San Andreas Fault

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San Andreas fault

By Natural News Editors – Natural News

(NaturalNews) A leading earthquake scientist has said that the San Andreas fault in Southern California is ready to blow any day now. According to Thomas Jordan, director of the Southern California Earthquake Center, the San Andreas fault is “locked, loaded and ready to roll”.

(Article by Sean Adl-Tabatabai, republished YourNewsWire.com.)

Latimes.com reports:

“The springs on the San Andreas system have been wound very, very tight. And the southern San Andreas fault, in particular, looks like it’s locked, loaded and ready to go,” Jordan said in the opening keynote talk.

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/054812_San_Andreas_fault_California_Earthquake.html#ixzz4G142LlGg

Continue reading at Natural News: San Andreas Fault is Ready to Blow, Says Expert

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By Mac Slavo – SHTFplan.com

Any number of disaster scenarios would seemingly bring the U.S. to a grinding halt, and wreak untold havoc upon the vulnerable population.

Worse, there seems to be an uncomfortable sense that a major event like that is long overdue.

Surely one of the most devastating would be a major earthquake along the San Andreas fault line. For several years now, experts have warned that the stress levels have reached a dangerous threshold and that the “big one” could be coming to Southern California… any time now.

Scientists have issued a dire warning that Southern California and the Los Angeles area could be in the path of a major earthquake of 7.0 magnitude or greater.

In the worst case scenario, it could destroy the Los Angeles metro area and rupture hundreds of miles of land in Southern California. A 7.9 earthquake took place back in 1857.

The Los Angeles Times is now reporting that the San Andreas fault is “locked, loaded and ready to roll” – there is a clear and present danger:

Southern California’s section of the San Andreas fault is “locked, loaded and ready to roll,” a leading earthquake scientist said Wednesday at the National Earthquake Conference in Long Beach.

The San Andreas fault is one of California’s most dangerous, and is the state’s longest fault. Yet for Southern California, the last big earthquake to strike the southern San Andreas was in 1857, when a magnitude 7.9 earthquake ruptured an astonishing 185 miles between Monterey County and the San Gabriel Mountains near Los Angeles.

[…] “The springs on the San Andreas system have been wound very, very tight. And the southern San Andreas fault, in particular, looks like it’s locked, loaded and ready to go,” Jordan said in the opening keynote talk.

[…]

The devastating potential of the fault became clear with a 1857 temblor, which had an estimated magnitude of 7.9… The quake was so powerful that the soil liquefied, causing trees as far away as Stockton to sink. Trees were also uprooted west of Fort Tejon. The shaking lasted 1 to 3 minutes.

According to the leading scientists in the study of tectonic plates and movements, earthquakes must periodically relieve plate pressure (about 16 feet worth of movement every century), but that has not happened on the San Andreas fault during that time period – in fact, the event is overdue.

If they’re right, that makes disaster all but imminent in one of the most heavily populated areas in North America.

Here is a simulation of what could occur:

The L.A. Times also noted:

A 2008 U.S. Geological Survey report warned that a magnitude 7.8 earthquake on the southern San Andreas fault would cause more than 1,800 deaths, 50,000 injuries, $200 billion in damage and severe, long-lasting disruptions. Among the predicted problems: The sewer system could be out of commission for six months.

Additionally, a major, devastating quake would almost certainly interrupt transportation, shipments and commerce, perhaps for months on end. The lack of vital services (such as the sewer system, as noted above) could pose major issues to survival and the resumption of everyday life.

If you are unfortunate enough to live in Los Angeles, you may have some life issues to work out anyway, but… it would be wise to heed these warnings.

If you are caught in a major quake, it is important to avoid being trapped by collapsing buildings or flying debris. Here are some thoughts on surviving the aftermath.

The San Andreas fault is not the only troubling hotspot in the country – Old Faithful has been causing recent worry from Yellowstone, and the New Madrid fault line has DHS/FEMA concerned enough to run multi-agency nationwide drills simulating a major earthquake disaster. Meanwhile, the Ring of Fire has been causing devastation at flashpoints throughout the Pacific ring in many nations.

