Join 3,559 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Are you ready to RUMBLE?
January 17, 2014 10:53 AM   Subscribe

What Neil deGrasse Tyson is to astrophysics, Lucy Jones is to seismology. "The last time there was a large seismic event on the fault that can do us the most harm, the San Andreas, in 1857, Los Angeles had about 4,000 residents. “We really weren’t worried about keeping a complex social structure in place,” Jones said. But as we get bigger and more complex, we increase our vulnerability." Jones presented her talk, “Imagine America Without Los Angeles” to the American Geophysical Union Conference in San Francisco in 2013. While today is the 20th anniversary of the Northridge quake, we still haven't quite figured out what to do to mitigate the effects of the BIG ONE to come.

Perhaps 1 in 100 buildings in this region would collapse after the Big One. Far more vulnerable is our underground infrastructure of utilities. Municipal water lines were installed as much as a century ago. They are decaying and would break in a quake. We increasingly rely on the Internet and cellular telephone technology for communication, and there is no guarantee those would be up after a big earthquake — especially, Jones said, because there’s no legal requirement that cell towers be seismically strong.

And one hour after the anniversary of the quake that destroyed my parent's home in Northridge and sent freeways plummeting into chasms and dust clouds billowing up through the unlit sky, we had a tiny jolt that woke us up at 5:27 a.m. PST this morning. It was shallow at 2 miles deep under Studio City, only 12 miles from the Northridge epicenter.
posted by Sophie1 (68 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
Complicating matters, recent studies of the Hollywood fault have been met with public jeers about NIMBYism. LA likes to brush off little quakes, and it shows (our landlord rolled his eyes when we asked about the foundation of our place, which hasn't been reinforced since it cracked in the Northridge quake). Richard Riordan, who was they mayor of LA at the time, has said in more recent interviews that LA wasn't ready for Northridge and, in the time that has elapsed since it happened, the city has forgotten the urgency that the aftermath seemed to temporarily spark in terms of retrofitting systems for better preparedness.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 11:06 AM on January 17 [2 favorites]


Infrastructure crossing the fault line seems problematic, but there's still 70+ miles of land to temper the Big One in LA from the San Andreas.

I always understood that an earthquake from the fault recently discovered under downtown, or from the fault that the residents of Beverly Hills refuse to recognize goes under BHHS, would be much more devastating, to the point that there was academic discussion about Alquist-Priolo'ing Century City.
posted by hwyengr at 11:08 AM on January 17


But I do believe that Caltrans would have temporary pavement reconnecting the 5 and 15 on both sides within a few days. Temporary pavement goes down fast.
posted by hwyengr at 11:11 AM on January 17


Ok... imagining America without Los Angeles.
Still imagining...

*shrug*
posted by markkraft at 11:14 AM on January 17 [4 favorites]


Also not ready for an earthquake:
Seattle.
New York.
Oklahoma.

Ready for an earthquake:
Oregon.
posted by pencroft at 11:15 AM on January 17


@pencroft

Don't forget about Chicago.
posted by AlexiaSky at 11:17 AM on January 17


I live in the Bay Area and have been thinking hard on this subject a lot recently. The point about the infrastructure and utilities is one that is commonly overlooked when people talk about earthquakes, probably due to the drama of the event. What I see discussed even less is the fires that can potentially follow in the wake of an earthquake. I'm sure there are plans in place, but given LA's problems with water, and California's current and ongoing drought, I'd prefer to hear a lot more reassurances from state agencies than I have been.
posted by lekvar at 11:17 AM on January 17


*shrug*

You'll lose access to the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, which handle most of the imports from Asia, and all fiber connections to the Pacific Rim.
posted by hwyengr at 11:22 AM on January 17 [5 favorites]


Indeed lekvar.

This is Balboa Blvd. north of Rinaldi today.

This is the same location in 1994.
posted by Sophie1 at 11:24 AM on January 17 [1 favorite]


I've got friends up in Seattle and Bellingham and have been idly thinking about moving out that way for ages, but every time I think about the kind of place I could rent on my budget and how it would hold up in the overdue quake that nobody seems to take all that seriously, it certainly gives me pause.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:32 AM on January 17


Wouldn't it take out the MPAA and the RIAA? Hello, Silver Lining!
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:36 AM on January 17


Dr. Lucy!

