Earthquakes: The Big One Is Coming To At Least Los Angeles

8 09 2010

By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

While the damage from the recent Christchurch earthquake in New Zealand has been enormous, and the costs of rebuilding will be staggering, and the emotional trauma is unfathomable, Kiwis have much to be thankful for after the quake.

Having grown up in Los Angeles, I know that earthquakes are scary, because I lived through probably more than a hundred of them when I was a kid.  They would happen so often that I got used to them and even began to enjoy them.  As long as one has reason to believe in his or her own survival, one can find them interesting.   Our family home was near the UCLA campus in the Westwood suburb of the city; and it was constructed out of wood, so no serious damage ever occurred.

Years later, after working full time in Washington, D.C. for 21 years, I moved back to Southern California and experienced them again.  The first one hit when I was living in a house on the beach at Malibu, which had been built on wood pilings above the sand.  The rocking sensation was accentuated because of the pilings, and it scared me for the very first time.  Later, other quakes have unsettled me—as well as their aftershocks—perhaps because I had lost my fearlessness as a child.

California has experienced major earthquakes all of my life, including the 1989 Loma Prieta quake in the San Francisco Bay Area, which collapsed major roadways and buildings alike.[2] Earlier this year, the devastating earthquake in Haiti killed an estimated 230,000 people.[3] Also, I will never forget the “Spitak Earthquake” that was a tremor with a magnitude of 6.9—less than that of the 7.1 Christchurch quake—which took place on December 7, 1988, in the Spitak region of Armenia, then part of the former Soviet Union.  The earthquake killed at least 25,000 people.[4]

Geologists and earthquake engineering experts laid the blame on poorly-built apartments and other buildings.  However, most of all I remember the quote: “Earthquakes don’t kill people.  Buildings do.”[5] Viewing photos of the damage in and around the Christchurch area on the south island of New Zealand, it seems that so many of the buildings were made out of bricks and other building materials, which could easily fall on people and injure or kill them.[6] Indeed, it is a blessing that there were so few injuries.[7] Buildings can be rebuilt, and roads and other infrastructure elements can be repaired or replaced—which will produce much-needed jobs for Kiwis—but lives cannot be replaced as the Armenians and Haitians learned so tragically.

Another lesson from the quakes is the need for stronger building codes.  Los Angeles has adopted them; however, the steel joints in many high-rise office buildings were apparently weakened by the 1994 Northridge earthquake[8], and nothing has been done to repair them.  To remove tenants from the buildings, while the potentially-critical work is underway, was deemed to be politically and economically unpalatable.  Thus, the problems were swept under the rug and never addressed by building owners and the city’s politicians.  Los Angeles may rue the day that this happened.

Residents of Southern California are waiting for the “Big One” to occur sometime in the future, which geologists have been saying is long overdue.  Predictions are that it will measure more than 8.0 on the Richter Scale, and that approximately 2 million people in Southern California might lose their lives.[9] Thus, Kiwis must be thankful that the Christchurch quake relieved the pressures on the fault; and that while the damage is being measured in the billions of U.S. dollars, so few injuries occurred.

This is truly a blessing, unlike what happened in Armenia and Haiti, or what is being predicted for Southern California and along America’s New Madrid Fault Line—which could result in “the highest economic losses due to a natural disaster in the United States”[10]—and in Pakistan where lives hang in the balance as these words are written, because of massive flooding in that country.[11]

© 2010, Timothy D. Naegele

[1] Timothy D. Naegele was counsel to the United States Senate’s Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, and chief of staff to Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal recipient and former U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass).  He practices law in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles with his firm, Timothy D. Naegele & Associates, which specializes in Banking and Financial Institutions Law, Internet Law, Litigation and other matters (see and  He has an undergraduate degree in economics from UCLA, as well as two law degrees from the School of Law (Boalt Hall), University of California, Berkeley, and from Georgetown University.  He is a member of the District of Columbia and California bars.  He served as a Captain in the U.S. Army, assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon, where he received the Joint Service Commendation Medal.  Mr. Naegele is an Independent politically; and he is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Law, and Who’s Who in Finance and Business. He has written extensively over the years (see, e.g., and can be contacted directly at

[2] See, e.g.

[3] See, e.g.

[4] See, e.g.

[5] Similarly, on the last two boats that I owned, I had a plaque placed next to the wheel by which the boats were steered that read: “The sea is not inherently dangerous but it is mercilously unforgiving of human carelessness.”  No accidents occurred, thank God.

[6] See, e.g.,

[7] See, e.g.,

[8] See, e.g.,

[9] See, e.g., and

[10] See, e.g.

[11] See, e.g., (“Pakistan is reeling under the most devastating national catastrophe since independence 63 years ago”)



37 responses

29 09 2010

Where Is Hayley Westenra Hiding?

Because the lovely Kiwi singer Hayley Westenra is so identified with her Christchurch roots, it seems obvious that she should put on a free benefit concert in Christchurch to help those who have suffered from the recent devastating earthquake. She should be front and center; and I am surprised that this has not been announced before now.

For many people around the world, she is their only link to Christchurch; and she needs to do more than a simple announcement expressing “thoughts” about what has happened. Some symbolic gesture—which a free benefit concert would represent—is needed. I am sure she and her family know lots of people who have suffered greatly.

Here is her public announcement:

06 Sep 2010 – Hayley’s thoughts are with Christchurch

Hayley sends her thoughts out to everybody in New Zealand affected by the weekend’s earthquake. Her thoughts are with all involved during this difficult time.


I had never heard of Hayley until a former Kiwi love of mine brought her to my attention. I listened to her music, and loved it. I watched her video comments about Christchurch, and felt her love for it. Hayley is living in the UK now, which is a long way from Christchurch; and Hayley’s hometown and its residents need her help.

I was born and raised in Los Angeles, which is Hollywood, and I have worked in the entertainment industry. It is clear that Hayley is receiving very bad advice. She should have dropped whatever she was doing, and headed back to Christchurch; and whoever is managing her should have begun immediately to set the wheels in motion for a free concert there, bringing together other musicians from New Zealand and abroad.

She is the symbol of Christchurch—and for New Zealand—to many people around the world who know little or nothing about the tiny country. Also, at some point she will have to come to the “creative capital of the world,” Los Angeles, and make her mark in America, if she truly wants her career to blossom globally. By dropping the ball with respect to helping the people of Christchurch, her management and advisers have done her an enormous disservice.

It is argued that she has many other commitments that were made long before the earthquake, and that she is working on a new album, so she is very busy. Also, it is argued that she cannot fail to honor her other commitments because it might jeopardize her career in the UK—which is a relatively small market when compared to the United States. All of these arguments are specious and absurd. If Hayley will not help the people of Christchurch now, when will she do so?

. . .

Sadly, the remarks of New Zealand opera legend Dame Kiri Te Kanawa—about Hayley’s career not having much longevity to it—may have a ring of truth to them, especially if Hayley continues to suffer from bad management decisions.

See, e.g.,

. . .

Much of the world has watched the courageous and inspiring rescue of 33 Chilean miners with awe. In a world beset by wars, economic tsunamis, and other calamities that destroy the human spirit, this rescue effort is truly a breath of fresh air.

God did not create the miner’s problems, but it is truly a miracle that they have survived and been rescued, all of them.

See, e.g.,

To his credit, the billionaire president of Chile, Sebastián Piñera, embraced each miner and their family members; and it is likely that he cemented his place in the history of Chile, if not the world. The Chileans have handled this potential disaster with dignity, professionalism, and class.

See, e.g.,

What Bono and other celebrities have done when tragedies struck has left indelible impressions with their countrymen and women, and the world as well. This is exactly what Hayley should have done in the wake of the Christchurch quake. She should have seized the moment, and her management should have followed through.

It may not be too late for Hayley to help, but the clock is ticking. Moreover, the delay in offering help may speak volumes . . .


24 01 2011
Timothy D. Naegele

Is The World’s Largest Super-Volcano Set To Erupt?

This is the prediction set forth in a UK Daily Mail article, which is worth reading. It states in pertinent part as follows:

Two-thirds of the U.S. could become uninhabitable as toxic air sweeps through it, grounding thousands of flights and forcing millions to leave their homes.

This is the nightmare that scientists are predicting could happen if the world’s largest super-volcano erupts for the first time in 600,000 years, as it could do in the near future.

Yellowstone National Park’s caldera has erupted three times in the last 2.1 million years and researchers monitoring it say we could be in for another eruption.

They said that the super-volcano underneath the Wyoming park has been rising at a record rate since 2004—its floor has gone up three inches per year for the last three years alone, the fastest rate since records began in 1923.

. . .

When the eruption finally happens it will dwarf the effect of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano, which erupted in April last year, causing travel chaos around the world.

. . .

The Yellowstone Caldera is one of nature’s most awesome creations and sits atop North America’s largest volcanic field.



23 02 2011
Goose Howard

The UK’s Daily Mail is one of the poorest examples of a newspaper’s attempt at journalism that the modern world has ever seen.

Smith (and colleagues) have pointed out [in their Geophysical Research Letters paper] that the recent rise at Yellowstone is part of a well known natural cycle that is common for the caldera. There is no evidence to suggest that something altogether unusual is about to happen.

Yellowstone will explode at some point in the future. But it’s not very likely to happen in the lifetime of anyone alive in 2011.

Now the San Andreas fault, on the other hand…


23 02 2011
Timothy D. Naegele

Tragedy Strikes Christchurch Again

Thank you for your comments, Goose. Yes, I agree that the San Andreas Fault is another matter.

What has happened in Christchurch so soon after the last quake is tragic, to say the least. Our hearts and prayers go out to those who have suffered so.

As with all major earthquakes worldwide, the Kiwis will have to be on guard for aftershocks, which are apt to strike again without warning, and be even more terrifying.