This article first appeared at SHTFplan.com: Massive Earthquake Looming As Pressure Builds On San Andreas Fault: “Wound Very, Very Tight

By Daisy Luther – The Organic Prepper

Nothing warms my prepper’s heart more than a good disaster movie that supports my hypotheses about a specific event, and the recent movie San Andreas was no exception.

Okay, sure, there was some pretty unrealistic stuff like when The Rock was driving a boat through post-tsunami San Francisco and just happened to find his daughter that he was looking for. The last time I went to San Francisco, my daughter and I had trouble finding each other on the first floor of Forever 21, for crying out loud.

But, when you only have two hours for a movie, you have to be willing to suspend your disbelief somewhat and put that kind of stuff aside.  So. putting that aside, I enthusiastically recommend the movie. We live about 4 hours from San Francisco and go there occasionally for educational outings to the excellent museums, so the setting was quite familiar to us, as was the premise of what would occur if an earthquake happened there. So familiar that my daughter was the frequent recipient of my elbow, as I whispered, “See!!!! I told you this was what would happen if the Big One hit that time we went to the Science Museum!”  Trooper that she is, she said, “Yes, Mom, I know, you were right about that too.” Since she’s a teenager, she probably also rolled her eyes each time, but it was dark and I can’t be absolutely certain of that.

As I’ve said before, you can’t overestimate the value of finding entertainment that enhances your preparedness mindset. A movie is like the prepper version of a sporting event, where we can cheer, jeer, and scheme our ways through some imagined event. It engages our love for critical thinking while allowing us to take a break from our everyday activities. (Here’s my list of 40 prepper movies you can find online.) I know that some folks don’t go to the movies or engage in any form of popular culture, which is certainly a matter of personal choice. It’s not an everyday thing for us to go to the movies, but I’m of the firm belief that a prepared lifestyle doesn’t have to be bereft of fun, especially if you want your children to get involved.  I try to enjoy outings like this with my kids every once in a while.  We really liked the movie, and the special effects were incredible in 3D.

Here are 12 things that interested me, as a prepper, about San Andreas. I’ll try really hard to be vague enough that I don’t spoil the movie.