Man, my dad has such a crush on Dr. Lucy. Every time there's the tiniest quake, he turns on the news to see if they've gotten Dr. Lucy to talk about it.

My dad also lives in a 1920s' Spanish-style bungalow that barely stands as it is, what with the various quakes and termites and trees springing up everywhere.

So the next big quake in L.A. is more than likely going to topple it, and I will lose that perfect hexagon bathroom tile, the iron heater, and the front knocker. I'll lose my high school birthday parties, my afternoons in the garden, the time the possum fell out of the tree, the other time a chicken moved into the backyard just because it could, the soft and hazy weekend mornings with the bright sun floating into the living room, the stray cats who hung out by the side steps, the giant cactus, the bright blue of my bedroom, the Star Trek action figure dioramas in the dining room, and so much more.

So, yeah, America without Los Angeles? Kind of a big fucking deal to me.
posted by Katemonkey at 11:39 AM on January 17 [20 favorites]


*shrug*

Imagine America without tens of thousands of people who live in Los Angeles.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:39 AM on January 17 [4 favorites]


"You'll lose access to the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, which handle most of the imports from Asia, and all fiber connections to the Pacific Rim."

So, it'll be hard to get the latest manga from Japan, and fansubs and scanlations might be delayed somewhat, but Crunchyroll, which is hosted somewhere near San Jose, is okay.
posted by markkraft at 11:39 AM on January 17


"The last time there was a large seismic event on the fault that can do us the most harm, the San Andreas..."

That's a bit of a subjective judgement!

“Imagine America Without Los Angeles”

Just try and stop me!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:41 AM on January 17


Imagine America without tens of thousands of people who live in Los Angeles.

They could always move. The problem is they would have to move to other communities.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:42 AM on January 17


Imagine America without tens of thousands of people who live in Los Angeles.

The population of Los Angeles is something like 3.5 million. If we go with the concept that only tens of thousands of them are people, presumably the remaining 3.48 million are those space nazi that Iran's news agency has been talking about this week.
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:43 AM on January 17


I believe justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow was estimating a death toll of "tens of thousands."
posted by hyperizer at 11:45 AM on January 17


Wow, people are kind of being assholes in this thread.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:45 AM on January 17 [22 favorites]


Here's the thing. There are about 13 million of us in the Greater Los Angeles area. Some of us are not going to make it. Only 60 died during Northridge, but that was also only (!) a 6.7 and it occurred on a holiday at 4:30 a.m.

If we get something above a 7, especially if it happens during the work and school day, there are going to be a lot of casualties. A lot.
posted by Sophie1 at 11:45 AM on January 17 [3 favorites]


After checking, it looks like L.A. doesn't host all the fiber connections to the Pacific Rim.
posted by markkraft at 11:45 AM on January 17 [1 favorite]


Wow, people are kind of being assholes in this thread.

To be fair, it's not just this thread. But I think (I hope) 99.9% of it is just dark humor.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:47 AM on January 17 [4 favorites]


After checking, it looks like L.A. doesn't host all the fiber connections to the Pacific Rim.

Yeah, you're right. I'm sure nobody will notice 27 Tbps of capacity going offline.
posted by hwyengr at 11:57 AM on January 17 [2 favorites]


Oh, that's right, it's time to update the earthquake kit. We have several days worth of food and water, all with a year expiration date, so we eat it and refresh it every year. It's kinda fun, especially since we found out that Pringles are one of the foods with a superannual expiration. When the big one comes, we'll be popping our chip tubes as we survey the wreckage.
posted by klangklangston at 11:59 AM on January 17 [4 favorites]


I'm sure nobody will notice 27 Tbps of capacity going offline.

It's not like they can't rewire it once the smoke clears.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:00 PM on January 17


I am sure that Memphis, St. Louis, and Little Rock are all totally ready for an event at the New Madrid fault too, right?
posted by norm at 12:01 PM on January 17 [2 favorites]


As a Northern Californian, I tend to view the situation with a certain degree of fatalism... combined with a natural, friendly loathing of L.A.

Earthquakes are unavoidable. Shō ga nai. It would be nice, especially, if apartment owners would fix up their buildings, which everyone knows aren't nearly safe enough... but they won't, because they have a lot of pull. Real estate in general has major pull in California, which is why we have Prop 7, proposed by an anti-tax real estate speculator as a way of supposedly helping old people stay in their home, but actually used to permanently benefit landlords and as a kind of "I've got mine" institutionalized generational theft that keeps the state on the verge of financial insolvency. Shō ga nai.