Here is a sampling of articles about the quake, beginning with the New Zealand Herald, which will keep updating us on a regular basis at its homepage:;,or.&fp=8c9e5f17d00a4db (Google News: “Christchurch earthquake”); (Wall Street Journal: “New Zealand Quake Rescue Effort Intensifies”); (USA Today: “New Zealand quake toll at 75 dead; tallest hotel teetering”); (Los Angeles Times: “New Zealand earthquake surprises experts with its level of destruction; California parallels seen”); (UK’s Telegraph: “Christchurch earthquake: shattered Christchurch counts quake dead”); see also (“New Zealand Quake Damages May Cost as Much as $15.1 Billion“) and (“Enormous costs of quake huge economic blow“)

. . .

New Zealand’s Hayley Westenra had just returned to the UK from Christchurch after visiting her family—and she offers her love, prayers and support to everyone in Christchurch where she grew up:

22 Feb 2011 – New Zealand Earthquake
My thoughts and prayers go out to the community in Christchurch and also to my friends and family who live there. I was only in Christchurch a few days ago visiting my family, it is now hard to imagine the devastation the earthquake has left behind. I am thankful that my own family are safe and unharmed but pray for everyone who now has to deal with the loss and aftermath of this terrible disaster.

See, e.g.,

. . .

In a personal message that I received from one long-time Christchurch resident, the person said:

We as a family feel incredibly lucky as we are all alive and well. Our house has damage but it’s relatively minor compared with many, and we have running water and electricity.

My business wasn’t so lucky as it’s right in the middle of the central business district which probably took the biggest hit due to there being so many older multi level buildings.

It was an unbelievable sight out of my first level office window watching the frontages of buildings crumbling down. Once it settled down I ran downstairs to people screaming and more bricks and mortar tumbling down.

A few metres along from me a mother and daughter had been crushed, although I have since found out that at least the little girl survived. There must have been multiple deaths under the rubble along my street but as I write this bodies are still yet to be recovered.

It’s all so so sad for all those families who have lost someone, but also incredibly sad for the city I love. Half of it is a total mess, but the weird thing is that the other half is carrying on with some sort of normality having had only minor damage.

We’re in a state of limbo at the moment as naturally only essential services are open so work life has come to a halt, and it will be quite some time (and for some never) before business owners (me included) can access their buildings (if they are still standing).

Anyway though as I first stated we as a family feel unbelievably lucky.

Amen in spades!


6 03 2011
Timothy D. Naegele

Quakes Defy Experts, And Planning

The effects of New Zealand’s latest earthquake have been devastating for the small island country, and especially for the residents of Christchurch who have endured the effects of two quakes in such short order, and lost friends and loved ones alike. Again, our hearts and prayers go out to those who have suffered so.

A Kiwi has been kind enough to provide me with comments and articles, in response to my article above. His latest message said:

Cities are a great achievement but the occupants are certainly vulnerable. I can only join you in hoping Los Angeles does not have a similar earthquake.

I found this is interesting:

I read his article, and responded as follows:

Thank you again . . . for your message, your link, and your kindness.

I literally grew up with earthquakes, as my article indicates. In fact, I just reread it, and what struck me most—just as the comments of New Zealand’s supposed “experts” struck me when I read the article you cited—is how truly naïve all of us are, and how there are no experts, period, just people who think that they are. Nothing against the individuals quoted in your article, but the next quake in N-Zed may throw asunder all of their fancy theories and planning. Quakes have a “mind” of their own, and they defy the best of human thinking and planning. They occur whenever and wherever they like, and their results shatter conventional thinking and planning. It is tragic but true. The only rule that seems to apply is this: expect the unexpected.

In my article that was written shortly after the previous Christchurch quake, I said:

Residents of Southern California are waiting for the “Big One” to occur sometime in the future, which geologists have been saying is long overdue. Predictions are that it will measure more than 8.0 on the Richter Scale, and that approximately 2 million people in Southern California might lose their lives. Thus, Kiwis must be thankful that the Christchurch quake relieved the pressures on the fault; and that while the damage is being measured in the billions of U.S. dollars, so few injuries occurred.


In retrospect, the earlier Christchurch quake may not have relieved the pressures on the fault much at all, and the injuries have been catastrophic, at least for New Zealand. However, residents of the south island and of [New Zealand’s capital city] Wellington should not lull themselves into a false sense of relief, believing that the worst has passed. More may occur, which might be even more shattering. Again, expect the unexpected. That is what I learned growing up in Los Angeles. The quakes happened seemingly without any rhyme or reason. Living in a one- or two-story wood structure may be the safest, because they “sway,” but there are no guarantees. As my article stated, I lived in a structure built on wood pilings on the beach at Malibu; and when one quake hit while I was in it, the effects were nothing short of terrifying because the “rolling” was intensified by the pilings or “stilts.”

With respect to the overall subject of quakes, I do not believe there are any true experts. Yes, there are people who study the subject, like people study the weather or the stock market, and try to predict where the economy will go, or which horses will win at the race tracks. But none of them, and I emphasize the word “none,” are really experts. The buildings that they say are safe, or relatively so, will collapse or be severely damaged when a future quake strikes. Existing fault lines will be ignored, as quakes strike wherever and whenever they want. Like the task of rebuilding New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina hit, there are zero guarantees that a similar or even greater tragedy will not occur.

I am sorry to be so negative, but I do not doubt for a moment that if the “Big One” hits LA and Southern California, there might be 2 million deaths, like nothing that this planet has seen before. The estimated death toll in Shaanxi, China after an enormous quake hit there in 1556 was more than 800,000. A mega-quake in LA might shatter that record, despite the fact that Southern California has had stringent building codes for most of my life, and is supposedly prepared.

See also (“Deadliest earthquakes on record”)

. . .

As more and more stories come out about the dead and the missing and the heroic actions of many people, one is reminded of the aftermath of 9/11 in the United States—in New York City, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., where planes struck buildings and slammed into the ground, and struck the Pentagon.

See, e.g., (“Thirteen more quake victims named”); see also


11 03 2011
Timothy D. Naegele



[Loss: Eiji Kanno, left, and his wife Matsuko are comforted by rescue workers after finding out their 18-year-old daughter Mizuki is dead in Yamamoto, south of Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan]

The Wall Street Journal is reporting:

The strongest earthquake to hit Japan in at least 300 years rocked the country on Friday afternoon, triggering a 10-meter tsunami that violently engulfed cars and other objects in its path in northern Japan. . . .

. . .

The quake, one of the five biggest in history with a magnitude of 8.9, caused mass panic around Tokyo, where workers evacuated their buildings and power was cut off in 4.1 million households in Tokyo and neighboring prefectures. The natural disaster could derail the country’s nascent economic recovery and increase Japan’s already massive public debt, which is 200% of gross domestic product.

See, e.g.,

. . .


The AP is reporting:

A ferocious tsunami unleashed by Japan’s biggest recorded earthquake slammed into its eastern coast Friday, killing hundreds of people as it carried away ships, cars and homes, and triggered widespread fires that burned out of control.

Hours later, the tsunami hit Hawaii but did not cause major damage. Warnings blanketed the Pacific, putting areas on alert as far away as South America, Canada, Alaska and the entire U.S. West coast. In northeastern Japan, the area around a nuclear power plant was evacuated after the reactor’s cooling system failed.

Police said 200 to 300 bodies were found in the northeastern coastal city of Sendai, the city in Miyagi prefecture, or state, closest to the epicenter. Another 137 were confirmed killed, with 531 people missing. Police also said 627 people were injured.

The magnitude-8.9 offshore quake unleashed a 23-foot (seven-meter) tsunami and was followed for hours by more than 50 aftershocks, many of them of more than magnitude 6.0.

Dozens of cities and villages along a 1,300-mile (2,100-kilometer) stretch of coastline were shaken by violent tremors that reached as far away as Tokyo, hundreds of miles (kilometers) from the epicenter. A large section of Kesennuma, a town of 70,000 people in Miyagi, burned furiously into the night with no apparent hope of being extinguished, public broadcaster NHK said.

See (“Hundreds killed in tsunami after 8.9 Japan quake”); see also (“The moment Japanese coast guard crew went bow-first into the tsunami wave in the open ocean“) and (“Tsunami warning center raises magnitude of Japan quake to 9.1“) and (“Quake moved Japan coast 8 feet; shifted Earth’s axis“) and (“Swept away by the tsunami: 10,000 people missing in flattened town which bore brunt of killer wave caused by megaquake“) and (“Japan earthquake was up to 1,000 times more powerful than the one that hit New Zealand last month“) and (“Damage from mega quake increasing, death toll feared to top 1,700”) and (“Hundreds killed, thousands missing in Japan tsunami“) and (“Devastation and despair: Terrifying pictures reveal full horror of Japan’s worst quake“) and (“The big pictures: The moment Japan’s cataclysmic tsunami engulfed a nation“) and (“Hell on Earth: I’ve seen 20 wars… but nothing prepared me for the sight of a town reduced to a morass of splintered wood, jagged concrete and twisted metal where 10,000 have died“) and (“Tsunami wreaks millions of dollars of damage on Californian harbours as giant waves smash U.S. west coast“) and (“Tsunami sweeps 5 to sea, rips out California docks“) and (“Crescent City harbor ‘destroyed’ in tsunami; man swept off beach near Klamath missing at sea“) and (“Here it comes: Moment the tsunami wave rolled into San Francisco Bay captured on film“)

Again, as stated in my article above:

Predictions are that [if, or rather when the “Big One” hits Los Angeles,] it will measure more than 8.0 on the Richter Scale, and that approximately 2 million people in Southern California might lose their lives.

One cannot fathom the devastation and human suffering that would occur if a 9.1 quake hit Southern California.

Shattered building in Rikuzentakada, Japan

[Rescue workers survey the damage from the top of a shattered building in Rikuzentakada, Japan]

. . .


See, e.g., (“‘Our worst crisis since World War Two’, admits Japanese PM as scientists warn nation faces SECOND monster quake and tsunami,” “Second ‘monster’ quake could measure almost 8 on the Richter scale,” “Terrible tide of at least 2,000 bodies wash up on the coastline”“) and and

Just as happened in New Zealand, the aftershocks in Japan may be far worse. Also, given the magnitude of this quake, the aftershocks are likely to be equally severe or even more so in terms of the loss of life and physical damage.

