Over the past few days, earthquakes have become the topic of conversation and worry.
The first earthquake to hit Southern California was on July 4th near Ridgecrest 110 miles north of Los Angeles registering at a 6.4 magnitude. Then a second earthquake hit on July 5th at a 7.1 magnitude. The authorities are calling it a miracle that no one was killed or seriously damaged after the quakes. There was damage to people’s homes, foundations, homes have shifted, there is interior damage to furniture and belongings. Besides the damage to homes, there were fires, power outages, and water and gas leaks.
Magnitude is the amount of seismic energy released at the hypocenter of the earthquake. A magnitude of 6.0 to 6.9 is considered a strong earthquake that may cause a lot of damage in a populated area. While 7.0 to 7.9 is considered a major earthquake with serious damage.
The Big One
There has been much talk amongst individuals as to the “big one”. When is it going to hit California and that according to experts it is past due.
Neither of these recent earthquakes was along the San Andreas fault line. Which means that they are not the “big one” that has been referenced in the last few years.
The San Andreas Fault has seen large earthquakes every 150 years. istorically the two
Historically, the last two largest known earthquakes from the San Andreas were in 1812, and the most recent was in 1857. Which is 45 years between the two but 160 years since the last one. This timeline is why many are nervous and panicked after the recent mother nature events.
How is California Preparing?
The state has been working on a statewide early alert system; the Shake Alert System provided by the California Integrated Seismic Network. It would serve as a warning system to the public but also is connected to critical infrastructure systems. As an example, the train system is one system that would be automatically shut down by this system.
Unfortunately for these two seismic activities, the prototype alert system was not set off. The epicenter was not in the city of Los Angeles so the shaking was below a 4.5, which wouldn’t have alerted the system. The system was currently set to go off in the event of a 5.0 or greater.
These Earthquakes are Reminders
The earthquakes are reminders that being prepared is the first step. It also is a notice of the damage that an earthquake can do.
In being prepared be sure to have water, non-perishable food, and supplies easily accessible if needed. Be sure to know how to safely turn off water and gas in your home.
In October 2015, Los Angeles passed seismic regulations requiring commercial buildings to be earthquake retrofitted. However, earthquake retrofitting applies to residential homes as well.
While aftershocks are much smaller earthquakes that follow a larger earthquake, in this case with two large earthquakes, hitting it makes people’s homes more susceptible to aftershock damage. The foundation and stability of the homes anchoring to the foundation are of vast importance. Therefore, having your home or business inspected before any seismic activity is a great safety precaution.