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E. Supercomputers Used to Recreate and Analyze Earthquakes

Narrator: This is Science Today. Seismologists and computer scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory used their supercomputers to recreate simulations of the devastating 1906 San Francisco earthquake to measure where the hardest hit areas were. Applied mathematician Anders Petersson describes how these sophisticated computer simulations provide insight into what the next big earthquake will look like.

Petersson: We can predict how badly the Earth will shake in different locations and see how that varies, depending on the soil type and such things. So, we can also predict the duration of the shaking. And what we want to look at in the future is coupling to structures to predict if bridges will fall down.

Narrator: Petersson says the computer simulations can also provide insight into another important, potential problem the state's levee systems.

Petersson: And if they will stand because you get extended shaking out there in the sedimentary basins and that type of soil can liquefy and we hope to couple our simulations to programs to predict liquefaction as well.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.