Man-made Catastrophes and Risk Information Concealment

Case Studies of Major Disasters and Human Fallibility

  • Dmitry Chernov
  • Didier Sornette

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. Dmitry Chernov, Didier Sornette
    Pages 1-8
  3. Dmitry Chernov, Didier Sornette
    Pages 9-245
  4. Dmitry Chernov, Didier Sornette
    Pages 247-279
  5. Dmitry Chernov, Didier Sornette
    Pages 281-336
  6. Dmitry Chernov, Didier Sornette
    Pages 337-342
  7. Dmitry Chernov, Didier Sornette
    Pages E1-E2

About this book


This book discusses the risks of information concealment in the context of major natural or industrial disasters – offering detailed descriptions and analyses of some 25 historical cases (Three Mile Island nuclear accident, Bhopal disaster, Challenger Space Shuttle explosion, Chernobyl nuclear disaster, Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear disaster, Enron’s bankruptcy, Subprime mortgage crisis, Worldwide Spanish flu and SARS outbreaks, etc.) and applying these insights to selected on-going cases where such information concealment is suspected. Some successful examples of preventive anti-concealment practice are also presented.

In the book, the term ‘concealment’ is used to represent the two distinct behaviors uncovered in the investigations: (i) facts and information about an organization and its functioning being hidden from those that need them – here the concealment can be due to various factors, such as complexity and miscommunication, to name but two – and (ii) the conscious and deliberate action of keeping important information secret or misrepresenting it. This second meaning makes up a surprisingly important part of the evidence presented. 

Accordingly, emphasis has been put on this second aspect and the approach is more pragmatic than academic, remaining focused on evidence-based practical and useful factors. It raises awareness and provides valuable lessons for decision- makers, risk specialists and responsible citizens alike. This work is also intended as a fact-based reference work for future academic and scholarly investigations on the roots of the problem, in particular regarding any psychological or sociological modeling of human fallibility.  


Business philosophy and environmental safety Man-made environmental disasters Risk Assessment and Management Risk Information Concealment Risk communication and decision-making

Authors and affiliations

  • Dmitry Chernov
    • 1
  • Didier Sornette
    • 2
  1. 1.ETH ZurichZürichSwitzerland
  2. 2.ETH ZurichZürichSwitzerland

Bibliographic information