  1. People panic and behave badly.  In every disaster movie, there’s always someone more concerned with his or her own skin than the skin of a loved one, and this is no exception. Life-threatening terror brings out the worst in many people.  As shown in the movie, some first responders will bail to take care of their own families. The bottom line is, you can’t rely on others to save you. Also, it helps to have some knowledge of engineering and basic physics, too.
  2. People panic and behave stupidly.  During the panic of the aftermath of The Big One, people do the dumbest things.  This is true of real life too, and part of the reason for this is cognitive dissonance. People are so complacent about the stability of their everyday lives that it is difficult for them to function when something horrible and out of the ordinary occurs.  Having a mindset that plays through potential disasters ahead of time makes it far easier to accept it when something terrible happens, which in turn, makes it easier to act in a manner that will aid in survival instead of running around like a chicken without a head. (Check out How to Survive Anything in 3 Easy Steps for more on this.)
  3. Drop, cover, and hold on. The seismologist guy repeated the same information over and over, but most of the time, people failed to listen. When huge chunks of cement are flying at you, running down the road is not always the best course of action.  The very best thing you can do is get down under something big and stable and hold on tightly.  According to the US Department of Labor, the quake itself doesn’t cause injuries, the aftermath of structural damage causes injuries: “Most earthquake-related injuries result from collapsing walls, flying glass, and falling objects as a result of the ground shaking, or people trying to move more than a few feet during the shaking.” Structural damage to buildings would be vast in a quake like the one depicted. (Here’s more information on potential structural damage.) PS:  Your car is not a big, stable place to go to for cover. (source) Knowing what to expect in the event of an earthquake is very important.  This is a great article about earthquake survival.
  4. The ability to communicate is vital.  In the aftermath of a major disaster, your cell phone is very unlikely to work. Partly because everyone else will be trying to use their phones at the same time, and partly because local towers may also have been affected by the disaster. If you live in (or are visiting) an earthquake prone area, a secondary communications device is essential.  This article about an earthquake preparedness kit has some excellent suggestions. Remember that landlines often work when the internet and cell phones do not.
  5. Also vital: basic first aid skills.  Remember above, where I quoted how must injuries come about from the destruction of buildings?  After the earthquake in Haiti, the CDC reported that the most common injuries were fractures/dislocations, wound infections, and head, face, and brain injuries. Doctors performed wound debridements, amputations, and treatment for orthopedic trauma from crushing injuries. You need to know how to remove debris that might cause further damage, immobilize an injured limb, stop bleeding, apply a tourniquet, and clean a wound at the very least. It also helps if you have some supplies on hand or know where to find them.
  6. You should always have a plan for the family to meet.  In the movie, the family has a meeting place planned. This is not something that should be left for the day of a horrible event. You should always have a plan for your family in the event that you can’t communicate.  It helps if you can fly (and steal) a helicopter like The Rock, but since most of us don’t have access to that resource, we have to make other plans. My family always sets up meeting places in case we get separated and my kids know to go there and wait. Actually, we did this from the time they were little and my oldest daughter got in the middle of a clothing rack to “surprise mommy” and I couldn’t find her.
  7. You always need a backup plan. In the event that Plan A isn’t going to work, you need to have a Plan B. (And C and D and so on.) It’s really helpful if your family knows what Plan B is so that you are able to meet up and not hope to just randomly find one another. Again, this goes to thinking things through BEFORE a disaster occurs.   You MUST be adaptable to survive.
  8. When one disaster happens, others soon follow.  This is a frequent truth of disasters.  When one thing goes wrong, some other horrible event is often triggered by that. This was true in the movie, with things like looters, instability of structures which collapsed later, rifts in the roads, and oh yeah, a tsunami.
  9. Don’t forget tsunamis. For the love of all things cute and fluffy, if you are anywhere near the coast and an earthquake happens, GO UP. Do not wait until you see the ocean draw outward or you see the gigantic wave approaching. You aren’t going to be able to outrun it, no matter how fit you are. Immediately seek the highest point around if an earthquake occurs when you are near the coast.  We take this a step further when we visit the coast and map out the high points beforehand.  I was gratified that my two San Francisco high points were the ones noted in the movie. There is also some good advice if you just happen to be out boating when a tsunami is approaching.
  10. Don’t take the closest evacuation route, take the safest evacuation route.  Because San Francisco is the point of a peninsula, it’s most directly connected to the rest of the state by long bridges. I’ve always thought it would be a terrible idea to attempt to evacuate over those bridges in the aftermath of a disaster, since a) everyone else will be doing the same thing, resulting in gridlock and b) the structure of the bridges is likely to be weakened or damaged by a huge quake and c) a tsunami coming into the bay would sweep vehicle right off the bridge even if it held up.  Oh – and d – there are sharks in the water below – lots of them, which is why Alcatraz is in the middle of the bay. I’m sure they’d just love an all-you-can-eat bridge collapse buffet. But I digress – my personal evacuation route out of the city is south, to where the peninsula joins the mainland. On foot, in a car, doesn’t matter – that is the safest route, although further. Anytime we go to San Francisco, I set up a rally point south of the city for a friend to come and pick us up should such an event occur.
  11. Bring sensible shoes.  Ladies, no matter how nice we look in heels, fleeing for your life in them doesn’t sound like much fun to me. In the movie, my daughter and I both cringed thinking about how awful it would be to have to climb out of debris in general and how doubly awful it would be to have to do it in non-sensible footwear. If you have to wear heels, at least have something sensible in your bag.
  12. Gather supplies whenever you see them. While everyone else is panicking, if you have your wits about you, you’ll be able to gather up supplies that will help you survive. Look for things like bottled water, communication devices, first aid supplies, tools, knives, lighters, and food.

Have you seen the movie yet? What did you think? Do you have any survival lessons to add?

