Losses in future large earthquakes that are likely to happen, or repeats of historic earthquakes, are modeled as scenarios. For example, M8 earthquakes along the Himalaya are likely to affect 3,000 settlements and more than 200,000 people may die, in a single event. In such an earthquake, an approximately equal number of people may be seriously injured. The probability of such an earthquake in the next 100 years is 89%.
The map shows the average damage that is likely to result from a great earthquake in the western Himalaya. Each dot is proportional in size to the settlement it represents, and its color indicates the average damage expected if an M8.1 earthquake occurred at the location marked by a cross. The color code is: Black – collapsed, brown – heavy destruction, red - heavy damage, yellow – medium damage, green – moderate damage, blue – slight damage.
Number of fatalities expected in hypothetical future great earthquakes along the Himalayan continental collision belt. The scale at bottom left gives the scale in units of 100,000 fatalities.
The purpose of constructing such loss scenarios is to give governments and civil protection agencies an idea for what scale of disasters they have to prepare, if they wish to protect their population. As an example, the extent of the losses in the M7.8 Kashmir earthquake of 8 October, 2005, was accurately predicted in an article published by Wyss in March 2005 in the journal Natural Hazards. This article and an evaluation of this prediction is reproduced below.
Human Losses Expected in Himalayan Earthquakes
The Kashmir M7.6 Shock of 8 October 2005 Calibrates Estimates of Losses in
Future Himalayan Earthquakes
Estimated human losses in future earthquakes
Predicting the human losses implied by predictions of earthquakes:
southern Sumatra and central Chile