It is well known that aftershocks produce more fatalities and damage than would be expected from earthquakes of the same magnitude; they generate shaking in areas where much of the building stock has already been damaged, and where poor decision-making by the population can have fatal consequences.
They also represent a significant impediment to emergency response efforts. While we cannot reliably forecast individual mainshocks, the statistics and physical science of aftershocks and operational forecasting has developed rapidly and it is now possible to make actionable forecasts of the probability of both the location and the size, with full quantification of the uncertainties involved.
Correct community response to aftershocks reduces subsequent loss of life in earthquake-stricken areas but local response can be delayed or inhibited by social, cultural and political factors. Effective, large-scale user engagement with appropriate information, so essential in emergency response, requires work on developing public awareness at scale, designing effective co-learning across multiple stakeholder groups, and building a deep understanding of the social and gender issues which might limit, or enable, user engagement.
This project is led by John McCloskey and Mark Naylor in the School of Geosciences at the University of Edinburgh: the Centre for Research in Digital Education is leading the education, learning and engagement strand of the work.