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There is a great earthquake belt that stretches from the Mediterranean through the Middle East into central Asia, where people are funnelled away from mountaintops and inhospitable deserts, towards settlements at the feet of mountain ranges. These villages, with access to water and trade routes, are sprouting into megacities—with the potential for a massive loss of life as tectonic plates shift. James Jackson, who heads Cambridge University’s Earth Sciences department, will spell out the possibility of a future catastrophe at a 16th October seminar run by the university’s Centre for Science and Policy.

In 2010, the coalition government recommended that…

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