SOFTWARE: On Shaky Ground

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Science  06 Jan 2006:
Vol. 311, Issue 5757, pp. 19
DOI: 10.1126/science.311.5757.19d

Four earthquakes of at least magnitude six have rumbled through the San Francisco Bay area since 1979. A new model from the U. S. Geological Survey might help seismologists sharpen their predictions of the next temblor's damage. Unlike standard, two-dimensional shaking maps, the simulation renders the upper 32 kilometers of Earth's crust, incorporating measurements of the seismic properties of the area's rocks. Because it's three-dimensional, the model includes features such as faults and underground basins that can divert or concentrate a quake's force. Researchers can use the tool to estimate future ground trembling and gauge the power of past, unmeasured events. Download the model here:

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