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Volume 22 Issue 10 (October 2012)

GSA Today

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Article, pp. 42–44 | Full Text | PDF (191KB)

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GROUNDWORK:

Rebuilding Tohoku: A joint geophysical and economic framework for hazard mitigation

Jerome Stein1, Seth Stein2*

1 Applied Mathematics, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island 02912, USA
2 Earth and Planetary Sciences, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 60208, USA

Japanese authorities face complex issues in reconstructing the Tohoku coast that suffered enormous damage from the tsunami generated by the M9.0 earthquake on 11 March 2011. The tsunami overtopped coastal defenses, primarily 5–10 m seawalls, causing more than 15,000 deaths and US$210 billion damage (Normile, 2012) (Fig. 1). If and how such defenses should be rebuilt is a challenging question. Here, we outline a framework to find the optimal level of mitigation by balancing its cost against the expected damages. This framework can be applied to exploring policies under various hazard scenarios and mitigating other natural hazards.

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Manuscript received 27 March 2012; accepted 30 May 2012.

doi: 10.1130/GSATG154GW.1

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