Again, our hearts and prayers go out to the Japanese people.

. . .


Agence France-Presse (AFP) is reporting:

California is closely monitoring efforts to contain leaks from a quake-damaged Japanese nuclear plant, a spokesman said Saturday, as experts said radiation could be blown out across the Pacific.

While officials downplayed any immediate danger, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission deployed two experts to Japan, where the Fukushima plant, which was rocked by a large explosion earlier in the day in the aftermath of Japan’s strongest-ever earthquake.

See (“California ‘closely monitoring’ Japan nuclear leak”); see also (“Japan radiation leaking ‘directly’ into air: IAEA“) and (“America on nuclear alert: Could fallout from Japan explosion reach U.S. West Coast?“) and


15 03 2011
Timothy D. Naegele

Is Southern California Next? [UPDATED]

The UK’s Daily Mail is substantiating—in a sobering and important article entitled, “Is California next? Experts warn U.S. West Coast could be next victim of devastating earthquake on Pacific’s ‘Ring of Fire'”—what I have written above:

The U.S. West Coast could be the next area shaken by a big earthquake, experts warned today.

The earthquakes last Friday in Japan, last month in New Zealand and last year in Chile all happened along the ‘Ring of Fire’ that encircles much of the Pacific Ocean.

Scientists believe the West Coast could be hit as part of a cluster of earthquakes, with a Pacific Northwest fault having similar characteristics to the one underneath Japan.

Experts can’t be certain where or when the next earthquake will be but the West Coast risk has increased because it is in the same volatile geological system.

‘The Pacific Northwest—what we call the Cascadia Subduction Zone—has the same kind of characteristics as the fault beneath Japan,’ seismologist James Gaherty told CBS.

‘We’re worried about a large subduction zone similar to Japan,’ Mr Gaherty, of the Lamont Research Center at Columbia University, told CBS.

The Ring of Fire is a chain of large faults associated with the Pacific plate’s interaction with surrounding plates, which can produce earthquakes and volcanoes.

‘If you think of the Pacific plate as a square, we have had a major earthquake in the Northwestern side of that square (in Japan),’ author Simon Winchester told MSNBC.

‘On February 22 we had Christchurch in New Zealand in the Southwest of the square. Last year we had a major earthquake in Chile in the Southeast of that square.

‘The fourth leg of the square, the fourth side, is where the San Andreas and the Cascadia forms. That hasn’t ruptured—if either (does) there could be major problems.’

The last time California’s San Andreas Fault ruptured was in 1906, when the area of San Francisco was devastated by an earthquake and fires.

‘California has significant risk—the San Andreas Fault,’ he said. ‘(But) California, we’re not going to get a big tsunami producing event. Pacific Northwest, we might.’

Christchurch in New Zealand was rocked last month by a 6.3 quake that killed 166 people, and around 550 people died after Chile was hit in February 2010 by an 8.8.

Friday’s 8.9 earthquake was the highest ever recorded in Japan, compared to the 8.3 Great Kanto Earthquake in Tokyo in 1923, which killed more than 140,000 people.

Japan was better-prepared for last week’s earthquake thanks to strict urban building quakes, but there are always risks with the unpredictable nature of a quake’s location.

A big reason for Haiti’s death toll of 300,000 from the January 2010 quake—outside of the Ring of Fire—was the poor conditions and building codes, reported CBS.


What this article neglects to point out, however, is that—as cited in two articles that are referenced in footnote 9 of my article above—faults that crisscross Southern California may be capable of rupturing in concert to produce larger earthquakes than previously thought. This conclusion was the result of studies of the 2002 Denali Fault Earthquake that rocked Alaska, which was the largest quake to strike on land in North America in nearly 150 years.

The findings suggested that a rupture on the Sierra Madre Fault could trigger an earthquake on the San Andreas Fault. It is believed that an earthquake that struck simultaneously on both faults could be as large as magnitude-8, or larger than expected so close to Los Angeles. Indeed, it was stated:

Were a similar quake to occur on some segments of the San Andreas, its energy could be focused directly at the Los Angeles region.

See also and (“Ring Of Fire: Devastating Earthquakes And Mega-Tsunamis”)

. . .


Because of possible radiation from the nuclear meltdowns in the wake of Japan’s earthquakes, the U.S. Surgeon General is encouraging West Coast residents to buy Iodide tablets—and there is a sudden run on such pills.

It has been reported:

The fear that a nuclear cloud could float from the shores of Japan to the shores of California has some people making a run on iodine tablets. Pharmacists across California report being flooded with requests.

. . .

[T]he United States surgeon general supported the idea as a worthy “precaution.”

U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin is in the Bay Area touring a peninsula hospital. NBC Bay Area reporter Damian Trujillo asked her about the run on tablets and Dr. Benjamin said although she wasn’t aware of people stocking up, she did not think that would be an overreaction. She said it was right to be prepared.

On the other side of the issue is Kelly Huston of the California Emergency Management Agency. Hoston said state officials, along with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the California Energy Commission, were monitoring the situation and said people don’t need to buy the pills.

“Even if we had a radiation release from Diablo Canyon (in San Luis Obispo County), iodide would only be issued to people living within a 10-mile radius of the plant,” Huston added.

Santa Clara County’s public health officer Dr. Martin Fenstersheib told the Mercury News he also does not recommend getting the tablets, adding some people can be severely allergic to the iodine.

“There is no reason for doing it,” Fenstersheib told the paper.

Either way, the pills are hard to get. eBay prices have skyrocketed.

See,; see also


15 03 2011
Timothy D. Naegele

New Madrid

Most Americans have never heard of New Madrid, much less the New Madrid Seismic Zone, which had four of the largest North American earthquakes in recorded history, with magnitudes estimated to be as large as 8.0, all occurring within a three-month period between December 1811 and February 1812. It is mentioned in my article above, and the UK’s Daily Mail has reported:

Amid the outpouring of concern for disaster-ravaged Japan, experts claimed that many more areas of America are at risk from catastrophic earthquakes than most people realise.

Most Americans associate quakes with the West Coast, the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.

But 39 out of the 50 states—including New York and Tennessee—have moderate to high seismic hazard risk.

The ‘New Madrid’ fault line in the heart of the country is particularly dangerous and could affect more than 15 million people in eight states—Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee.

The roughly one million people living in and around Memphis are said by the U.S. Geological Survey to be at the greatest risk of a major earthquake of 7.0 or 8.0 on the Richter scale.

The fault, running from St Louis to Memphis, was the site of some of the worst ever quakes to hit the U.S. The series of four tremblers in 1811 and 1812 were so powerful they reportedly caused the Mississippi River to flow backwards.

There was said to be damage as far afield as Washington DC and Charlotte, South Carolina.

According to a 2009 report by the U.S. Geological Survey, the southern states are unprepared to ride out a major earthquake, both in terms of planning and infrastructure.

There are also 15 nuclear power plants in the fault zone that are of similar design to those battling meltdowns in Japan.

‘Memphis has an ageing infrastructure, and many of its large buildings, including unreinforced schools and fire and police stations, would be particularly vulnerable when subjected to severe ground shaking,’ said the report.

‘Although Memphis is likely to be the focus of major damage in the region, St. Louis, Missouri, Little Rock, Arkansas, and many small- and medium-sized cities would also sustain damage.

‘The older highways and railroad bridges that cross the Mississippi River, as well as older overpasses, would likely be damaged or collapse in the event of a major New Madrid earthquake,’ it added.

Another study by the Mid-America Earthquake Centre estimated that nearly three-quarters of a million buildings would be damaged, 3,000 bridges could collapse, there could be 400,000 breaks and leaks to pipelines and the total clean-up bill could total as much as $900 billion.

. . .

Another well-known fault line is in New York City, crossing along 125 Street from the Hudson River to the East River. The Ramapo Fault runs about 70 miles through New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

South Carolina is also home to an active faultline and had a 7.6-magnitude quake in Charleston in 1886.

Both Hawaii and Alaska, along with West Coast states, are in the red danger zone as having a high propensity for disasters.

See and (“Think living in Tennessee makes you safe from earthquakes? The earthquake map of America that will make you think again“)


7 04 2011
Timothy D. Naegele

Vast Debris Field From First Japanese Earthquake And Tsunami Floating Toward America’s West Coast

The UK’s Daily Mail has reported:

A vast field of debris, swept out to sea following the Japan earthquake and tsunami, is floating towards the U.S. West Coast, it has emerged.

More than 200,000 buildings were washed out by the enormous waves that followed the 9.0 quake on March 11.

There have been reports of cars, tractor-trailers, capsized ships and even whole houses bobbing around in open water.

But even more grizzly are the predictions of U.S. oceanographer Curt Ebbesmeyer, who is expecting human feet, still in their shoes, to wash up on the West Coast within three years.

‘I’m expecting parts of houses, whole boats and feet in sneakers to wash up,’ Mr Ebbesmeyer, a Seattle oceanographer who has spent decades tracking flotsam, told MailOnline.

Several thousand bodies were washed out to sea following the disaster and while most of the limbs will come apart and break down in the water, feet encased in shoes will float, Mr Ebbesmeyer said.

‘I’m expecting the unexpected,’ he added.

Members of the U.S. Navy’s 7th fleet, who spotted the extraordinary floating rubbish, say they have never seen anything like it and are warning the debris now poses a threat to shipping traffic.

. . .

Scientists say the first bits of debris from Japan are due to reach the West Coast in a year’s time after being carried by currents toward Washington, Oregon and California.

They will then turn toward Hawaii and back again toward Asia, circulating in what is known as the North Pacific gyre, said Mr Ebbesmeyer.

. . .

‘All this debris will find a way to reach the West coast or stop in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch,’ a swirling mass of concentrated marine litter in the Pacific Ocean, said Luca Centurioni, a researcher at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego.

. . .