Absolutely nothing will be done about the situation until thousands of people die and tens of thousands are left homeless, while landlords jack up rents on the remaining rentals... and by that time, it'll be a bit late, I suspect.

I'd love to be proved wrong, of course, but...
posted by markkraft at 12:02 PM on January 17 [2 favorites]


Jesus crackers, can we stop with the "Los Angeles sucks/Los Angelenos are subhuman" comments in this thread?
posted by queensissy at 12:03 PM on January 17 [16 favorites]


I got a painful laugh out of the description of Lucy. Among people who have direct knowledge of her blinding narcissism, the line is that the most dangerous place to be after an earthquake is between Lucy and a TV camera (and oh by the way, at those times, the serious scientists are busy doing work).
posted by ambient2 at 12:05 PM on January 17


It's OK, it's kind of a predictable reaction from insecurity. Sort of like how people in San Francisco love to hate on LA, but most folks in LA couldn't give a shit about what SF thinks about them. (Or, as a more extreme example, when the MLB tried to set up the Dodgers as the Detroit Tigers' NL "rival," which some folks in Detroit got excited about, but LA never even noticed.)
posted by klangklangston at 12:05 PM on January 17 [5 favorites]


Yeah, I get the urge to joke, especially as someone who lives in LA and jokes so she doesn't curl under the desk in abject fear, but "no big loss, eh?" comments are kind of insensitive and assholish. There are a lot of us who live here, and for a lot of us it's not outside the realm of probability that a big earthquake could kill us or our families.

I feel like I've been thinking about the possibility of a devastating earthquake more and more, because we just seem really ominously overdue for it. People seem to be alarmingly blase about earthquake preparation, and I get why, because it's not like hurricanes or tornadoes or wildfires, where you have a reasonable expectation that around a certain time of year you may get hit with one so you should be prepared. You just have your earthquake preparedness kit and hope that whatever building you're in can ride it out. That inspires a certain amount of fatalism that's just not conducive to enacting big reforms like retrofitting old buildings.
posted by yasaman at 12:06 PM on January 17 [2 favorites]


MetaFilter: people are kind of being assholes in this thread
posted by mazola at 12:08 PM on January 17 [3 favorites]


klangklangston, you just made my day with the Pringles info! I updated our earthquake kit last week, and was looking at the "food" squares in there with a certain amount of trepidation...
posted by queensissy at 12:10 PM on January 17 [1 favorite]


Wow, people are kind of being assholes in this thread.

MetaFilter: God Bless America. Except California.
posted by mazola at 12:10 PM on January 17 [1 favorite]


With a little luck, California's early warning system could be up and running before the next large San Andreas event. There would still be a lot of damage and the same post-earthquake worries about Southern California being cut off (no ports, no traffic, no water) apply, but it would be likely to mitigate some of the immediate impact and save some lives.
posted by scottcal at 12:11 PM on January 17 [1 favorite]


The cost of earthquake proofing has gotta be one hell of a lot less than the cost of earthquake recovery from a quake of that scale.

Here's a wonderfully vivid article about a theoretical Portland quake that does a good job of communicating the scale, especially the aftermath.
posted by jason_steakums at 12:12 PM on January 17


Jones presented her talk, “Imagine America Without Los Angeles”

Oh now you're just trolling for attention with a title like that!
posted by Theta States at 12:17 PM on January 17


As a third generation native Angelena who has directly survived Sylmar and Northridge, I tend to be as prepped as possible. I will buy Pringles tonight klangklangston as currently we have nothing to go with the tuna pouches. Also, as I always remind people - duct tape and latex gloves.


As for Lucy Jones - eh, I'm a huge fan of Dr. Kate Hutton, frankly. On June 12, 2005 we had the Anza quake (5.2) and Kate was supposed to be in the L.A. Pride Parade that morning with the queer scientist contingent. They all had signs saying "Hi Kate" for the news cameras.
posted by Sophie1 at 12:22 PM on January 17


Ok, ok, I apologise for the LA jokes. I enjoy LA as much as the next guy. But seriously, infrastructure across America is in terrible shape and all needs upgrading. No major metro areas are ready for a natural disaster, LA just happens to get earthquakes whereas the east coast might get hurricanes and the middle gets tornadoes and earthquakes and floods and droughts and hurricanes (along the gulf coast part) and locust swarms and blizzards and lutefisk shortages.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:26 PM on January 17


I plan to spend the weekend updating my emergency supplies (thanks, MLK!). Maybe I will finally make a kit for my workplace and my car!

