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Author Topic: "The Big One"
Member # 2673

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I know this probably sounds childish, but if you could humor someone who hopes to move to LA in about two year's time...

Are you guys at all scared of "The Big One"?

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Evan Esparza
IE # 214
Member # 3171

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Not at all. It's BS really...just stories people tell others to get them scared. Some will say how California has over 400 active faults or that it's about time for "The big one", but each year comes and goes and nothing suggests it'll happen.

I remember the Northridge quake clearly and that was a 6.9 (or 7 if your like me and love rounding up)

It only killed 57 people out of a possible area location of 75,000 habitants (source: Northridge real estate website!) I'd say those numbers are good.

The San Francisco quake of 89 was another 6.9 and out of a city population of millions, only 63 died directly because of the quake.

Of course the property damage is the real beast of an Earth quake. You might come out unscathed, but a lot of structural damage will be done. Frankly, I'd rather have an Earthquake to a tornado, hurricane, tsunami, or floods because California quakes only last about 10-90 seconds tops and just think of it like you're surfing the carpet.

The "Big One" doesn't scare me in the least. I have no doubt we'll continue to get Earth quakes, because that's just what Cali does...but I strongly criticize the fact that we'll get a so called "MEGA QUAKE", which is the result of all the active faults going off at once. Nothing higher than a 9+ will happen. Why? Because the faults arent that stressed. They'll rumble a few times but just because you see a picture of two faults going over each other doesn't mean it'll trigger anything. The Earth's crust is always moving, so obviously a few farts escape that can be silent and deadly, but it wont ever be the same magnitude as a disaster like Katrina.

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Member # 2369

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I don't worry about this either. I live in a small wooden house, and I am not surrounded by any large building that might smite me. But when I'm trekking through a parking structure I have the seed of what if in the back of my mind.

As I understand it (And i could be misinformed) the difference between an 8 point quake and a 9 pointer is significant.

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Edward Webb
Member # 3209

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A 9.0 is ten times as strong as an 8.0.

I live in Cali, but in Central Cali, not Southern. I don't have any problem living where I do, but I wouldn't relocate to LA - more for reasons of smog, overpopulation and cost of living than earthquakes, though.

Besides, earthquakes are fun.

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IE # 93
Member # 25

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As we who live here know,So. Cal is constantly vulnerable to siesmic activity of moderate magnitudes. Larger,more memorable events seem to occur in the area once in a generation, as we have seen with Long Beach,(1933), Tehachapi(1952) Sylmar, (1971) and Northridge(1994). While I agree that they do not always cause enormous loss of life, they can be costly mofo's in terms of injury/property/infrasructural damage; and,since a really big one could occur at any time, it IS imperative to be as prepared as possible.
Supposedly, we in L.A.(from what I have read) live in one of the three most earthquake prepared cities in the world, behind either Tokyo and San Francisco/or Taipei. The caveat? We WERE before FEMA was restructured under Homeland Security reducing the # of FEMA gov't officials for this purpose from 34( as there were with Northridge) to only TWO.(This according to an interview I saw recently with siesmologist Lucy Jones of Cal-Tech)

Years ago I read a book called "On Shaky Ground"
by John Nance. It was written before the 1994 Northridge quake, but in it he devotes a whole chapter to the extreme siesmic vulnerablity of the Puget Sound area of the PNW.
This seems to be reiterated in this link..

I am not young enough to know everything- Oscar Wilde

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IE # 49
Member # 279

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I don't worry about this either. I live in a small wooden house, and I am not surrounded by any large building that might smite me.
One thing to remember, and I try to remember this myself is: It may not be simply a matter of living or dying. Look at all the people in New Orleans who where not killed by the initial hurricane, but were left without food, water medication, etc. I'm always thinking, "well, if I survive the intial quake, how long will I be in isolation? Do I have food and water in the house?". How long before power is restored? etc. Again, things we all need to think about. Oh, well. Today I donated blood for the umpteenth time, so maybe when I am in need, the Karma will come back. Maybe.


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Brian Reynolds
IE # 50
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Thanks alot Bronnie. I'm gonna go hide under the couch for awhile now.

-Brian Reynolds

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IE # 93
Member # 25

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Hey Brian-- So, you and TW are in the PNW area these days? Sorry ,didn't mean to alarm anyone.. [Wink]
It's gorgeous up must love it.It's just that you've gotta be prepared; that's all you CAN do. From what I hear, (cousin- in-law's an EMT in the area)a lot of people up there are not ready, but you might as well be among those who are.
I do have several family members living near Puget Sound, actually. Shortly after the '94 quake down here, my aunt and uncle visited me from Poulsbo,WA. I guess I alarmed them, as well, because as soon as they got home, they bolted everything down and put latches on cupboards.etc.,as I had done in advance by the time Northridge hit. When a good shaker hit them a few years ago, they were glad they had done all that boring "prep" stuff in advance,too!

I am not young enough to know everything- Oscar Wilde

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IE # 11
Member # 222

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The Big One usually refers to a major quake on the San Andreas fault. Not as major as once thought, as they now believe it wouldn't be more than 7.6. But that's still pretty big.

The fault crosses I-5 between Gorman and Frazier Park, 14 near S street, I-15 at the intersection of I-215 in San Bernardino, and I-10 around Banning.

The closer you are, the more likely you are to experience serious shaking. Downtown LA is about 60 miles away, and is not thought to be in serious danger from that particular fault. It *is* in danger from lesser faults that are closer.

If you don't live or work in an old brick building, or a wood building with cantilevered floors, you'll probably ride any earthquake out just fine.

It don't really matter where you live in the US, there's always some way for mother nature to gitcha.

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Member # 1566

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Maybe it's cuz I grew up here, but the notion of earhtquakes bother me less than other natural disasters. Yes, you can't predict when they'll happen, but they're here then gone, and you deal with the aftermath.

I can't remember a 90 second quake - ever. The '89 Loma Prieta in the Bay Area was a magnitude 7 and only lasted 15 seconds. People tend to overestimate how long quakes last since they are definitely adrenalizing events...

I lived it Florida for a couple of years, and it weirded me out to watch a hurricane approaching on the news for days, yet Florida natives took it in stride. Same thing here with quakes, I suppose.

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the Moderator
Member # 5

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Yeah, Bronnie, we're up here and can't get enough of the difference from LA. Much improved.

Fortunately we're located about 20 miles south of where that article indicated would be worst-case ground zero, so if Seattle falls apart we'd hopefully not be isolated in the middle of the primary mess.

And here I thought that we were pretty much secure from anymore major environmental disruptions...

-the Moderator
-Brian Reynolds


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