San Andreas fault

U.S. Geological Survey: Around 7% Chance California Will Experience Magnitude 8.0 Or Larger Earthquake In Next 30 Years

Like that “Project Prepper” post yesterday, it’s been a while (January 13) since I talked about the danger of a really big California earthquake.

Why do I continue to bring up the subject, even though I live in the more seismically-calm Midwest?

Probably because the “Big One” could happen in my lifetime. And I’m really concerned about the safety of all those people out in that area of the West Coast.

Consider what I blogged in that January 13 post:

59 percent chance of 7.8-magnitude San Andreas earthquake in next 30 years

And the U.S. Geological Survey just issued a press release on March 10, 2015, in which they warned the likelihood the state of California will experience a magnitude 8.0 or larger earthquake in the next 30 years has jumped. From the USGS website:

A new California earthquake forecast by the U.S. Geological Survey and partners revises scientific estimates for the chances of having large earthquakes over the next several decades.

The Third Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast, or UCERF3, improves upon previous models by incorporating the latest data on the state’s complex system of active geological faults, as well as new methods for translating these data into earthquake likelihoods.

The study confirms many previous findings, sheds new light on how the future earthquakes will likely be distributed across the state and estimates how big those earthquakes might be.

Compared to the previous assessment issued in 2008, UCERF2, the estimated rate of earthquakes around magnitude 6.7, the size of the destructive 1994 Northridge earthquake, has gone down by about 30 percent. The expected frequency of such events statewide has dropped from an average of one per 4.8 years to about one per 6.3 years.

However, in the new study, the estimate for the likelihood that California will experience a magnitude 8 or larger earthquake in the next 30 years has increased from about 4.7% for UCERF2 to about 7.0% for UCERF3.

“The new likelihoods are due to the inclusion of possible multi-fault ruptures, where earthquakes are no longer confined to separate, individual faults, but can occasionally rupture multiple faults simultaneously,” said lead author and USGS scientist Ned Field…

“We are fortunate that seismic activity in California has been relatively low over the past century. But we know that tectonic forces are continually tightening the springs of the San Andreas fault system, making big quakes inevitable,” said Tom Jordan, Director of the Southern California Earthquake Center and a co-author of the study. “The UCERF3 model provides our leaders and the public with improved information about what to expect, so that we can better prepare.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Once again, keep those earthquakes preparations going at full throttle, Californians. And visit The Great California Shakeout website– among other earthquake preparedness online resources- if you haven’t already.

After all, it’s only a matter of time before the “Big One” strikes.

You can read the entire press release on the USGS website here.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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‘Earthquake Lady’ Lucy Jones Helps L.A. Prepare For ‘Big One’

The first time I mentioned Dr. Lucy Jones- aka the “Earthquake Lady”- on this blog was back on December 12, 2013. Back then, the U.S. Geological Survey seismologist was warning whoever would listen that when the “Big One” hits Southern California (59 percent chance of 7.8-magnitude San Andreas earthquake in next 30 years), the damage could be much greater and last much longer than most might imagine. But over the past year, Jones was busy helping the City of Los Angeles prepare for such a tremblor. Andrew Romano reported on the Yahoo! News website on December 12, 2014:

Her name was Lucy Jones — and as the driving force behind [L.A. Mayor Eric] Garcetti’s report, she may one day be remembered as the crusader who did more to save the earthquake-prone city of Los Angeles than anyone else. First by showing people like [L.A. Councilman Gil] Cedillo that the Big One could be 1,000 times worse than they think — and now by showing them that it doesn’t have to be.

“We can never make L.A. perfectly safe,” Jones tells Yahoo News. “But if we follow all of these recommendations, I think we will have avoided the economic collapse. I think we’ll be able to get the city up and running pretty quickly after the big earthquake. And that’s all I want.”

Jones pauses. “I’ve been looking at these problems for a third of a century,” she finally says. “This is the biggest step I’ve ever seen.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I’ve been meaning to share this piece with Survival And Prosperity readers- particularly those in Southern California- for a while now. It’s an insightful read about Dr. Jones, what Los Angeles is doing to prepare for the “Big One,” and how devastating a quake of that magnitude could be for the region and country.

You can read the entire article on the Yahoo! News website here.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Latest Prediction Of What California’s ‘Big One’ Might Look Like

Recently, I’ve talked a bit about what some earthquake experts suspect might happen to California when the “Big One” strikes.

I blogged about Dr. Lucy Jones, the “Earthquake Lady,” in December.

Then I wrote about Dr. Katherine Scharer and a disturbing $200 billion national economic loss projection in March.