Meanwhile Japan’s meteorological agency says it has now lifted a tsunami warning for the north-eastern coast after a 7.4-magnitude earthquake struck offshore.

The quake hit about 11.30 pm today Japan time. It has rattled nerves nearly a month after the devastating earthquake and tsunami that flattened the same area of coastline.

See (“It is difficult to say just how big the area of ocean trash is, but some reports say it is roughly three times the size of Texas”); see also (“Another strong quake rattles tsunami-ravaged Japan”)

As indicated, the first of many aftershocks has struck Japan already, which will occur again and again in the next six months or so. Some may be devastating—just as horrendous as the first quake, in terms of physical damage and the loss of lives.

One must not forget the recent quake that hit Christchurch in New Zealand—which killed so many, even though the first quake there did not kill anyone—was an aftershock following the one that struck six months before.

As stated in comments above this one, given the historical magnitude of Japan’s first quake, it is not unreasonable to believe that one or more aftershocks might be of an 8.0 magnitude or thereabouts, which would be considered the “Big One” if it hit Southern California.

See, e.g.,


11 04 2011
Timothy D. Naegele

Another Major Earthquake Hits Japan, As Nuclear Plant Dumps Radioactive Water Into The Ocean

As discussed in the comments above, it is not surprising that another major quake has hit Japan; and even more devastating quakes can be expected. In an article entitled, “New 7.1 quake hits Japan as evacuation zone widens,” the Bangkok Post reported:

Japan on Monday widened the evacuation zone around a stricken nuclear plant exactly a month on from a huge natural disaster as another 7.1 magnitude quake and tsunami alert strained nerves anew.

The latest aftershock caused buildings to sway in the capital Tokyo, shortly after the nation had observed a minute’s silence to remember the 13,000 people killed in the March 11 disaster and the 15,000 who officially remain missing.

The US Geological Survey said the 7.1 onshore quake hit at 5:16 pm (0816 GMT) at a depth of just 13 kilometres (eight miles). Its epicentre was 81 kilometres south of Fukushima city, near the troubled nuclear plant.

Japan’s meteorological agency warned that a one-metre (three foot) wave could hit Ibaraki prefecture, one of the areas pummelled by last month’s massive tsunami, before cancelling the alert less than an hour later.

Another tremor of 7.1 on April 7—just one of thousands of aftershocks to hit the traumatised country—killed at least two people and cut electricity across a huge area of northern Japan.

Workers battling to contain the crisis at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant were evacuated after the latest quake Monday, which briefly knocked out power to crippled reactors before electricity was restored.

. . .

Prime Minister Naoto Kan promised Sunday he would “never abandon” tsunami survivors as he tried to focus attention on the future, despite the continuing high-stakes battle at the nuclear plant.

Kan, on only his second trip to the disaster zone in the month since the tragedy, said the government would “work as fast as possible” to house the more than 150,000 people still living in emergency shelters.

Underlining the threat of long-term health damage from radiation, the government on Monday said it was to widen the evacuation area around the atomic plant to include some towns outside the current 20-kilometre exclusion zone.

Those areas were liable to receive potentially hazardous radiation levels of 20 millisieverts per year, top government spokesman Yukio Edano said, while stressing there was no deterioration at the Fukushima plant.

Engineers at Fukushima who last week sealed a leak spewing highly contaminated water into the sea have begun installing a “silt curtain” to try to prevent radioactive mud from spreading around the ocean.

But at the same time, plant operator TEPCO is deliberately dumping more than 10,000 tonnes of mildly radioactive water into the ocean to free up urgently needed storage space for highly toxic liquid.

See (emphasis added); see also and (“Swallowed by the tsunami: Horrifying new footage shows life and death race to outrun giant wave“)


10 05 2011
Timothy D. Naegele

“Fairly violent” 5.3 earthquake rocks Christchurch

Christchurch Cathedral damage

The New Zealand Herald reported:

A 5.3 magnitude earthquake has rocked Christchurch early this morning, GNS Science reports.

The aftershock was centred 20km west of Christchurch, at a depth of 15km, striking the city at 3.04am.

. . .

The aftershock is the second largest to strike following the devastating 6.3 magnitude earthquake on February 22.

It was also the 25th earthquake Canterbury has had measuring five or more on the Richter scale since the 7.1 magnitude earthquake on September 4.

Prime Minister John Key said the quake has not caused any further considerable damage, but it “gnaws away at the confidence of Cantabrians who want this to end and for things to return to normality”.

. . .

Newstalk ZB’s Jo Scott, said the constant shaking doesn’t get any easier, especially when they come in the middle of the night.

“We’ve had a total now of 5490 aftershocks and it’s not nice. It’s definitely something that is hard to deal with. It’s very hard for people in Christchurch, especially when they’re woken.”

Canterbury residents have told Newstalk ZB they feel exhausted and under siege.

“You feel like soldiers, you’re hanging in there but people are only human and they do break down,” one caller said.



11 02 2012
Timothy D. Naegele

The Big One [UPDATED}

San Francisco after 1906 earthquake

We have witnessed the recent devastating quakes and tsunami in Japan, and the quakes at Christchurch on the lovely south island of New Zealand. The “Big One” is expected to hit Los Angeles, and perhaps in the St. Louis area along the New Madrid Fault Line as well.

They have hit in Alabama, Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Utah and elsewhere in the States.

See, e.g., (“Largest Earthquakes in the United States”) and (“Maps of the Largest Earthquakes in the United States”) and (“Today’s Earthquakes in United States”)

What will they look like? Obviously the photos from Japan and Christchurch, which appear in comments above these—and are available at the links that are cited—show the devastation in spades. However, it is useful to look at what happened to San Francisco in 1906 after its 7.9 magnitude quake struck—when the city was leveled, more than 3,000 lives were lost, and approximately 225,000 were injured.

See (“A city in ruins: Stunning photo taken from kite that captures devastation from 1906 earthquake in San Francisco”)

Yes, the United States and other countries have more stringent building codes today. However, will they really make any difference? As discussed above, high-rise office buildings were damaged in the Northridge Quake that struck Southern California in 1994; and instead of fixing them at enormous costs (e.g., tenants needed to vacate the buildings), the damage was swept under the rug.

The chickens may come home to roost in spades; and liquefaction may occur in areas such as Los Angeles’ Marina del Rey harbor, where high-rise buildings may literally collapse.

See (“Earthquakes: The Big One Is Coming To At Least Los Angeles”) and,0,1555748.htmlstory (“EARTHQUAKES: CONCRETE RISKS”); see also (“‘Imagine America Without Los Angeles’: Expert Warns Southern California Isn’t Ready For Major Quake“) and,0,1585622.htmlstory#axzz2ozge8hN0 (“L.A., Santa Monica buildings may sit atop quake faults“) and (“7.5 QUAKE ON CALIFORNIA FAULT COULD BE DISASTROUS“) and (“Earthquakes in Chile and L.A. Raise Fears About ‘Ring of Fire’”) and (“STUDY: OKLAHOMA’S DAILY SMALL QUAKES RAISE RISK OF BIG ONES“) and (“Risk of 8.0 earthquake in California rises, USGS says“) and (SUPERQUAKE ROCKS NEPAL) and (“Startling images from Nepal earthquake epicenter reveal entire hillside villages have been decimated“) and (“Is California next? US Geological Survey warns risk of magnitude 8 or larger ‘Big One’ earthquake has increased dramatically“) and (“Nepal Hit by Fresh Earthquakes“) and–-in-theaters-and-in-real-life.htm (“San Andreas Ready to Blow”—”The San Andreas Fault is a very real hazard. At almost 800 miles long, the fault marks the boundary where the North American plate meets the Pacific plate”) and (“Magnitude 8.5 Earthquake Strikes Offshore Japan“) and (“Swarm of earthquakes rattles rural Alabama; reason unclear“) and (“L.A. OKs Hollywood skyscrapers despite quake concerns“) and (“White House rallies public, private efforts to prepare for devastating earthquakes“) and (“1964 Alaska earthquake”—”Across south-central Alaska, ground fissures, collapsing structures, and tsunamis resulting from the earthquake caused about 139 deaths. Lasting four minutes and thirty-eight seconds, the magnitude 9.2 megathrust earthquake was the most powerful recorded in North American history, and the second most powerful recorded in world history [with the most powerful being the 1960 Valdivia, Chile earthquake with the magnitude of 9.5]”—”The largest tsunami wave was recorded in Shoup Bay, Alaska, with a height of about 220 ft”)


8 03 2016
Timothy D. Naegele

Pacific Northwest Could Be Decimated By Megaquake

Path of tsunami
[Terrifying destructive path of tsunami]

The UK’s Daily Mail has reported:

The threat of the ‘Big One’ has loomed over the Pacific Northwest for years.

A powerful earthquake thought to be as large as 9.2 magnitude ripped through the earth in 1700, along the 620 mile stretch of the Cascadia Subduction Zone, causing severe shaking and a massive tsunami.

Now, a terrifying new simulation from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has plotted the path of the tsunami as it traveled from the US to Japan.

Experts say an event of this kind occurs roughly every 400-600 years, and the area is now overdue for a similar quake that could leave thousands dead or displaced.

The historical tsunami struck the coasts of Japan just before midnight on January 27, 1700.

Scientists have finally traced the origins of this ‘orphan tsunami’ to a powerful seismic event in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, along the Cascadia Subduction Zone.

The researchers analysed sediment deposits and the ‘ghost forests’ of drowned trees, along with historical records from Japan and the oral histories of Native Americans, according to the PTWC.

Comparing the tree rings of dead trees with those still living allowed scientists to pinpoint the date of the last devastating earthquake.

The trees all died in the winter of 1699-1700, and the Pacific Northwest from Northern California to Washington suddenly sank up to 6 feet, flooding the area with seawater.

The animation from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, an effort by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Weather Service, shows the real time path of the earthquake waves through the ocean, and what happens when the resulting tsunami waves hit land.


Researchers call this a RIFT model, Real-Time Forecasting of Tsunamis.

Using the earthquake information, the RIFT model shows movement, and predicts the speed, wavelength, and amplitude of the waves.

