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Phases of Earthquake Experience: A Case Study of the June 2000 South Iceland Earthquakes

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A case study of the impact factors of stress and relief in the wake of the south Iceland earthquakes in 2000 is presented. By applying axial coding analysis, the isolated concurrent and interplaying sociostructural impact factors were added sequentially to a time axis based on interviews with sufferers, as well as observations and a survey analysis. The data were obtained through a field survey using standardized questionnaires as well as numerous personal in-depth interviews, photographs, and field notes. An exposition of the different phases of the earthquake experience is presented, reflecting the victims' conscious and/or unconscious efforts to bring life back to “normal,” though constantly burdened by a perceived lack of understanding of their experiences by “outsiders.” The process was characterized by six main stress factors and three noteworthy mitigating factors. The findings are important for vulnerability and risk assessment as well as for planning pre-, pro-, and postearthquake reactions in the affected areas.

Keywords: Earthquake; experience; mitigation; prevention; stress

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1539-6924.2006.00811.x

Affiliations: 1: University of Iceland, Faculty of Social Science, Institute of Urban Planning, Reykjavik, Iceland. 2: University of Iceland, Earthquake Engineering Research Centre, Selfoss, Iceland.

Publication date: October 1, 2006

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