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Critically Speaking

Feb 12, 2020

Magali Barba-Sevilla is a seismologist at the University of Colorado’s Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences and Department of Geology.


In today’s episode, Therese and Magali discuss the three different classes of earthquakes, why earthquakes can’t be predicted, how early warning systems work, and the real facts about how to be safe should an earthquake strike.


 Key Takeaways: 

  • The most severe type of earthquake occurs when an oceanic tectonic plate, which is heavier than terrestrial plate, slides under the terrestrial plate.  These events are what are common in the ring of fire.
  • Early warning systems function because shortly before an earthquake strikes, there are “primary waves” detectable only by seismologists and some animals, and seismologists can send signals to nearby urban areas that there are anywhere from a few seconds to a minute to seek protection.
  • Contrary to many beliefs, the safest place to be is not under a doorway or in the “triangle of life”.  The best thing to do is to seek cover under a table and hold on to the legs in order to move with it when the shaking begins.


"I've heard that people think that earthquakes typically occur either in the morning or at night. But this is not true. They occur anytime. I think that the reason why people think that is is because they're woken up by them, and that makes them more memorable." —  Magali Barba-Sevilla


Connect with Magali Barba-Sevilla:

Bio: Magali Barba-Sevilla   

Article: Hazard Implications of the 2016 Wm 5.0 Cushing, OK Earthquake from a Joint Analysis of Damage and InSAR Data

Article: Satellite Imagery Measures Ground Motion Due to Oklahoma Induced Seismicity



Connect with Therese: 


Twitter: @CritiSpeak





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