Wavelengths as well as height are indicated by color.

The coastlines are all mapped with blue points at first, to represent normal sea level.

As the tsunami waves reach them, the points will change colour to indicate the height of the incoming waves.

Blue to green points indicate no hazard, yellow to orange indicates low hazard, light red to bright red means significant hazard which requires evacuation, with waves of up to 10 feet, and dark red indicates severe hazard, with waves reaching heights over 10 feet.

In the severe hazard zone, a second-tier evacuation may even be necessary.

At the end of the animation, an ‘energy map,’ shows the beam of kinetic energy. Kinetic energy in the tsunami is highly directional, making it more severe in the middle than at the sides.

The coastlines in the path of the beam are also hit by larger waves than those to the side, PTWC explains.

This quieter cousin of the San Andreas Fault in California is far more dangerous, and could make itself known at any moment.

Running from Northern California to British Columbia, the Cascadia Subduction Zone can deliver a quake that’s many times stronger than San Andreas.

Seismologists say a full rupture of the more than 600-mile-long offshore fault and an ensuing tsunami is now only a matter of when.

‘Cascadia can make an earthquake almost 30 times more energetic than the San Andreas to start with,’ Chris Goldfinger, a professor of geophysics at Oregon State University told CNN.

‘Then it generates a tsunami at the same time, which the side-by-side motion of the San Andreas can’t do’.

The Cascadia could deliver a huge 9.0-magnitude quake and the shaking could last anything from three to five minutes, scientists claim.

‘In this case, three minutes – and I’ve been in a 9 in Japan – three minutes is an eternity,’ said Goldfinger. ‘It is a very, very long time.’

Goldfinger says we’ll lose bridges, highway routes and that the coast will probably be entirely closed down.

As a result it would be difficult to get around, and rescue crews will be overwhelmed.

Federal, state and military officials have been working together to draft plans to be followed when the ‘Big One’ happens.

These contingency plans reflect deep anxiety about the potential gravity of the looming disaster: upward of 14,000 people dead in the worst-case scenarios, 30,000 injured, thousands left homeless and the region’s economy setback for years, if not decades.

As a response, what planners envision is a deployment of civilian and military personnel and equipment that would eclipse the response to any natural disaster that has occurred thus far in the US.

There would be waves of cargo planes, helicopters and ships, as well as tens of thousands of soldiers, emergency officials, mortuary teams, police officers, firefighters, engineers, medical personnel and other specialists.

‘The response will be orders of magnitude larger than Hurricane Katrina or Super Storm Sandy,’ said Lt. Col. Clayton Braun of the Washington State Army National Guard.

Oregon’s response plan is called the Cascadia Playbook, named after the threatening offshore fault — the Cascadia Subduction Zone.

The plan, unveiled last year, has been handed out to key officials so the state can respond quickly when disaster strikes.

‘That playbook is never more than 100 feet from where I am,’ said Andrew Phelps, director of the Oregon Office of Emergency Management.

A magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami that devastated parts of Japan in 2011 gave greater clarity to what the Pacific Northwest needs to do to improve its readiness for a similar catastrophe.

‘The Japanese quake and tsunami allowed light bulbs to go off for policymakers,’ Phelps said.

Much still needs to be done, and it is impossible to fully prepare for a catastrophe of this magnitude, but those responsible for drafting the evolving contingency plans believe they are making headway.

Worst-case scenarios show that more than 1,000 bridges in Oregon and Washington state could either collapse or be so damaged that they are unusable.

The main coastal highway, US Route 101, will suffer heavy damage from the shaking and from the tsunami.

Traffic on Interstate 5 — one of the most important thoroughfares in the nation — will likely have to be rerouted because of large cracks in the pavement.

Seattle, Portland and other urban areas could suffer considerable damage, such as the collapse of structures built before codes were updated to take into account a mega-quake.

The last full rip of the Cascadia Subduction Zone happened in January 1700.

The exact date and destructive power was determined from buried forests along the Pacific Northwest coast and an ‘orphan tsunami’ that washed ashore in Japan.

Geologists digging in coastal marshes and offshore canyon bottoms have also found evidence of earlier great earthquakes and tsunamis.

The inferred timeline of those events gives a recurrence interval between Cascadia megaquakes of roughly every 400 to 600 years, reports the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network.



Last year, scientists outlined their alarmingly unhelpful tips on how to survive the earthquake that will hit the Pacific Northwest.

The killer quake along Cascadia, a fault line which runs from Cape Mendocino, California, to Vancouver Island, Canada, is 72 years overdue, according to peer-reviewed studies.

The ‘Big One’ will hit when Juan de Fuca, a 700-mile chunk of the Pacific Ocean, slides under Canada and America, causing the entire coastal region to sink at least six feet.

When – not if – it arrives, it is unlikely the people of coastal Oregon, Washington and California will be able to escape.

But if they want to try, there are a few tips they should keep in mind.

Run, don’t drive, to higher ground, says Kevin Cupples, the city planner for the town of Seaside, Oregon, in an interview with the New Yorker.

The force of the quake will cause liquefaction, when solid ground acts like liquid, across vast swathes of the porous region.

In the areas that aren’t ‘liquefied’, the highways will likely be crumpled by landslides, with 30,000 avalanches set to hit Seattle alone.

Citizens will have a 20-minute interval to climb to the highest altitude possible before the full force of the tsunami hits, scientists predict.

Their alert will be when dogs start barking.

The first sign the quake is coming will be a set of compressional waves, only audible by dogs. Then there will be the quake, then 20 minutes later, the tsunami.

Geographers estimate that many could survive just by walking – however, they need to be going at least 3.5mph.

If everyone ups their average speed from 2.5mph to 3.5mph, the death toll drops to 15,970. About 70 per cent of them would be in Washington, nearly 30 per cent in Oregon and only 4 per cent in California.

And there is no point being a hero. ‘When that tsunami is coming, you run,’ Jay Wilson, the chair of the Oregon Seismic Safety Policy Advisory Commission, tells the New Yorker.

‘You protect yourself, you don’t turn around, you don’t go back to save anybody. You run for your life.’

The only other safety measure is to relocate away from the Pacific north west.

See (“Terrifying simulation shows how the Pacific Northwest could be decimated by a megaquake caused by the Cascadia fault“) (emphasis added: diagrams, video, photos and charts omitted)



15 04 2016
Timothy D. Naegele

Magnitude 7.4 Earthquake Hits Southern Japan—Tsunami Advisory Issued [UPDATED]

Japanese quake victim

Sky News has reported:

The Japanese Meteorological Agency issued a tsunami warning, saying that there was “a marine threat” present and people should leave coastal areas.

The warning, which the Japanese broadcaster NHK said was for a wave one metre high, was for the Ariake Sea and Yatsushiro Seas.

The quake, which was initially rated at 7.4, hit at 1.26am on Saturday, local time, barely 24 hours after a 6.2 quake hit the same area.

At least nine people have been killed and around 800 others were injured when the previous tremor hit about 9.26pm (local time) on Thursday.

Three of those who died lost their lives in Kumamoto.

The United States Geological Service (USGS) reported that two aftershocks of magnitude 5.8 and 5.7 struck just a few miles away from the latest quake less than half an hour later.

Before the latest quake there had been a series of aftershocks in the area.

Earlier, an eight-month-old baby girl was rescued alive and unharmed from rubble by firefighters after being trapped for up to eight hours.

A video also emerged showing the moment frightened shoppers ran, light fixtures and shelves shook and items crashed to the ground as the quake hit.

Some 40,000 people were said to have fled their homes when the quake struck and spent the night outside.

One of the towns most badly affected was Mashiki, situated close to the epicentre, where fires erupted shortly after the quake hit, destroying many of its traditional wooden buildings.

See (emphasis added); see also and (7.8 MAG QUAKE ROCKS ECUADOR)

As my article above and the comments beneath it indicate, when the “Big One” hits Los Angeles—which is also on the Pacific’s “Ring of Fire”—this quake in Japan will seem minuscule by comparison!

See also (“L.A. releases addresses of 13,500 apartments and condos likely to need earthquake retrofitting“) and (“Earthquakes: The Big One Is Coming To At Least Los Angeles”—”[T]he steel joints in many high-rise [Los Angeles] office buildings were apparently weakened by the 1994 Northridge earthquake, and nothing has been done to repair them. To remove tenants from the buildings, while the potentially-critical work is underway, was deemed to be politically and economically unpalatable. Thus, the problems were swept under the rug and never addressed by building owners and the city’s politicians. Los Angeles may rue the day that this happened”) and (“San Andreas fault ‘locked, loaded and ready to roll’ with big earthquake, expert says“) and (“Large-scale motion detected near San Andreas Fault System“) and (“Risk of big earthquake on San Andreas fault rises after quake swarm at Salton Sea“)


26 04 2016
Timothy D. Naegele

Dog Dies From Exhaustion After Rescuing Seven People From Earthquake [UPDATED]

Rescue dog

Adam Boult of the UK’s Telegraph has reported:

A four-year-old white Labrador called Dayko has been hailed as a hero after rescuing seven people from the aftermath of the Ecuador earthquake – before dying from exhaustion.

Dayko, a rescue dog for the Ibara fire service, died last Friday, having spent the previous days searching for survivors in the rubble left by the 7.8-magnitude earthquake which hit Ecuador last week.

According to a post on Ibara fire service’s Facebook page the cause of death was “massive coronary myocardial infarction and acute respiratory failure.” He had been working as a rescue dog for three and a half years.

“We regret to inform you that today the [fire service] is in mourning because [we] just lost Dayko who participated in the work of searching in Pedernales,” said the fire service.

“This four legged friend gave his life in the line of duty. Thank you Dayko for your heroic efforts in Pedernales and in various emergencies where you were present.

“You held high the name of the K9 unit.”

More than 2,000 people were injured in the quake on April 16, which ripped apart buildings and roads and knocked out power along the Pacific coastline. At least 654 people have been killed.

