USGS - science for a changing world

Science Application for Risk Reduction (SAFRR)

WGSC contributions extending beyond SAFRR scenarios address various aspects of risk communication.


(above) How much participants said they knew about aftershocks prior to the initiation of the sequence.

The Canterbury sequence was initiated by a Mw 7.1 earthquake September 4, 2010 in a rural area. By the end of 2012 3,500 earthquakes over Mw 3.0 were designated as aftershocks. A Mw 6.3 earthquake on February 2011 in an urban area caused 185 fatalities in Christchurch and resulted in the closure of the central business district. This earthquake sequence included significant earthquakes on June 13 and December 23 in 2011 that triggered more earthquakes. Throughout the sequence, damages accumulated from recurrent shaking, liquefaction, and rock falls.

(left) Map of sesmic activity near Christchurch, New Zealand, from 9/4/2010 to 4/11/2014

Delta Skelta Serious Game

Delta Skelta game map with a levee highlighted by light blue outline (in yellow box). Left panel displays attributes of the levee condition. Player can select to inspect, upgrade, or remove the levee.

Delta Skelta Dials

Delta Skelta players monitor the success based on the satisfaction of the four stakeholder groups.

Aftershock Forecast Communication for Risk Reduction

A study of the communication of aftershock information during the Canterbury, New Zealand earthquake sequence is identifying themes around risk communication products, risk communication strategies, and risk-based decision-making. Preliminary reflections are reported in a Risk Frontier article.

Christ Church After Shock Sequence map

Serious Games

Experiments with serious games as a medium for engaging players with scientific information in the context of complex societal decisions was conducted (link to serious games OFR). Delta Skelta is a game emulating long-term integrated environmental planning in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, California, that incorporates natural hazards (flooding and earthquakes) and consequences for California water supplies amidst conflicting water interests. Age of Ecology is a game about sustainable development that simulates interactions between economic and ecologic processes, as well as natural hazards while implementing agent-based modeling.

Age of Ecology Diagram

Diagram of Age of Ecology game. Fish, city, farm, and natural components contain player controlled decisions and autonomously simulated agents. Random simulated events of crop failure, flood, and earthquake occur that can be mitigated by farm crop, and hazard protection decisions. Player decisions and simulated agents interact, culminating in profits (represented by the green triangle) that measure player success.

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