A Los Angeles earthquake warning has many Californians asking, is the Big One coming? Late last week, an earthquake advisory was issued by the California Office of Emergency Services after more than 140 seismic events occurred.
According to experts, residents in the following counties should be on high alert for the possibility of a major earthquake: Los Angeles, Ventura, San Diego, San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange, and Kern.
The U.S. Geological Survey said that the warning would be in effect until Tuesday, October 4. The California Governor’s Director of Emergency Services reminds those in Southern California to be prepared for earthquakes.
Scientists fear that during the seven-day period following the high number of temblors the likelihood of a magnitude-7 or greater earthquake being triggered on the southern San Andreas fault is as high as 1 in 100 and as low as 1 in 3,000. For most of 2016, the average chance of such an earthquake striking on any given week was 1 in 6,000.
OES Director Mark Ghilarducci said there had been a swarm of quakes – over 35 mini-quakes that occurred last week, which has many believe that a “megaquake” on the San Andreas might be looming. A majority of the small earthquakes occurred deep under the Salton Sea, which is situated on the 800-mile-long San Andreas fault.
According to OES, the largest earthquake recorded last week by the U.S. Geological Survey was magnitude 4.3 and was centered 35 miles (58 kilometers) northwest of El Centro. The smallest one measured 1.4 on the Richter scale.
In an interview, Thomas Jordan, director of the Southern California Earthquake Centre, said the fault has been “too quiet” since 1857. This was when an earthquake magnitude 7.9 on the Richter scale shook California.
Ghilarducci said Californians should know what to do in case of a major quake. He shared:
“California is earthquake country. We must always be prepared and not let our guard down. The threat of an earthquake on the San Andreas fault hasn’t gone away, so this is another important opportunity for us to revisit our emergency plans and learn what steps you need to take if a significant earthquake hits.”
Julian Lozos, a geophysics assistant professor at California State University, had a warning to California authorities. Lozos said that such a strong earthquake “will coincide with one along the adjacent San Jacinto fault line,” which runs through more heavily-populated cities.
The expert said within minutes many would perish and even more would be injured and there would be billions of damage. Seismologist Lucy Jones said the chances of a magnitude-7 or greater earthquake are high and she is not confident that the Golden State is prepared. Jones stated:
“This is close enough to be in that worry zone. It’s a part of California that the seismologists all watch. When there’s significant seismicity in this area of the fault, we kind of wonder if it is somehow going to go active.”
Caltech seismologist Egill Hauksson added:
“So maybe one of those small earthquakes that’s happening in the neighborhood of the fault is going to trigger it, and set off the big event. An earthquake scientist has added to claims the dreaded event is overdue, warning the San Andreas fault is ‘locked, loaded and ready to roll.”
How to be prepared for an earthquake:
You’ll need food and water; a first aid kit; a fire extinguisher suitable for all types of fires; flashlights; a portable radio; extra batteries, blankets, clothes, shoes and money (ATMs may not work); medication; an adjustable or pipe wrench to turn off gas or water, if necessary; baby and pet food; and an alternate cooking source (barbecue or camp stove). This list can also be applied to other disasters, such as floods or wildfires.
It’s also a good idea to decide beforehand how and where your family will reunite if separated during a quake and to conduct in-home practice drills. You might choose an out-of-the-area friend or relative that family members can call to check on you.
What to do during an earthquake:
If you’re indoors, stay there. Get under — and hold onto –a desk or table, or stand against an interior wall. Stay clear of exterior walls, glass, heavy furniture, fireplaces and appliances. The kitchen is a particularly dangerous spot. If you’re in an office building, stay away from windows and outside walls and do not use the elevator.
If you’re outside, get into the open. Stay clear of buildings, power lines or anything else that could fall on you.
If you’re driving, move the car out of traffic and stop. Avoid parking under or on bridges or overpasses. Try to get clear of trees, light posts, signs and power lines. When you resume driving, watch out for road hazards.
Online commenters have expressed fear and disbelief after the reports surfaced.