Queensissy I cannot handle the weird emergency foods too. I have started just checking the expiry dates of all the foods I normally eat and enjoy, to see what we can add. Usually our kit (me and klang's) consists of Pringles, some giant cans of mixed nuts, some vegetarian jerky, applesauce in plastic containers, and dried fruits. I also noticed just this year that KIND bars have a yearlong expiration date so I think they will join the kit in 2014.
posted by holyrood at 12:26 PM on January 17 [2 favorites]


Among people who have direct knowledge of her blinding narcissism

Huh. I didn't know that, but it gives insight into the dig that Anotonovich leveled during a Metro board meeting that related her advice as equal to "asking the weather girl on how to secure your house during a hurricane"
posted by hwyengr at 12:30 PM on January 17


Holyrood - tuna pouches!!! They're good for 3-5 years.
posted by Sophie1 at 12:32 PM on January 17


the economic and political fallout from a los angeles earthquake would be incalculable - it could well trigger a depression and when our unprepared government fails to respond adequately to the massive suffering in l a - or the secondary effects ...

katrina was nothing compared to what this would be
posted by pyramid termite at 12:38 PM on January 17


Or the snootiness?

Physician, heal thyself.
posted by Bookhouse at 12:38 PM on January 17 [1 favorite]


Lucy! I have a science crush on her. My crippling fear of earthquakes (and math) made me change my mind, but for a long time I wanted to be a geologic bc of her. Growing up in LA, yes, she was a major part of any earthquake experience. First thing, turn on the and find out what Lucy (and Kate) have to say. Also, it's been adorable to watch her kid grow up. Earthquakes would happen (well, all the time, but) in the middle of the night and she' be on TV at 4am, holding a sleeping toddler, asking the news people to quiet down so they wouldn't wake the baby.
posted by atomicstone at 12:42 PM on January 17


LA is a lot more prepared for a big earthquake than anyplace else in the US though. Im pretty sure they have plans to deal with the fucking incredibly obvious infrastructure issues. Plus people are used to shit falling over, burning down and getting washed away in SoCal. They deal with it very calmly and sensibly compared to anywhere else I've ever lived.

And, despite all the shit they get, Caltrans is probably the single best Well That Happened infrastructure-fixing organization in the world. They have a lot of practice!
posted by fshgrl at 12:48 PM on January 17 [3 favorites]


the economic and political fallout from a los angeles earthquake would be incalculable

How could we know this? Sure, a total and absolute destruction of the 100+ square mile area included in the LA metro area would certainly be catastrophic, but what kind of quake would it take to accomplish that? Ageing infrastructure or not, I assume LA is somewhat more prepared than San Francisco in 1906.

katrina was nothing compared to what this would be

The issue with Katrina wasn't the initial hurricane, it was the massive flooding that went on for weeks due to the levee break, of course New Orleans was way smaller at it's peak than LA, but LA doesn't sit below sea level either. That said, the Northridge damage was estimated at $50 million while Katrina cost around twice that.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 1:07 PM on January 17 [1 favorite]


I took CERT training from LAFD a few years back, and during the section on earthquakes, they told us in the event of a 7+ earthquake we should expect to be completely on our own for a week or more before getting any help from emergency services. That was a bit of a wakeup call for me, a Chicago transplant.

I checked my kit this morning: candles, matches, crank flashlight, multitool, 9 person-days of food, a gallon of water, first aid kit, work gloves, vinyl gloves, duct tape, 6 emergency blankets, a handful of ponchos, plastic tarp, whistle, nylon cord and more, all in a small backpack. Plus another (minimum) 15 gallons of water in the house, a small camping stove, an Annihilator and two GMRS radios (with plans to get an amateur radio license).

I'm not a doomsday prepper, but I realized I would feel really dumb the day after a big quake if I hadn't done any preparation at all while living in SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA.