This article first appeared at The Organic Prepper: San Andreas for Preppers: 12 Earthquake Survival Lessons from the Movie

About the author:

Daisy Luther lives in a small village in the Pacific Northwestern area of the United States.  She is the author of The Organic Canner,  The Pantry Primer: A Prepper’s Guide to Whole Food on a Half-Price Budget, and the soon-to-be-released The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide: Harvest, Treat, and Store Your Most Vital Resource. On her website, The Organic Prepper, Daisy uses her background in alternative journalism to provide a unique perspective on health and preparedness, and offers a path of rational anarchy against a system that will leave us broke, unhealthy, and enslaved if we comply.  Daisy’s articles are widely republished throughout alternative media. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest,  and Twitter,.

San Andreas Movie Poster

By Michael Snyder – End of The American Dream

Hollywood has a long history of inserting political messages, social commentaries, subliminal effects and even cryptic warnings about the future into big budget films.  So is someone attempting to use “San Andreas” to tell us something?  For many years, doomsayers have been warning that the “Big One” is going to come along and rip the coastline of California to shreds.  Up until this moment, it hasn’t happened, but without a doubt we have moved into a time of increased geological activity all over the globe.  As you read this article, 42 volcanoes around the planet are currently erupting.  That means that the number of volcanoes erupting right now is greater than the 20th century’s average for an entire year.  In addition, we have been witnessing a great deal of very unusual earthquake activity lately.  Just in the United States, we have seen unusual earthquakes hit Michigan, Texas, Mississippi, California, Idaho And Washington within the last month or so.  Could it be possible that our planet has entered a period of heightened seismic activity?  And could it also be possible that someone behind “San Andreas” is aware of this and is trying to warn us about what is coming in our future?

Of course just about everyone in the scientific community acknowledges that the “Big One” is eventually coming to California.  In fact, the U.S. Geological Survey recently came out and said that the probability of a megaquake along the west coast is greater than they had previously been projecting

A recent report by the U.S. Geological Survey shows the inevitability of just such a quake, which is predicted to hit within the next couple of decades.

“The new likelihoods are due to the inclusion of possible multi-fault ruptures, where earthquakes are no longer confined to separate, individual faults, but can occasionally rupture multiple faults simultaneously,” lead author of the study and USGS scientist, Ned Field says. “This is a significant advancement in terms of representing a broader range of earthquakes throughout California’s complex fault system.”

And it is undeniable that California has been hit by an unusual number of earthquakes recently.  Could this be a sign that our portion of the “Ring of Fire” is heating up?  Just over the past few days, there have been significant earthquakes at dormant volcanoes all over the state of California and in Nevada.  I don’t know about you, but to me all of this shaking is reason for concern.

If the state of California does get hit by a major earthquake in the near future, the damage that would be caused would be immense.  Among those trying to raise awareness about this is Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti

“I hope this movie can be a gut check and a visceral reminder to people of the danger from quakes,” Garcetti said before the screening. “But then that people will also do a head check about how they can really be prepared…to react by looking at some good research and using their heads about the dangers we really face.”

Garcetti has recently introduced a series of proposals called “Resilience by Design” to try to make sure the city’s buildings, telecommunications system and water supply are able to withstand a large earthquake. Emphasizing the challenges Los Angeles faces, the mayor noted how mobile phone service largely went down after the 1994 Northridge quake. And he said the water supply could also be challenged in the next big shaker, considering that the San Andreas Fault (depicted as causing the giant temblor in the Warner Bros.’ film) crosses the California Aqueduct in 20 places.

But not everyone appreciates this new film.  One of the features of “San Andreas” that has been heavily criticized as being “unrealistic” is the giant tsunami that engulfs San Francisco.  According to the Daily Mail, it is not possible for the San Andreas fault to even cause a tsunami…

And, unlike the film, the San Andreas can’t spawn tsunamis.

Most tsunamis are triggered by underwater quakes, but they can also be caused by landslides, volcanoes and even meteor impacts.

So why is a giant tsunami in the film?

