southern California Earthquake Center, and Global Coordinator, Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills

'… [the] style of writing is very engaging and the reader feels privileged to accompany Yeats in these important reconnaissance trips and to share his thoughts and observations … fascinating and well worth reading …'

Risa Palm Source: The AAG Review of Books

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