President Rafael Correa, said last week: “Reconstruction will cost billions of dollars,” and the impact on economic growth “could be huge.”

Around 500 specialists from Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Peru, Spain, Switzerland, the US, and Venezuela have been assisting local fire brigades and special forces. Supplies have been arriving by air from less-affected parts of Ecuador and survivors flown for treatment to Quito, the capital, and Guayaquil, the biggest city.

See; see also (“Rescue dog dies from EXHAUSTION after saving seven people from earthquake rubble”—“’Dayko joined our canine program when he was just a year old'”—“’Since his arrival, he captivated us with his compassionate gaze and his friendly character.’ The award-winning pooch was buried with full honours, with his fellow rescue dogs and fire fighters paying tribute to the selfless comrade”)

May God bless Dayko and others who perished, as well as the survivors and their life-savers.


30 09 2016
Timothy D. Naegele

A Monster 7.8 Earthquake In Southern California!

The Big One hits LA

The Los Angeles Times has reported:

The rumbling started Monday morning deep under the Salton Sea. A rapid succession of small earthquakes — three measuring above magnitude 4.0 — began rupturing near Bombay Beach, continuing for more than 24 hours. Before the swarm started to fade, more than 200 earthquakes had been recorded.

The temblors were not felt over a very large area, but they have garnered intense interest — and concern — among seismologists. It marked only the third time since earthquake sensors were installed there in 1932 that the area had seen such a swarm, and this one had more earthquakes than the events of 2001 and 2009.

The quakes occurred in one of California’s most seismically complex areas. They hit in a seismic zone just south of where the mighty San Andreas fault ends. It is composed of a web of faults that scientists fear could one day wake up the nearby San Andreas from its long slumber.

The San Andreas fault’s southernmost stretch has not ruptured since about 1680 — more than 330 years ago, scientists estimate. And a big earthquake happens on average in this area once every 150 or 200 years, so experts think the region is long overdue for a major quake.

The swarm actually increased the likelihood of a much more major quake in Southern California, at least temporarily.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, for the seven-day period following Tuesday, the chances of a magnitude-7 or greater earthquake being triggered on the southern San Andreas fault are as high as 1 in 100 and as low as 1 in 3,000. The chances diminish over time.

Experts said it’s important to understand that the chance of the swarm triggering a big one, while small, was real.

“This is close enough to be in that worry zone,” seismologist Lucy Jones said of the location of the earthquake swarm. “It’s a part of California that the seismologists all watch.”

The swarm began just after 4 a.m. Monday, starting earthquakes three to seven miles deep underneath the Salton Sea.

The biggest earthquakes hit later that morning, a 4.3, and then a pair later at night, another 4.3 followed by a 4.1. There was another burst of activity on Tuesday night.

The earthquakes hit in a sparsely populated area, less than four miles away from Bombay Beach, population 171, sitting on the edge of the Sonoran Desert.

When swarms hit this area — the northern edge of the so-called Brawley Seismic Zone — it’s enough to give earthquake experts heartburn. And there’s reason for that.

Just 12 hours after a 6.3 earthquake hit south of the Salton Sea in 1987, an even larger temblor, a 6.6, ruptured six miles away — the Superstition Hills earthquake.

No deaths were reported from the earthquake in this sparsely populated area, but it did suggest how an earthquake on one fault could add stress on another fault.

The San Andreas fault is even closer to where Monday’s earthquake swarm hit — less than four miles away.

“When there’s significant seismicity in this area of the fault, we kind of wonder if it is somehow going to go active,” said Caltech seismologist Egill Hauksson. “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.”

And that could set the first domino off on the San Andreas fault, unzipping the fault from Imperial County through Los Angeles County, spreading devastating shaking waves throughout the southern half of California in a monster 7.8 earthquake.

“The southern San Andreas is actually seismically fairly quiet. It doesn’t really make noise. So to have something right next to the main strand making a little noise — you have to pay attention to how it might be transferring stress onto the main strand of the fault,” said USGS research geologist Kate Scharer.

And the problem with the southern San Andreas fault — the stretch from Monterey County to the Salton Sea — is that when it goes, it’s probably going to go big, such as with a magnitude-7 or higher quake, Scharer said.

The San Andreas is also thought to be smoother than other faults, making it easier for an earthquake to keep plowing ahead into a longer, more powerful rupture, rather than ending as a smaller event, Hauksson said.

There have been other earthquakes in past decades that have raised fears among scientists that they could wake the sleeping San Andreas.

One of the biggest concerns came in 1992, when the magnitude-7.3 Landers earthquake struck the Mojave Desert. That sparked aftershocks, including the magnitude-6.5 earthquake in Big Bear three hours later, and involved faults that were close to the San Andreas.

“We were at a high level of concern then,” Jones said. “And that lasted through the aftershock sequence through the next year, because the aftershocks were coming down and hitting the San Andreas.”

A San Andreas earthquake starting at the Salton Sea has long been a major concern for scientists. In 2008, USGS researchers simulated what would happen if a magnitude-7.8 earthquake started at the Salton Sea and then barreled up the San Andreas fault, sending shaking waves out in all directions.

By the time the San Andreas fault becomes unhinged in San Bernardino County’s Cajon Pass, Interstate 15 and rail lines could be severed. Historic downtowns in the Inland Empire could be awash in fallen brick, crushing people under the weight of collapsed buildings that had never been retrofitted.

Los Angeles could feel shaking for a minute — a lifetime compared with the seven seconds felt during the 1994 Northridge earthquake. Shaking waves reach as far as Bakersfield, Oxnard and Santa Barbara. About 1,600 fires spread across Southern California. And powerful aftershocks larger than magnitude 7 pulverize the region, sending shaking into San Diego County and into the San Gabriel Valley.

The Shakeout simulation says it’s possible that hundreds of brick and concrete buildings could fall, and even a few fairly new high-rise steel buildings. The death toll could climb to 1,800 people, and such an earthquake could cause 50,000 injuries and $200 billion in damage.

See (“Risk of big earthquake on San Andreas fault rises after quake swarm at Salton Sea“) (emphasis added: chart and video omitted); see also (“Is the big one about to hit? Fears rise amid ‘quake swarm’ of more than 35 mini earthquakes less than four miles from the San Andreas fault“)

If anything, the conclusions set forth in this article are too conservative.

As I wrote in my article above:

Residents of Southern California are waiting for the “Big One” to occur sometime in the future, which geologists have been saying is long overdue. Predictions are that it will measure more than 8.0 on the Richter Scale, and that approximately 2 million people in Southern California might lose their lives.

Hold on tight. The worst is yet to come.


21 11 2016
Timothy D. Naegele

Massive Earthquakes Devastate New Zealand And Japan, Again!

In an article entitled, “Families flee New Zealand coast as tsunami waves sparked by 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit Christchurch,” the UK’s Mirror reported:

People near the coastal areas were urged to ‘Move to higher ground’ and emergency services lines were down. Widespread death and destruction feared.

An earthquake of magnitude 7.8 has struck near Christchurch, New Zealand, triggering a tsunami with 2.5m high waves.

People living along the coast have been warned to ‘move to higher ground’ – with the first waves already hitting the north east coast of South Island.

One-metre high waves are now hitting Christchurch in a barrage predicted to last hours.

The quake, which lasted for two minutes, struck in darkness in the early hours of Monday morning in Christchurch which was reduced to rubble by an earthquake just five years ago.

The tsunami threat is for the east coast of all New Zealand including Christchurch, Wellington and the Chatham islands – people across the entire country have been told to stay off beaches.

Firefighters are continuing to scour the rubble at a home in Kaikoura for a missing person after one person was found alive.

A fire brigade source said there had been other reports of casualties but the full extent was not yet known.

Some areas along South Island’s east coast could be hit with waves as high as 16.4ft, says New Zealand’s Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management.

It has tweeted a photo of a map that shows the areas that are expected to be affected by a tsunami.

It said: “Highest waves are expected between Marlborough and Banks Peninsula. There is a threat for all NZ coast. Stay off beaches.”

Also known as a seismic sea waves, tsunamis are a series of waves caused by the displacement of a huge volume of water – in this case, the earthquake.

So far, the first waves have hit smaller islands off the east coast of New Zealand but they are expected to hammer the country’s larger islands over the next several hours.

St John Ambulance says it is starting to receive reports of injuries from the earthquake zone, including Culverden and Kaikoura, Radio New Zealand reports.

The nature of the injuries is not known.

The earthquake could be felt more than 1,100 miles away, with potential for damage well over 100 miles away.

Tiles have been reported falling off walls more than 130 miles away.

St John Ambulance is sending a command unit, additional paramedics and rescue helicopters to the disaster zone in case they are needed.

It was originally recorded as 7.4 on the Richter scale but has since been upgraded to 7.8 by the US Geological Service.

In Wellington, warning sirens are sounding and people have been witnessed crying in the streets, while elsewhere there have been reports of roads cracking up after the quake.

Tsunami waves will not resemble normal sea waves because their wavelength is much longer and will initially look like a rapidly rising tide.

It is feared the waves will reach between 3m to 5m in height, with the potential widespread death and destruction.

Some communities are being warned that they do not have tsunami warning sirens.

People living in towns without sirens have been urged to speak to neighbours and friends, especially elderly and vulnerable people.

British chef Tim Owen, who is in Halswell, a satellite town of Christchurch, told Mirror Online: “We live about 25 minutes from the beach, it’s not too far. The thought of a tsunami is always scary.

“I have some friends that live right on the beach so have contacted them.”

The 29-year-old from Maidenhead, Berkshire, added: “The earthquake went on for like a minute or so, which is quite long. It felt like swaying and like a wave.

“We just got up from the couch and stood in the doorway. It does make you feel very anxious not knowing if it will get worse or when it may stop.

The New Zealand Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency management tweeted: “A tsunami has been generated, the first wave has arrived in the North Eastern Coast of the South Island.”

Kevin Rankin, from Christchurch, tweeted his horror as tsunami sirens go off along the coast and locals desperately flee inland for their lives.

