Saturday, June 24, 2006

Perspectives in California Earthquakes

Living with California's Zipper, the San Andreas Fault, for half a century tends to give perspective. If healthy respect is the most I can generate from living in one of the most seismically active regions of the planet, what hope does a group of rag-tag religious fanatics hiding in caves have to scare me?

The news predicting a major earthquake in Southern California was old news for me. I have known about the blockage in the fault at what is known as the "Big Bend" since I was a child. When it slips, and it will, the Pacific tectonic plate will shift 30 feet northward and 24 million people will experience one hell of a shaking.

Earthquakes, to me, are as common as snowfalls in Buffalo. This map is too large and detailed to reproduce on Blogger. It marks with a red dot each of the 140,000 Southern California earthquakes recorded in a 15 year period (1978-1992). That's right, about three 30 earthquakes a day. Most are tiny and hardly felt, some, like Northridge in 1994, do this.

The Big One will be about 1000 times more powerful than the Northridge quake. It will make Katrina look like a Mardi Gras parade. As for the worst that Bin Laden can do ... pffft.

tags: ,

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Up here near Babylon by the Bay they predict the next "big one" will be on the Hayward fault--perhaps the easiest fault in the world to find. Check any map, and trace the route of I-680 from Hayward up through Berkeley. The fault runs parallel through an area of 2 million people and 4 refineries.