PEER and the EERI Northern California Chapter jointly hosted the EERI distinguished lecture "The New Normal for Natural Disasters" by Professor Tom O'Rourke from Cornell University on December 6, 2012 at UC Berkeley. This lecture discussed the effects of the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami, Canterbury Earthquake Sequence, and Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy with respect to their impact on regional and international economics, national practices for security and recovery, and worldwide energy policy. The recording is now posted at PEER's YouTube channel with the intermittent audio static from the live webcast removed.
Abstract: The effects of the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami and Canterbury Earthquake Sequence are discussed with respect to their impact on regional and international economics, national practices for security and recovery, and worldwide energy policy. The lecture explains why these events require a fundamental re-thinking of the way we evaluate the risks of extreme events, as well as define and protect critical infrastructure. The impact of the Canterbury Earthquake Sequence on the underground infrastructure in Christchurch is explored with the use of an extraordinary GIS data set covering the effects of both liquefaction-induced permanent ground deformation and transient ground motion for 3 different earthquakes. Lessons learned from Christchurch for Wellington, NZ and San Francisco, CA are discussed. To address the need for protection against rare, high consequence events with limited financial resources, a strategy for improving infrastructure resilience is proposed.