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Earthquake country: Seismologist weighs in on what we can learn from natural disasters




Lucy Jones, a USGS seismologist talks during a news conference at Caltech in Pasadena, Calif, on Monday, March 17, 2014.
Lucy Jones, a USGS seismologist talks during a news conference at Caltech in Pasadena, Calif, on Monday, March 17, 2014.
Nick Ut/AP

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Planet earth wouldn’t have nearly as much life if we didn’t have earthquakes, volcanoes and floods.

For instance, earthquakes bring up natural springs, and that’s something to be thankful for, especially in drought-burdened California. But when we can’t withstand these events, they become natural disasters. And the effects of the “big one” from the past can influence how we cope in the future.

Seismologist and Angeleno Lucy Jones is a leading expert on earthquakes, and she’s taking a deep dive into the history of natural disasters, and what they can teach us, in her new book, “The Big Ones: How Natural Disasters Have Shaped Us (and What We Can Do About Them).” The book explores questions about the effects of natural disaster as far back as Pompeii. How did the ancient Roman city’s volcanic eruption challenge religious views at the time? What did the 1862 California floods show us about the limits of human memory? And with natural disasters as recent as last year’s hurricanes in Puerto Rico and Houston, Jones looks at the impact of growing populations in high-risk areas, as well as an increase in the earth’s temperature.

So how can we be ready for the next “big one”? Larry speaks to Jones today to find out more.

EVENT:

Dr. Lucy Jones will discuss her book at The Writers Guild Theater on Thursday, April 19.. The conversation starts at 7:30pm with writer and former Los Angeles Times book critic David Ulin.  

Guest:

Lucy Jones, seismologist and founder and chief scientist at the Lucy Jones Center for Science & Society, a natural disaster risk reduction research organization; she is author of the book, “The Big Ones: How Natural Disasters Have Shaped Us (and What We Can Do About Them" (Doubleday, 2018)