A couple of days ago, I came across the following on The Week website. Frances Weaver reported on April 19:

Today, geologists say, there’s a 99.7 percent chance of a Big One of at least magnitude 6.7 striking California within the next three decades, with Southern California most at risk. Fears that a big quake is imminent in Los Angeles were stoked in March when two earthquakes, including a magnitude-5.1 quake in La Habra, cracked walls, triggered landslides, and sent furniture flying. “Sooner or later there’s going to be the Big One,” says U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) seismologist Kate Hutton.

How bad would it be?
“You would see buildings collapse, you’d see people trapped, you’d see roadways collapse,” said Kelly Huston of California’s Office of Emergency Services. “You’d see widespread destruction.” Under the USGS’s crisis scenario for a magnitude-7.8 temblor in Southern California, the soil-filled Los Angeles Basin would turn into a violently trembling Jell-O, causing major highways and airport runways to buckle, water and sewer pipes to crack, electrical and gas lines to sever, and thousands of fires to break out across the region. Those blazes could then be whipped into a frenzy by the Santa Ana winds. Fiber-optic cables running across the San Andreas would be torn apart, and infrastructure would take months, if not years, to repair. The hospitals would be swamped by 50,000 injured people, and at least 1,800 would die….

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Truly disturbing. And according to Weaver, it’s a fault line other than the San Andreas that could be more costlier and deadlier. She added:

What about other fault lines?
Though seismologists have long dreaded a San Andreas–based quake, experts now fear that a tremor on the Puente Hills fault line could cause as much — if not more — damage. Running from the suburbs of northern Orange County straight through the densest neighborhoods of the Los Angeles Basin, a 7.5 quake on the Puente Hills line would affect millions — including downtown L.A.’s 4 million residents alone — killing up to 18,000 people, causing $250 billion in damage, and leaving as many as 750,000 households homeless, according to the USGS. “This is the fault that could eat L.A.,” said USGS seismologist Sue Hough…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis )

$200 billion national economic loss projection?

Make that $250 billion if ground zero for the “Big One” happens to be on the Puente Hills fault line.

It’s a seismic feature I’ve never heard of until now, but it’s making headlines these days in the midst of all the recent shaking going on in North America. Rong-Gong Lin II reported on the Los Angeles Times website on March 29:

Experts say a major, magnitude 7.5 earthquake on the fault could do more damage to the heart of Los Angeles than the dreaded Big One on the San Andreas fault, which is on the outskirts of metropolitan Southern California…

The Puente Hills fault could be especially hazardous over a larger area because of its shape. Other local faults, like the Newport-Inglewood and Hollywood, are a collection of vertical cracks, with the most intense shaking occurring near where the fault reaches the surface. The Puente Hills is a horizontal fault, with intense shaking likely to be felt over a much larger area, roughly 25 by 15 miles…

One reason for the dire forecast is that both downtown L.A. and Hollywood are packed with old, vulnerable buildings, including those made of concrete, [USGS seismologist Lucy] Jones said.

Lin added that scientists believe the Puente Hills fault has a major earthquake roughly every 2,500 years. Unfortunately, they don’t know when the last major trembler was.

Here’s hoping Californians- particularly those in the southern portion of the state- are not only keeping abreast of all this info (I understand Puente Hills was only discovered in 1999), but acting on it as well.

Thankfully, I know of a few who are

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Weaver, Frances. “When will the Big One strike California?” The Week. 19 Apr. 2014. (http://theweek.com/article/index/260116/when-will-the-big-one-strike-california). 12 May 2014.

Lin II, Rong-Gong. “La Habra quake a reminder about dangerous Puente Hills fault.” Los Angeles Times. 29 Mar. 2014. (http://articles.latimes.com/2014/mar/29/local/la-me-0330-quake-puentehills-20140330) 12 May 2014.

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Los Angeles Named In Top 10 Most Risky Cities List

Speaking of U.S. metropolitan areas I’d be uncomfortable living in due to some significant threat to life, limb, and property, anyone hear about that overall top 10 most risky cities list just put out by the world’s second-largest reinsurance company, Swiss Reinsurance Company Ltd (Swiss Re)? Chris Michael reported on the website of The Guardian (UK) earlier today:

What are the world’s riskiest cities when it comes to natural disasters? For the insurance industry it seems an ever-more urgent question, so last year one reinsurance company set out to assess 616 cities around the world for their risk of earthquake, hurricanes and cyclones, storm surge, river flooding and tsunami. Here are Swiss Re’s overall top 10 most risky cities…

I’m not going to steal the British newspaper’s thunder here, but get a load of number 9 on Swiss Re’s list:

9) Los Angeles, United States: Its location on the San Andreas Fault makes Los Angeles one of the most earthquake-prone cities – although not as vulnerable to tsunami as might be expected. Subduction zones, where oceanic plates dive underneath the continental crust, generally create much larger tsunamis than so-called “strike-slip” faults such as the San Andreas and Northern Anatolian faults. Small comfort to the 14.7 million residents of the area threatened by earthquake…


“KTLA St Patricks Day Earthquake 3/17/2014”
YouTube Video

While an L.A. megaquake would definitely suck, I’ve been hearing more concern lately about a similar threat much further up the coast- which I’ll blog about in the coming days.