(I find people's opinions on LA to be a useful marker of how well they can think for themselves and not accept media portrayals uncritically. E.g., Werner Herzog calls Los Angeles "the most culturally substantial city".)
posted by jjwiseman at 1:13 PM on January 17 [8 favorites]


As far as LA infrastructure goes, it does not instill confidence when 2 or 3 days of rain causes roads to close, phones to go dead and lights to go out.
posted by jjwiseman at 1:28 PM on January 17


Huh. I didn't know that, but it gives insight into the dig that Anotonovich leveled during a Metro board meeting that related her advice as equal to "asking the weather girl on how to secure your house during a hurricane"

Uh, Jones is a former Secretary of the Seismology Section of the American Geophysical Union, has a Ph.D in geophysics from MIT and is currently Chief Scientist of the USGS Multi-Hazards Demonstration Project for Southern California. That "weather girl" crack is some sexist fucking bullshit.
posted by yoink at 1:56 PM on January 17 [12 favorites]


As a native daughter of a native daughter, I will admit that it is hard to get worked up about a Big One that has been coming but never arrived since my mother was born. I'm not saying I don't understand the reasonableness of getting the kit together, but it is very difficult to feel urgency in your day-to-day life.
posted by dame at 2:25 PM on January 17 [1 favorite]


"Also, as I always remind people - duct tape and latex gloves."

Yeah, but what about an earthquake kit?
posted by klangklangston at 2:31 PM on January 17 [4 favorites]


Oh, I have a fully kitted out go bag and shelter in place box. I mention those because people often forget and they can be really useful.
posted by Sophie1 at 2:50 PM on January 17


The cost of earthquake proofing has gotta be one hell of a lot less than the cost of earthquake recovery from a quake of that scale.

Sure, but the cost of preparing is borne solely by the property owner, whereas the the cost of recovery is shared among the owner, tenants, government aid and insurance companies. And That cost may not be realized while the property is being held.

The word is "perverse incentives".

And the LA hate is a little disturbing even as it is amusing. But it is not new.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 2:51 PM on January 17


DAMNIT POGO! YOU BEAT ME TO IT BY 24 minutes...

"Learn to swim!"
posted by symbioid at 3:15 PM on January 17


Depending on where in the grocery-acquisition cycle any major earthquake strikes will determine whether we have near-total self-sufficiency (even without electricity) for 2+ weeks or merely a couple days.

I think our major gap in preparation (the house having survived since 1957 entirely unscathed, one of the great advantages of being married to a geologist is we checked the house *and* land it was sitting on with professional-level skill) is we need to get a solar powered charger for our various mobile devices. With one of those and a quake the day after a big Vons.com delivery, we should be well situated.
posted by chimaera at 3:39 PM on January 17


norm: "I am sure that Memphis, St. Louis, and Little Rock are all totally ready for an event at the New Madrid fault too, right?"

We are 100% unprepared, but there's a lot that's pretty mysterious about the New Madrid fault and we're not really sure how much damage to expect how often from it, since it hasn't really bothered anybody since the one time in 1811-1812 when it rang church bells in Philadelphia. If we get another quake that big, the devastation will be so catastrophic and widespread that it's basically not worth contemplating, and will probably shut down most of the agricultural transport system for the whole country. (It's not totally clear! There's a lot we don't know about how earthquakes in the New Madrid propagate in our loose glacial soils around here -- the fault is a couple hundred feet down, not under rock, but under muting glacial till -- and what that looks like on the surface!) But it's a very young fault (under 100,000 years) and some scientists think it's shutting down because it's not really moving. But maybe not! It's hard to study. So we spend our disaster preparedness money on blizzards, tornadoes, and floods, which have 100% probability, rather than the Horrible Earthquake with 10% probability. But yeah, Memphis would be completely liquified, it'd be super-bad.

On the West Coast, however, earthquakes are a much more predictable threat and earthquake preparedness saves lives even in smaller quakes.

Actually, this is a good fact: "Due to the harder, colder, drier and less fractured nature of the rocks in the earth’s crust in the central United States, earthquakes in this region shake and damage an area approximately 20 times larger than earthquakes in California and most other active seismic areas. Even though large earthquakes occur much less frequently in the NMSZ than in California, the long term average quake threat, in terms of square miles affected per century, is about the same because of the approximately 20 times larger area affected in the central United States."