He wrote: “Tsunami siren going off and can hear all the cars heading towards the hills.”

The ministry added: “If you are in a low lying area on the East Coast of the North, South or Chatham Islands move immediately to higher ground.”

They said: “People on the East Coast should move to higher ground – rest of NZ stay off beaches and away from the water.”

A later tweet warned: “Further waves should be expected and may be larger and more dangerous.”

Earlier they wrote: “People near the coast in the south island should move to high ground or inland.”

Its Wellington Region office issued maps showing colour-coded tsunami evacuation zones for coastal areas.

Today’s earthquake measured more powerfully on the Richter scale than 2011’s 6.3 quake.

Power lines and phone lines are said to be down, including emergency lines to police, fire and ambulance services.

Others reported that the emergency number 111 was back up and running.

Anthropology student Heather McMillan said her home shook “like jelly” when the earthquake struck as she was getting ready for bed, and she feared it was going to collapse.

The 20-year-old told Mirror Online: “When it started it was really big so I thought it was going to be short but it kept going for a good few minutes and felt like the second floor was going to fall down.

“Very quickly you realise it’s an earthquake because I’ve felt one before. “But this was a different level. I honestly thought it was going to last for 20 minutes or longer.

“I live in the second storey of a flat and it was like a rolling feeling from the house. The aftershocks have felt like we’re a ship at sea.

”She said the tremor lasted around five minutes but it felt like forever”.

She added: “I think it’s one of those moments when you start thinking whether this is it? Like the big earthquake that’s going to put Christchurch back into the place it was five years ago?”

Heather said her flat did not suffer any damage, but her parents in Wellington were without power and had some belongings damaged as the earthquake shook their home.

Patsy Knight told Mirror Online that aftershocks were still continuing 20 minutes after the quake.

She said: “We’re in Wellington and absolutely terrifying. Smashed glass everywhere, but thankfully all good. Not much sleep happening though, kids with us. Aftershocks continuously happening!”

The earthquake was felt as far away as Auckland, Wellington, Nelson and Hamilton.

In Hamilton, Wayne Timmo woke to the kitchen blinds banging against the window and said the quake felt like a “long slow, rolling or almost rotating motion”.

He told “The water in the neighbour’s swimming pool was left sloshing around for about a minute and people woken by the quake came out onto the street to talk about it.

“The cat has disappeared and the neighbours dog is upset.”

In Nelson, resident Jo Davis grabbed her children and sheltered in a doorway as the quake seemed to “go on forever”.

She said it had a much longer, more rolling motion than a 2010 Canterbury quake she experienced.

Davis said she was surprised there appeared to be no damage to the house.

“It really shook for a long time.”

Others took to social media to show pictures and videos of their devastated homes.

Alysa Jane tweeted: “6.something magnitude earthquake did it’s damage I’m on the 7th floor! I’m rekt!”

Kavithya wrote: “That was a huge earthquake. Got evacuated out of our apartment building. Hope everyone affected by it are safe!”

Cynthia Drescher, from Christchurch, said the earthquake lasted for three to four minutes.

She said she was evacuated to a building rebuilt after it was destroyed in the 2011 quake.

Cynthia described aftershocks she felt as “freaky”.

Well-wishers from around the world sent their best wishes to the stricken country which has been devastated by earthquakes over the years.

Hugh Sintes told Mirror Online he and his wife Emma were about to retire for the night when their home began to shake.

He said: “The earthquake was intense, the whole house was moving a considerable amount – doors, lights were swaying.

“We have experienced many quakes in the South Island, none have ever lasted as long as this one did.

“Initially I was not too concerned, then because of the duration we had concern that the quake would become stronger and it did.

“After I guess a minute the quake reached its peak.”

Hugh said his home has a small amount of cosmetic damage, including cracks, but he hasn’t had a chance to inspect the exterior because the quake struck at night.

Arnoud Beckers, from Holland, wrote: “Hope everybody is safe in the beautiful city of Christchurch. Again hit by a huge quake.”

Islanders could face aftershocks which often follow the main quake.

They can cause further building damage and falling debris.

A Christchurch Police spokeswoman told they hadn’t received any calls about damage.

“Just be careful on the roads in case there’s damage,” she said.

St John Ambulance says they have no reports of injuries from the quake.

“We are monitoring the situation but at this stage we have not activated our emergency operations centre (EOC)”, they said.

“We encourage everyone to check on their neighbours, family and friends, especially those who live alone or are frail.”

“It is also important to have your emergency kit, torch and other emergency supplies ready.”

See (emphasis added; map and graphs omitted); see also (“M7.8 – 53km NNE of Amberley, New Zealand“) and (“Magnitude 7.8 earthquake jolts New Zealand’s South Island near Christchurch“) and (“Tsunami Threat After New Zealand Rocked by Strong Earthquake“) and (“New Zealand earthquake: Powerful aftershocks keep rocking the country after 7.8 magnitude quake kills two in Wellington“) and (“As New Zealand earthquake struck, mysterious green and blue flashes appeared“) and (“New Zealand earthquake lifts the seabed by more than a METRE“)

In Japan, the same thing occurred, again. In an article entitled, “TSUNAMI WARNING ISSUED AFTER QUAKE OFF FUKUSHIMA IN JAPAN,” the AP reported:

An earthquake with preliminary magnitude of 7.3 has struck off the coast of Fukushima prefecture in Japan. A tsunami warning for waves of up to three meters (10 feet) has been issued.

The Japan Meteorological Agency says the quake struck around 6 a.m at a depth of 10 kilometers (6 miles).

Fukushima prefecture is north of Tokyo and home to the nuclear power plant that was destroyed by a huge tsunami following an offshore earthquake in 2011.

See (emphasis added); see also (“Japan earthquake: 7.3 magnitude quake strikes off Fukushima – tsunami warning issued“)

Consistent with my article above, the Wall Street Journal reported:

For years, scientists believed the mighty San Andreas—the 800-mile-long fault running the length of California where the Pacific and North American plates meet—could only rupture in isolated sections.

But a 2014 study by federal, state and academic researchers showed that much of the fault could unzip all at once, unleashing a rare, singular catastrophe. Now, a firm has used that research to come up with a new analysis of the damage that could be caused by statewide break of the San Andreas.

The analysis, by CoreLogic Inc., a real-estate analytics firm in Irvine, Calif., lays out an alarming scenario of destruction.

As many as 3.5 million homes could be damaged in an 8.3-magnitude quake along a roughly 500-mile portion of the fault—compared with 1.6 million homes damaged if only the northern part of the fault were to break, or 2.3 million if the southern piece ruptured.

The damage to homes alone could total $289 billion, compared with a previous range of $137 billion on the southern portion of the fault and $161 billion in the north, according to the CoreLogic analysis.

Researchers say a statewide quake above 8.0 would likely hit the Golden State once at least every 2,500 years. “We are talking about very rare earthquakes here,” said Maiclaire Bolton, a seismologist and senior product manager for CoreLogic.

But officials of the California Earthquake Authority, a nonprofit seller of quake policies, said the statewide threat could put upward pressure on pricing of earthquake policies by an undetermined amount.

The CoreLogic report could also help encourage more people to take out earthquake insurance in the state, where just 10% of homeowners have coverage, said Glenn Pomeroy, chief executive officer of the state-managed authority.

“When reports like these do come out, it does serve as a reminder there is a tremendous amount of uninsured exposure,” Mr. Pomeroy said.

Before 2014, when the U.S. Geological Survey, Southern California Earthquake Center and California Geological Survey conducted their updated forecast to show the possibility of a single statewide quake, seismologists didn’t think an earthquake could occur along such a long portion of the San Andreas.

That is because sections of the fault in the northern and southern parts of the state are locked in place as pressure from plate movement builds. The portion of the fault in Central California creeps along almost imperceptibly, they say, providing a slow release of some of that pressure.

Some of California’s largest earthquakes have rocked Southern California and Northern California, where seismic pressure has built up the most.

In the 2014 study, researchers determined a quake that starts at either end of the San Andreas could ripple along its length—producing a rupture extending hundreds of miles, such as the 9.0 temblor that devastated Tohoku, Japan, in 2011.

“Scientists weren’t really sure if you could have a rupture through the creeping section of the San Andreas,” said Morgan Page, a USGS research geophysicist who participated in the 2014 study. “Now we think it’s not very probable, but it is possible.”

See (“‘The Big One’ in California—and It Just Got Bigger”)

As I wrote in my article above:

Residents of Southern California are waiting for the “Big One” to occur sometime in the future, which geologists have been saying is long overdue. Predictions are that it will measure more than 8.0 on the Richter Scale, and that approximately 2 million people in Southern California might lose their lives.

See (“Earthquakes: The Big One Is Coming To At Least Los Angeles“)


16 12 2016
Timothy D. Naegele

Ring Of Fire: Devastating Earthquakes And Mega-Tsunamis [UPDATED]

Ring of Fire

The UK’s Express has reported:

The tear on the sea floor, which is some 60,000 square kilometres in size and sits over the Ring of Fire, has been confirmed north of Australia.

The Ring of Fire is the largest and most active fault line in the world, stretching from New Zealand, all around the east coast of Asia, over to Canada and the USA and all the way down to the southern tip of South America.

There have been numerous deadly earthquakes this year alone across the Ring of Fire, including in Japan, Peru and New Zealand and the discovery of a massive tear above it will only increase fears that a huge tremor is on its way.

While the huge tear, which is actually an exposed fault, has been known about for 90 years, experts have been unable to figure out how it got there.

The tear, known as the Banda Detachment, was formed when one tectonic plate slid under another, ultimately sinking the Earth’s crust into the mantle.

However, a sudden slip now could lead to one of the largest earthquakes in history and spark mega-tsunamis.

The researchers hope the discovery can help prepare for tsunamis and earthquakes.

Australian National University lead researcher Jonathan Pownall said: “Our research found that a 7 km-deep abyss beneath the Banda Sea off eastern Indonesia was formed by extension along what might be Earth’s largest-identified exposed fault plane.