In the meantime, you can view the rest of the list here on The Guardian website.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Tuesday, March 25th, 2014 Insurance, Natural Disasters No Comments

Expert: Southern California Megaquake Possible, Economic Loss Could Exceed $200 Billion

Back around the holidays I blogged about what Dr. Lucy Jones- dubbed the “Earthquake Lady” by some- is saying these says about the “Big One” hitting Southern California.

The other day I came across another earthquake expert talking about a potential megaquake along the San Andreas fault line. Dr. Katherine Scharer gave a presentation last Wednesday night at the San Bernardino County Museum entitled “Frequency of earthquakes on the San Andreas Fault: evidence from the trenches.” From Phill Courtney of the Redlands Daily Facts on February 27:

One of the most important questions that’s now being asked, Scharer said, is the length of a possible rupture on the San Andreas, and whether a single quake could extend from the Salton Sea, on through the San Gorgonio Pass, and then to the middle of the Mojave Desert. This is the 8.0 quake that so many of the experts fear.

Current thinking, Scharer revealed, is that it could, with a devastating effect not only on Southern California’s infrastructure, but a staggering national economic loss that might exceed $200 billion.

To drive that message home, Scharer showed a moving graphic with a red glow spreading up the fault over the roughly two minutes of real time that the quake would last, along with a landscape “shaking like a bowl of jelly,” as Scharer described it. The display brought gasps from the audience, mixed with some decidedly nervous laughter.

Scharer concluded by reminding her audience that the patterns reveal trends but no specifics, because quakes “don’t happen like clockwork. The other thing to take home is that it has been a long time since the last earthquake. So are San Andreas Fault earthquakes overdue?”

The answer appears to be yes

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

$200 billion national economic loss. Wow. Just wow.

Like I wrote back on December 12:

Keep those earthquakes preparations going at full throttle, Californians. And visit The Great California Shakeout website– among other earthquake preparedness online resources- if you haven’t already.

After all, it’s only a matter of time before the “Big One” strikes.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Courtney, Phill. “Earthquake presentation shakes up audience at San Bernardino County Museum in Redlands.” Redlands Daily Facts. 27 Feb. 2014. (http://www.redlandsdailyfacts.com/general-news/20140227/earthquake-presentation-shakes-up-audience-at-san-bernardino-county-museum-in-redlands). 3 Mar. 2014.

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‘Earthquake Lady’ Warns ‘Imagine America Without Los Angeles’

The past couple of articles I’ve read that mentioned major earthquakes and California seemed to imply that the state was somewhat ready for such an event. I understand “The Golden State” has improved its earthquake readiness and response capabilities over time. However, I get the feeling there’s some complacency going around, with a lot more work still needing to be done.

Here’s what one earthquake expert- the “Earthquake Lady”- had to say this week about the “Big One” striking the southern portion of the state. From the website of CBS Los Angeles affiliates Channel 2/Channel 9 last night:

A leading earthquake expert has issued a dire warning to Californians about the expected impact of a major disruption to the San Andreas fault line.

The title of Dr. Lucy Jones’ lecture this week to the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco was “Imagine America without Los Angeles”.

As KCAL9′s Dave Bryan reports, Jones, a Science Advisor for Risk Reduction at the U.S. Geological Survey, says when the “Big One” hits Southern California, the damage could be much greater, and could last much longer, than most of us ever imagined.

“Loss of shelter, loss of schools, loss of jobs and emotional hardship. We are risking the ends of our cities,” she said during the presentation…


“Expert Warns LA Isn’t Ready For Major Earthquake”
CBS Los Angeles Video

Now, a lot of comments on the piece are saying something along the lines of “can’t wait until L.A. slides off into the Pacific Ocean.”

I know they are either kidding or haven’t thought through such statements, as only a fool could think such wholesale destruction in Southern California wouldn’t have widespread repercussions for the rest of the nation.

Anyway, keep those earthquakes preparations going at full throttle, Californians. And visit The Great California Shakeout website– among other earthquake preparedness online resources- if you haven’t already.

After all, it’s only a matter of time before the “Big One” strikes.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Thursday, December 12th, 2013 Natural Disasters, Preparedness 4 Comments
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