Continue reading at End of The American Dream: Is ‘San Andreas’ A Cryptic Warning About What Is Going To Happen In America’s Future?

About the author:

Michael T. Snyder is a graduate of the University of Florida law school and he worked as an attorney in the heart of Washington D.C. for a number of years.

Today, Michael is best known for his work as the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog and The American Dream

Read his new book The Beginning of the End

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By Chris CarringtonThe Daily Sheeple

No injuries have so far been reported after a 5.1 earthquake hit the Northern Californian coast 70 miles west of Ferndale. According to the United States Geological Survey website, the quake struck at 0416 this morning Pacific time.

The largest earthquake to hit California was a 7.9 in 1887. According to the USGS:

This earthquake occurred on the San Andreas fault, which ruptured from near Parkfield (in the Cholame Valley) almost to Wrightwood (a distance of about 300 kilometers); horizontal displacement of as much as 9 meters was observed on the Carrizo Plain. It caused one fatality. A comparison of this shock to the San Francisco earthquake, which occurred on the San Andreas fault on April 18, 1906, shows that the fault break in 1906 was longer but that the maximum and average displacements in 1857 were larger.

California sits in an area that is geologically very active. Plate margins grind against each other causing the tremors. The San Andreas Fault is a huge gash in the landscape that runs from Cape Mendocino down to the Mexican border. It’s a transform or slide fault. The leading edge of the North American Plate and the Pacific Plate slide past each other.

They move in small fits and starts but on occasion get stuck. The pressure builds and builds, until whatever prominence of rock holding them in position gives way, and the plates move causing an earthquake.

Those living on the West Coast know that at some point the ‘big one’ will hit. This could be a quake caused by the San Andreas or one of the other major fault lines such as the Puente Hills fault rupturing, but many scientists think the worst case scenario would be a subduction earthquake caused by the rupture of the Cascadia fault of the coast of California.

The Cascadia Fault is a subduction zone, an area where one of the tectonic plates is forced underneath the plate it collides into.

In the case of Cascadia, the Juan de Fuca Plate is moving under the North American Plate. These plates have been locked together since 1700, 313 years. A particular feature of the Cascadia Fault is that it doesn’t produce small quakes, it remains still and silent until the pressure gets too much and one of the plates slips, giving rise to a mega-thrust earthquake of massive force. These quakes can be compared to the Indonesian quake of 2004 and the Japanese quake of 2011.

The Cascadia fault is long, very long, just over 800 miles (1300km) in length. Based on the findings of the scientists, the tsunami caused by the 1700 event moved inland for more than 60 miles, wiping out everything in its path. Of course in 1700 Seattle wasn’t there, neither was Vancouver, San Francisco, Portland or any of the other cities and metropolitan areas currently occupied by millions of people.

The Cascadia, courtesy of its length, will give rise to a long quake if the whole fault ‘unzips’ at the same time, as it’s believed to have done in 1700. The first P waves will travel the length of the fracture in a minute or two. The S waves that follow, the ones that cause the real damage, are slower and will cause shaking and movement for about five minutes though their speed can vary depending on the rock they are traveling through. (source)

Although there was no tsunami alert issued with this latest quake that won’t be the case if the Cascadia ruptures. Totally silent for 315 years it’s not a case of if the Cascadia will slip but when.

There has been no detected slippage, no detected small quakes. This is a feature of the Cascadia, it is silent until there is a sudden and massive release of energy. There will be no warning whatever. No foreshocks, nothing.

On a dark winters night in January 1700 a tsunami struck Japan. It flooded fields, swept away villages for miles inland and cost many lives. Even as far back as 1700 the Japanese had made the connection between earthquakes and Tsunami, but this time there was no earthquake, no warning to allow the people time to evacuate to higher ground. The tsunami was called the ‘orphan tsunami’ because it had no ‘parent’ earthquake. For more than 300 years the origin of the orphan tsunami remained a mystery.

In 1987 Brian Atwater studied soil samples far inland across the length of the fault and discovered that the United States had also suffered a tsunami at the same time as the Japanese. He concluded that Kanamori and Heaton were correct, a massive earthquake had sent a tsunami out from the source of the quake inundating the coasts on both sides of the Pacific.

