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Monday, May 14, 2007
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
CNLS Conference Room (TA-3, Bldg 1690)


Earthquakes, Landslides, Wildfires, and Floods - What Do They Have in Common?

Donald L. Turcotte
University of California, Davis

This talk will focus on the statistics of natural hazards. It will also focus on the association of these hazards with concepts of self-organized criticality. The forest-fire model will be introduced as the type model. It will be shown that the behavior of this model can be understood in terms of the self-similar coalescence of growing clusters of trees. It will also be shown that the frequency-area statistics of actual forest and wild fires are well represented by the model results and that the frequency-area statistics of landslides satisfy a universal scaling law that can be associated with the sand pile model. The frequency-magnitude statistics of earthquakes and floods will also be discussed. The inter occurrence statistics of both hazards and models will be considered and it will be argued that the Weibull distribution is universally applicable due to the power-law dependence of its hazard rate.

Host: David Roberts (CNLS)