15 April 2008

The Big One

Get ready California! Suddenly everyone is talking about yesterday's announcement that the state has a 99.7 percent chance of experiencing a magnitude 6.7 quake or larger in the next 30 years. "It basically guarantees it's going to happen," said Ned Field, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Pasadena. The announcement was made at USC at the same time as a press conference in San Francisco, and if you keep reading the article, you'll notice that - surprise! - we have a 50% chance of being struck by a magnitude 7.5 quake, which would be nearly 30 times stronger than the 1994 Northridge earthquake. Better find something to hold onto!

Despite the fact that this information is probably scaring my friends and family quite a bit, I find the whole thing fascinating. I've always enjoyed the earth sciences, and I still vividly remember learning about plate tectonics, volcanoes, and earthquakes in grade school. Did everyone else enjoy making that papier mache volcano in 4th grade as much as I did? I can't recall the name of some of my teachers but I sure remember how much fun it was to pour the vinegar on top of that baking soda.

By all means, please, if you have suggestions about what we should do in our 4th floor apartment* to prepare for "The Big One" that is coming ANY DAY NOW (in the next 30 years), let me know via email or just post them here. In the mean time, I will be playing with the Emergency Survival Kits that we just got at work....these things have freeze-dried food rations! And expandable heat blankets! In the event of an earthquake, all I need to do is grab this, throw the wonderMac and my cat in my Timbuk2, and I'll be ready to go....

My camera phone isn't great but it gets the job done....here is the awesome Emergency Kit

*Also, if anyone has any suggestions for a name for our 4th floor apartment, let me know as well. We are having a hard time finding one.


myriam said...

Earthquake "magnitude" is subjective in the sense that it can feel stronger / do more damage depending on where it is located with respect to plate tectonics and depending on which strata of the earth it is in (and what the makeup of the earth's crust at that point is). So even though Northridge was only like a 5.6 or something, I think supposedly it somehow felt or acted a lot stronger, if I recall correctly. Granted this is like 15 year old memories dragging up here so I might be wrong, but I thought that was the case. So the magnitudes can be a little deceiving.

Do you know where/how to take cover in your particular apartment? Also, make sure all your bookcases are anchored to the wall at the top--trust me, you don't want those things tipping over, especially if they're between you and the door!

treekiller said...

to put earthquake risks in perspective, realize that more folks are killed every year by tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, blizzards, and other midwestern/east coast weather phenomena then were killed in the last big california earthquake - northridge. And that happened 14 years ago. So if 100 folks die in the next30 years, even if 1000 folks get killed californian will still be ahead.