Recent studies by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania has concurred on the findings of previous studies. (source)

In any disaster it’s not only the original event that causes problems. The aftermath of a major calamity can cause as many injuries and deaths as the original event. Most of the population are not prepared, they are not able to look after their family in a crisis. Many will sit and wait for the government to ‘rescue’ them, others will be on the prowl looking to supplement their meagre resources by stealing from those who had the foresight to prepare.

At the start of a new year, there is no better time to assess where you are on your preparedness journey. Find the holes in your preps and your plans and plug them while you still have time to do so.

Resources:

The Prepper’s Blueprint: The Step-By-Step Guide To Help You Through Any Disaster

Mr. Heater F215100 MH4B Little Buddy 3800-BTU Indoor-Safe Propane Heater

Information to help you get started prepping

How to Build a 30 Day Food Supply…Fast

The Pantry Primer: How to Build a One Year Food Supply in Three Months

The Prepper’s Cookbook: 300 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals

SAS Survival Handbook, Revised Edition: For Any Climate, in Any Situation

The Survival Medicine Handbook: A Guide for When Help is Not on the Way

Elite Large Fully Stocked GI Issue Medic First Aid Kit Bag

Delivered by The Daily Sheeple


Contributed by Chris Carrington of The Daily Sheeple.

Chris Carrington is a writer, researcher and lecturer with a background in science, technology and environmental studies. Chris is an editor for The Daily Sheeple. Wake the flock up!

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Image:  courtesy of UC Berkeley

GPS measurements show that the Sierra Nevada and Coast Ranges rise several millimeters per year (red dots) as a result of groundwater pumping in the Central Valley (brown). Blue dots are sites where the ground has subsided.

The weight of water pumped from California’s agricultural heartland, the Central Valley, over the past 150 years is enough to allow Earth’s crust to rebound upward, raising surrounding mountain ranges, the Sierra Nevada and Coast Ranges, some six inches. Winter rains and summer pumping cause annual up and down movements that could affect earthquakes on the San Andreas Fault, which parallels the ranges. (source)

Extracting water for human activities is increasing the number of earthquakes being triggered in California.

A new study suggests that the heavy use of ground water for pumping and irrigation is causing mountains to lift and valleys to subside.

The San Andreas fault runs for almost 1,300km through the western part of California and marks part of the boundary between the Pacific and North American tectonic plates.

Seismologists have mainly focussed on the movements of these plates as the critical factors in the build up of stress that can lead to large earthquakes, such as the one that destroyed San Francisco in 1906.

This paper looks at another factor – the impacts of humans on the Earth’s surface.

The researchers have used the well developed GPS system in the western US to analyse small lifts and dips in the topography of the San Joaquin valley.

San Joaquin is part of California’s central valley, one of the most productive farm regions in the US. That productivity is based on access to groundwater, extracted and pumped to irrigate crops.

So great is the demand that scientists estimate twice as much water is being consumed as is being returned through rain and snow.

Experts are worried  that over time this will hasten the occurrence of large quakes.

“We are removing a weight from the Earth’s crust and it is responding by flexing upwards and literally moving mountains,” lead author Dr Colin Amos said.

“It seems as though these small stress changes that happen on a yearly basis, are causing more small earthquakes to occur on portions of the fault.”

In another part of the region along the southern Sierra Nevada mountain range, scientists had believed that the crustal uplift was due to tectonic forces.

This new research indicates that it too is partly a consequence of groundwater depletion.

Dr Amos believes the study shows that we need to think more broadly about the impact of our actions in relation to nature.

 ”Human activities are changing things that we hadn’t appreciated before – its a wake up call to the far reaching implications for the things that we are doing that may affect systems that we didn’t know that we could affect.”

Sources:

Science Daily

Uplift and seismicity driven by groundwater depletion in central California. Nature, 2014; DOI:10.1038/nature13275

Delivered by The Daily Sheeple


Contributed by Chris Carrington of The Daily Sheeple.

Chris Carrington is a writer, researcher and lecturer with a background in science, technology and environmental studies. Chris is an editor for The Daily Sheeple. Wake the flock up!

 

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Wiped off the map: Banda Aceh 2004

A report on Fox News this morning talks about ‘The Big One’, the quake that experts know will one day hit California. From Fox:

Jones is heading up a new effort by Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti to prepare the city for what experts say is unavoidable: a massive quake similar or worse to the one that hit the city in 1994.

The magnitude 6.7 Northridge earthquake claimed 57 lives and left $20 billion worth of damage in its wake, making it one of the costliest natural disasters in U.S. history. Jones warned the next one will likely have a similar impact.

She estimated the death toll from a quake with a magnitude 7.5 or higher could approach 2,000. That is a figure echoed by California’s Democratic Governor Jerry Brown.

“There’s a better than 50-50 chance that we’ll have a catastrophic earthquake in California that will kill thousands of people and be enormously fiscally devastating,” said Brown in January, when he unveiled his proposal for $1.49 million in funding for a fault mapping project.

He specifically told Los Angeles residents to be cautious.

A study conducted by the Los Angeles Times in 2013 found the city houses more than 1,000  concrete buildings at risk of collapse from a major earthquake because they lack steel reinforcement.

Once gain there is no mention of ‘The Really Big One’. The earthquake that will devastate and make a quake triggered by the San Andreas Fault feel like minor shaking. The Puente Hills Fault has recently been considered as more dangerous to downtown LA than the San Andreas Fault. Both have the ability to cause destruction, but not on a scale where the entire state, or even a good portion of it would suffer damage.

California sits in an area that is geologically very active. Plate margins grind against each other causing the tremors. The San Andreas Fault is a huge gash in the landscape that runs from Cape Mendocino down to the Mexican border. It’s a transform, or slide fault. The leading edge of the North American Plate and the Pacific Plate slide past each other. They move in small fits and starts but on occasion get stuck. The pressure builds and builds, until whatever prominence of rock holding them in position gives way, and the plates move causing an earthquake.

The San Andreas Fault last had a major rupture in 1680. The average lapse between major slips is 150 years, meaning that the pressure has now been building for 334 years.

Other faults branch off the San Andreas Fault and it’s some of these that geologists believe cause the constant minor quakes that Californians live with.

The Cascadia Fault is a different animal altogether.

The Cascadia Fault is a subduction zone, an area where one tectonic plate is being forced down under another. In this case the Juan de Fuca Plate is colliding with, and being forced under the North American Plate.

Running from Northern Vancouver Island to Cape Mendocino California, these plates have been locked together since 1700. There has been no detected slippage, no detected small quakes. This is a feature of the Cascadia, it is silent until there is a sudden and massive release of energy. There will be no warning whatever. No foreshocks, nothing.

On a dark winters night in January 1700 a tsunami struck Japan. It flooded fields, swept away villages for miles inland and cost many lives. Even as far back as 1700 the Japanese had made the connection between earthquakes and Tsunami, but this time there was no earthquake, no warning to allow the people time to evacuate to higher ground. The tsunami was called the ‘orphan tsunami’ because it had no ‘parent’ earthquake. For more than 300 years the origin of the orphan tsunami remained a mystery.

In 1987 Brian Atwater studied soil samples far inland across the length of the fault and discovered that the United States had also suffered a tsunami at the same time as the Japanese. He concluded that Kanamori and Heaton were correct, a massive earthquake had sent a tsunami out from the source of the quake inundating the coasts on both sides of the Pacific.

Recent studies by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania has concurred on the findings of previous studies.

The Cascadia fault is long, very long, just over 800 miles (1300km) in length. Based on the findings of the scientists, the tsunami caused by the 1700 event moved inland for more than 60 miles, wiping out everything in its path. Of course in 1700 Seattle wasn’t there, neither was Vancouver, San Francisco, Portland or any of the other cities and metropolitan areas currently occupied by millions of people.

