Seismic Hazard Assessment: a Challenge for Science and Geoethics

Nils-Axel Mörner(1*)

(1) Paleogeophysics & Geodynamics, Stockholm University, Sweden
(*) Corresponding author


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Abstract


When science itself cannot solve a problem, it is necessary to combine available data with philosophy and geoethics. Storage of high-level nuclear waste calls for an absolute isolation of the waste from the biosphere of at least 100,000 years. To make meaningful seismic hazard assessments over such an immense time period is very hard, if at all possible. Seismology only covers a century. Paleoseismology in Sweden covers 13,000 years (with some additional records from around 30,000 BP). In this situation, we must restrict ourselves from making too optimistic assessments. It is here where geoethics, philosophy and common sense become vital for a balanced evaluation. As some sort of seismic hazard assessment, one may multiply the recorded paleoseismic hazard over the past 13,000 yr by ten. The absence of a clear scientific methodology of assessing the true seismic hazard over this long time-period must not be used to present careless statements. We must also evaluate who says what, and in what interest. The principles of geoethics call for a strict application of scientific facts, observational evidence and physical laws.
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Keywords


Seismic Hazard Assessment; Paleoseismics; Storage of Nuclear Waste; 100;000 Yrs Time Scale; Principles of Geoethics; Fennoscandia

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References


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