But no, I'm pretty sure the New Madrid will kill me dead, if Yellowstone erupting doesn't get me first, as long as I never visit California again because I'm totally certain that the minute I step off my airplane, The Big One will dump California into the sea with me on top of it because earthquakes are TERRIFYING. I obsessively and morbidly read everything the disaster people publish about New Madrid because I find them so terrifying, and I just read a 200-page book about The Big One in San Francisco because apparently I like to give myself the willies.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 3:46 PM on January 17 [2 favorites]


Sure, but the cost of preparing is borne solely by the property owner, whereas the the cost of recovery is shared among the owner, tenants, government aid and insurance companies. And That cost may not be realized while the property is being held.

The word is "perverse incentives".


Ideally this is the perfect place for federal funding to step in, for cold hard long-term national interest reasons if nothing else, because the cost of the disaster would impact the country as a whole significantly. Pretty good make-work program potential, too. But, yeah, eminently sensible on one hand and never gonna happen on the other.
posted by jason_steakums at 4:55 PM on January 17


I clicked on the comments here because I thought, perhaps, that Metafilter might be big enough not to say a lot of insensitive and asshole-ish things about my former city when it comes to an earthquake that would kill thousands.

Turns out, nope. Even on Metafilter, people suck.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 6:21 PM on January 17 [1 favorite]


The Northridge quake was the scariest, most intense thing that has ever happened to me, easily topping a screaming person pointing a gun in my face and threatening to kill me. I don’t get rattled too easily. And it wasn’t that big of a quake.

The early 90’s was not a great time to live in L.A. But then again...
posted by bongo_x at 10:18 PM on January 17


On the other hand, c'mon, Angelinos, no need to get total sads over a bit of cliche.
posted by klangklangston at 11:00 PM on January 17


I have to wonder what the reaction would be to a bunch of assholes saying New Orleans totally deserves to get flooded again.
posted by happyroach at 11:34 PM on January 17 [1 favorite]


There certainly were a lot of comments at the time saying New Orleans should be abandoned permanently rather than continuing to sink money and resources into the never ending and eventually unwinnable fight against rising sea levels and sinking land.
posted by Mitheral at 11:40 PM on January 17 [1 favorite]


markkraft: "After checking, it looks like L.A. doesn't host all the fiber connections to the Pacific Rim."

Wow, that's a big pipe they are laying in the Artic. I guess if you are laying fiber across the ocean you might as well lay a big fat pipe.
posted by Mitheral at 11:52 PM on January 17


9 person-days of food, a gallon of water

Are you assuming that water won't be a problem, but you'll need 9 days of food? That seems like not enough water, for sure
posted by thelonius at 12:43 AM on January 18


"...the Northridge damage was estimated at $50 million while Katrina cost around twice that."

Just for the record, and politely, both sources wiki; Northridge earthquake-caused property damage was estimated to be more than $20 billion, Katrina total property damage was estimated at $81 billion.

I lived through Loma Prieta and let me say first of all that earthquakes are really really disconcerting.

Our infrastructure is crubmbling. Assigning the "expense" of an earthquake to our failing infrastructure might find clicks on the internet but it ignores that shit has gotten old.

That said.

Here's a not fun fact: During the 1906 earthquake in the San Francisco region, roads, fences, and rows of trees and bushes that crossed the fault were offset several yards, and the road across the head of Tomales Bay was offset almost 21 feet . Geologists believe that the total accumulated displacement from earthquakes and creep is at least 350 miles along the San Andreas fault since it came into being about 15-20 million years ago

If you use the SF quake as a standard "big one" meaning 21 feet displacement - and divide that over 350 miles - spread over the higher estimate of 20 million years you end up with a "big one" every 227 years.

San Andreas is a strike-slip fault, the least dangerous. Seattle on the other hand is near a thrust fault, the most dangerous.
posted by vapidave at 1:34 AM on January 18


"Just for the record, and politely, both sources wiki; Northridge earthquake-caused property damage was estimated to be more than $20 billion, Katrina total property damage was estimated at $81 billion."

Converted for inflation, that would have put Northridge at about $39 billion in 2005 dollars.
posted by klangklangston at 10:31 AM on January 18


Are you assuming that water won't be a problem, but you'll need 9 days of food? That seems like not enough water, for sure.

"Plus another (minimum) 15 gallons of water in the house."
posted by jjwiseman at 12:29 PM on January 18


« Older Ever been to Johnsburg, Illinois? Have you receiv...  |  Almost alone among developed n... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments