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May 4 Lawson Lecture To Highlight Earthquake Issues

By Steven Finacom
Tuesday April 26, 2011 - 04:22:00 PM

The 105th anniversary of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake on Monday, April 18, was commemorated by Mother Nature herself with a little bump of an offshore tremor that afternoon. Another way to remember 1906—and to prepare for the inevitable major earthquakes in the future of the Bay Area—is to attend the 2011 Lawson Lecture sponsored by the Seismographic Laboratory at the UC Berkeley campus. 

The annual event, established in 2003, is named for UC geologist Andrew Lawson who suggested the name for the San Andreas Fault. Each year the program presents a talk by a leading seismologist or other earthquake expert outlining cutting edge research in the field. 

This year the Lawson Lecture takes place on Wednesday, May 4, at 5:00 PM in the Banatano Auditorium in Sutardja Dai Hall on the UC Berkeley campus. It is free and open to the public. 

The speaker is Dr. Mary Comerio of the Department of Architecture. 

Her topic is “Two Earthquakes in Christchurch, New Zealand; lessons for California.” 

“Comerio visited Christchurch, New Zealand, after the September, 2010 (magnitude 7.1) earthquake and after its surprisingly damaging February 2011 Magnitude 6.3 aftershock. She will talk about the tectonic setting of the two earthquakes and why the damage from the smaller one holds important lessons for California.” 

Comerio is also known for her trail-blazing 1998 study, published in book form,Disaster Hits Home. In it she reviewed the impacts of natural disasters on the housing stock, particularly the way in which Federal policy tends to aid homeowners trying to rebuild after a widespread disaster—flood, hurricane, earthquake, wildfire—but does not do much to assist in the rebuilding of rental housing. That’s an important consideration in a place like Berkeley where a large portion of the housing stock is occupied by renters. 

To see the lecture flyer, go here: 

Information on the Lawson Lecture series overall is here: