Potentially Relevant Earthquake Data{1}

by Joshua L
Earthquakes occur where the boundaries of  tectonic plates meet, specifically 80% of earthquakes occur at the Pacific Plate boundary. Earthquakes’ first accurate data was recorded in 1880, exhibiting an average on twenty earthquakes occur annually with a Richter rating of 7.0 or greater. This data is useful to help develop the ability to track and predict the occurrence of earthquakes. The fault of not moving forward with predicting earthquakes lies in the lack of access of earthquake information, as well as the lack of “infrastructure” for retrieving and accessing that information. Much of the data that does exist is useful because it is unorganized and no correlation exists to explain the links between the existing documented information. The interpretation of the patterns, correlation, and trends between all of this recorded data does not exist, thus the data is practically useless. With successful predictions of earthquakes mass amounts of life and property can be salvaged.  The major issues regarding successfully predicting earthquakes are: reviewing mass amounts of data takes a lot of man hours, communication gaps between observatories collecting the data, having knowledge about what the data actually shows, and inconsistent earthquake results. Currently  these issues keep from successfully predicting earthquakes; however, the data measuring earthquake changes combined with earthquake history can help predict the next ‘big one.’ Using an ontology based data warehouse to process and study the results is currently under study; this method is thought to better conclude and organize the existing, and future, data regarding earthquakes.

In my opinion having the ability to predict earthquakes would substantially affect the world and its inhabitants. The information exists, it is just a matter of collecting the data in a relevant fashion and having people with enough knowledge to correlate the data. If such technology existed then prediction would be possible and lives could be saved. The recent catastrophic earthquake events took the lives of thousands; had there been some prediction of a ‘big one’ to occur then people could have better prepared and lives could have been spared. The prediction of earthquakes would not save every life, but it would have enough of an impact to make the study of the earthquake data worth it. Having the data and the knowledge necessary would in the end save lives.

In class we have discussed data and its relevance. We have learned it is one thing to have data, but it is another to have understood data. Just because the data exists, does not make it relevant or have a purpose. However, having the data and having it correlate to other data or results, then it can be practical and useful. Like we discussed in class the difference between information and data, the data regarding earthquakes in mere information if it cannot be understood. The importance to understanding the recorded data is demonstrated in this article, if the data was understood then lives could potentially be saved.

“Ontology Based Data Warehouse Modeling and Mining of Earthquake Data: Prediction Analysis Along Eurasian-Australian Continental Plates” 596 – 6702 .IEEE Explore. CSUPomona Library, Pomona, CA. 8 Apr. 2012. http://0-ieeexplore.ieee.org.opac.library.csupomona.edu/stamp/stamp.jsp?tp=&arnumber=4384825