The Cascadia, courtesy of its length, will give rise to a long quake if the whole fault ‘unzips’ at the same time, as it’s believed to have done in 1700. The first P waves will travel the length of the fracture in a minute or two. The S waves that follow, the ones that cause the real damage, are slower and will cause shaking and movement for about five minutes though their speed can vary depending on the rock they are traveling through.

Any buildings not built to withstand earthquakes will collapse. Depending on the duration and magnitude of the quake it cannot be assumed that even ‘hardened’ buildings will remain standing. Many areas have sedimentary basins under urban sprawl and this amplifies the waves and the damage they cause.

Within approximately 20-30 minutes the tsunami will roll in. Unlike normal waves which have a few yards between them the tsunami waves can have hundreds of miles between them. The entire wall of water displaced when the plates slip hurtles outwards in all directions from the epicenter of the quake. As the waves approach the continental shelf the water at the back of the wave starts to catch up with the water at the front of the wave, which has slowed down as it moves up the incline that marks the start of the continental land mass. Its this that allows the water to build up and give the tsunami its characteristic ‘wall of water’ appearance.

The water will just keep on coming, flowing forward taking almost everything in its path with it. It may or may not be followed by more waves, there is no way to know if it will be a solo wave or a series until it happens. There is also no way to know in advance how deep the water will be. The tsunami caused by an earthquake in Lituya Bay Alaska in 1958 reached 1720 feet.

Lituya Bay is an extreme example, an un-survivable example unless you happen to be Howard G Ulrich or his son. the Indonesia earthquake on boxing day 2004 has been estimated to have had a wave height of between 30-50 feet.

So what do you do with your 20-30 minute warning? Obviously you want to get as high as possible. This is often easier said than done. In a city littered with debris, the dead and dying and glass falling from skyscrapers without warning getting out is going to pose many problems. Highways will be buckled and impassable and there is a great danger from gas main explosions and fires.

Some countries are investing in vertical evacuation centers. High platforms/shelters on stilts that allow the water to pass through the base of the structure without putting extra stresses on masonry that maybe already damaged from the earthquake. FEMA has issued a community guide detailing where such structures will be built / are being built along the West Coast of the United States.

If you don’t have access to a vertical evacuation shelter, or you prefer not to be at the mercy of FEMA,  multi-story parking lots with open sides can offer some possibility of escape. The water is able to flow through the building and out the other side, reducing the chances of collapse due to the weight of the water pressing against it. Be prepared to stay in such a place for a considerable time, help and/or escape is not going to be coming fast. Carry as much food, water and emergency equipment as you can without the weight slowing you down. Think Katrina multiplied by 1000.

It can take anything from a few hours to many days for the floodwaters to subside and even when it does the emergency is far from over. Disease and death with be rife and you should head out of the area as soon as is humanly possible to give yourself the best chance of survival.

Cascadia is locked, loaded and ready to fire. It’s not a case of if, but a case of when. Sadly, with so many variables, an earthquake/tsunami combination is almost impossible to prepare for adequately. The only sure-fire way to survive  is not to be in the area in the first place. (source)

Does the United States Geological Survey think that by keeping quiet it will prevent the Cascadia rupturing? They constantly refer to the San Andreas and it’s associated faults causing major damage in downtown LA or San Francisco, but never seem bothered about the rest of the state.

The damage from a megathrust earthquake of the Cascadia Fault would be enormous, and the loss of life caused by the quake itself and the resulting tsunami would be massive. With so many cities directly in the firing line, the whole state of California would be severely affected.

California grows 85% of the fresh produce consumed in the United States, and any disaster that befalls it will affect the nation as a whole. Can you imagine the United States with 85% less fresh food available? It doesn’t bear thinking about. A rupture of the Cascadia Fault would be a catastrophe of national importance, something that would affect every American to some degree.

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Contributed by Chris Carrington of The Daily Sheeple.

Chris Carrington is a writer, researcher and lecturer with a background in science, technology and environmental studies. Chris is an editor for The Daily Sheeple. Wake the flock up!