“In a region of extreme tsunami risk, knowledge of major faults such as the Banda Detachment, which could make big earthquakes when they slip, is fundamental to being able to properly assess tectonic hazards.”

See (“BIG ONE FEARS: Huge tear on Ring of Fire could lead to CATASTROPHIC earthquakes & tsunamis“) (emphasis added)

If such a catastrophic quake occurred on the West Coast of the United States, in Southern California or elsewhere, an ensuing tsunami might destroy homes on the beach in communities such as Malibu. Indeed, I owned a small house on the sand down the hill from Pepperdine University in Malibu when an El Niño storm hit, and the house was washed out to sea.

When I traveled from Washington, D.C. to the site, I was astounded that not a twig remained, even though the house had been built of wood and anchored by massive wooden pilings that were driven deep into the sand. The lot was completely bare. It was a poignant reminder that the force of nature can be staggering, which the people of Japan learned all too well when a devastating tsunami hit there in 2011.

See, e.g., (“WOW! THE BIG ONE HAS HIT: 9.0 OR 9.1 QUAKE, TSUNAMI STRIKE JAPAN, AS THOUSANDS ARE KILLED!“); see also (“Earthquakes: The Big One Is Coming To At Least Los Angeles“)


13 06 2017
Timothy D. Naegele

Beware: The Big One Is Coming

The Big One hits LA

Rong-Gong Lin II has written in the Los Angeles Times:

As Interstate 10 snakes through the mountains and toward the golf courses, housing tracts and resorts of the Coachella Valley, it crosses the dusty slopes of the San Gorgonio Pass.

The pass is best known for the spinning wind turbines that line it. But for geologists, the narrow desert canyon is something of a canary in the coal mine for what they expect will be a major earthquake coming from the San Andreas fault.

The pass sits at a key geological point, separating the low desert from the Inland Empire, and, beyond that, the Los Angeles Basin.

Through it runs an essential aqueduct that feeds Southern California water from the Colorado River as well as vital transportation links. It’s also the path for crucial power transmission lines.

California earthquake experts believe what happens at the San Gorgonio Pass during a major rupture of the San Andreas fault could have wide-ranging implications for the region and beyond.

They worry a huge quake could sever lifelines at the pass for weeks or months, cutting Southern California off from major highway and rail routes as well as sources of power, oil and gas. Southern California’s cities are surrounded by mountains, making access through narrow passes like the San Gorgonio essential.

Experts have also expressed grave concerns about the Cajon Pass, where Interstate 15 and key electric and fuel lines run. Other problem spots are the Tejon Pass, through which Interstate 5 passes, and the Palmdale area, through which the California Aqueduct crosses.

One of the most dire scenarios geologists have studied is a quake that begins at the Salton Sea. Such a quake would be particularly dangerous because the fault’s shape points shaking energy toward Los Angeles.

Southern California has not seen an earthquake like this since humans started recording history here. But the geological evidence of such quakes is all around us.

. . .

Signs of megaquakes

In Desert Hot Springs, hints of the mighty San Andreas fault lie all over: The rise of mountains that created the Coachella Valley. The oases and palm trees — made possible only because earthquakes pulverized rocks that allowed springs to burst to the surface.

A geologist’s trained eye can even spot exactly where the fault is located. In one exposed cliff, USGS research geologist Kate Scharer showed how one side of a hill has moved northward and skyward compared with the right side — and the gouge in the hillside between them was the fault.

Farther away, Scharer described how an old lower canyon was severed from the upper canyon and its ancient source of water.

Direction matters

There’s a reason why this particular scenario vexes scientists:

An earthquake arriving from this direction would point cataclysmic shaking directly into the heart of L.A., a kind of disaster that has not been seen since humans began recording history in California. Shaking could last for as long as three minutes.

In a magnitude 8.2 scenario, the earthquake would begin at the Salton Sea, and then — like a big rig driving on a freeway — speed up the San Andreas fault toward Los Angeles County.

“It’s shooting all of that energy straight into the L.A. Basin,” Scharer said.

Why a quake that begins so far away matters

An earthquake that begins more than 100 miles from L.A. might seem like something you might not worry about.

But a magnitude 8.2 earthquake is no ordinary earthquake.

The traditional image of an earthquake might be to show the epicenter — the point at which the earthquake begins.

But that doesn’t tell the whole story.

A better representation of a large earthquake would show how the earthquake travels up the fault. And this becomes more important for large earthquakes, which require an incredible amount of area in which the sides of the fault move against each other.

So, according to seismologist Lucy Jones, if a San Andreas earthquake began at the Salton Sea and …

♦ ended at Mount San Gorgonio, it would be a 7.3 earthquake.

♦ stopped at the Cajon Pass, it would be a magnitude 7.6 or 7.7 seismic event.

♦ traveled up to Lake Hughes, the earthquake would clock in at 7.8.

♦ and “if it goes all the way from the way from the Salton Sea to near Paso Robles, we’d get an 8.2. So that’s probably the biggest we can have,” Jones said.

“I think it’s going to go all the way to Paso Robles,” Jones said of the next Big One.

Jones cited a recent study by Scharer that found that earthquakes happen at the San Andreas around the Grapevine on average every 100 years. It has been 160 years since the last major earthquake on that section of the fault.

Hope for L.A.

Here in the Coachella Valley and across the West Coast, scientists have been busy installing new seismic equipment as they construct an earthquake early warning system, which could give places like L.A. seconds — or even a minute or more — of warning before the shaking waves arrive from an earthquake.

The project, however, is in danger of losing funding. President Trump’s proposed budget suggests ending federal funding for the early warning system. Southern California’s elected officials in Congress have voiced support for continuing funding of the project.

Here are some more answers to questions given by Jones and Scharer as they gave a tour to elected officials on a trip organized by the Southern California Assn. of Governments:

Why are we so concerned about the San Andreas fault, when other faults are closer to cities?

The worst thing about an 8.2 on the San Andreas is that all of Southern California would be hit hard at the same time. San Bernardino, for instance, wouldn’t be able to call for help from Los Angeles, which would have its own problems.

“With 300 miles of fault all going in the same earthquake, you then have everybody affected at the same time,” Jones said. “The San Andreas is the one that will produce the earthquake that’s going to cause damage in every city” in Southern California — including Santa Barbara and San Diego.

Why is the San Andreas considered so likely to rupture?

Because it’s California’s fastest-moving fault.

“It’s a little bit like — the moron who is driving the fastest is the most likely to get into an accident,” Scharer said.

If a couple were holding hands across the San Andreas fault, what would happen when the earthquake hits?

Here in Desert Hot Springs, the couple would be thrown down. The ground would shatter. And in a matter of seconds the two would be separated by as much as 30 feet, Scharer said, almost the entire length of a city bus.

One would lurch toward San Francisco, and the other toward the Mexican border.

Can the San Andreas trigger aftershocks on other faults closer to the city?

Yes. One scenario of a San Andreas earthquake results in aftershocks on the Newport-Inglewood fault, which runs between L.A.’s Westside through Orange County, and the Sierra Madre fault in the San Gabriel Valley. “We even had one in Sacramento,” Jones said.

Even the Hayward fault in the San Francisco Bay Area could be set off by an earthquake on the southern San Andreas fault, Jones said.

This has happened before. The great 1906 San Francisco earthquake, estimated at being magnitude 7.7 to 7.9, sent a 5.5 aftershock to Santa Monica Bay and a magnitude 6 earthquake to Imperial County, near the Mexican border.

Can you explain how the San Andreas fault works?

Western California — San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara — is moving to the northwest. Areas to the east of the fault are moving to the southeast.

How fast has the San Andreas fault moved in the last million years?

It has moved about 22 miles in the last million years, Jones said.

When will the Big One hit?

We just don’t know. “Things don’t happen like clockwork,” Scharer said.

The San Andreas fault does not slice under the city of Los Angeles. So why should Angelenos worry?

Los Angeles sits on a basin filled with sand and gravel.

So when shaking waves come, they “bang up against the side of the mountains and reverberate back out across the basin,” Scharer said. “Those waves are very effective at traveling through piles of gravel.”

Can scientists develop something that could absorb all the shaking energy from a massive earthquake before the city is hit?

No. The energy produced by a large San Andreas earthquake, “it’s like the size of a small nuclear bomb,” Scharer said.

The bomb dropped on Hiroshima produced enough energy to be equivalent to a magnitude 6 earthquake.

Do small earthquakes relieve pressure on the faults?

No. “Little earthquakes don’t get rid of big ones,” Jones said. “The more little earthquakes you have, the more you have to have bigger ones.”

How should cities cope with the earthquake risk?

Jones said utilities, such as water, electricity and gas, require more attention. “If we don’t deal with utilities … we aren’t going to be able and stay here and work,” she said.

Are California’s building codes equipped to deal with big earthquakes?

A few California cities have boosted safety regulations for older buildings in response to earthquakes. In recent years, several cities, including Los Angeles and San Francisco, began requiring retrofits of vulnerable apartment buildings. L.A. is even requiring retrofits of brittle concrete buildings.

But Jones is critical of minimum building standards for new construction in California, which she said allow for a 10% chance of new buildings collapsing and killing people in an earthquake.

Jones favors increasing standards for new construction, ordering new buildings designed so that they can be immediately occupied after an earthquake. She said that would increase costs by 1%.

“I think you need to be safe enough to walk into a building, so that you don’t lose the use of it — and so your neighbors don’t lose the use of their buildings,” she said.

Are new buildings built better elsewhere?

A: Jones says new buildings are stronger, for example, in Chile. That’s because the country makes those who build new buildings responsible if the structure suffers earthquake damage in the first decade after it is completed.

As a result, owners have insisted on strong construction, Jones said. And the country rode out a recent magnitude 8.8 earthquake well.

See (“Signs of past California ‘mega-quakes’ show danger of the Big One on San Andreas fault“) (emphasis in original; graphics and maps omitted)

As discussed in my article and the comments above, it is likely that Los Angeles will be decimated when the Big One hits. Approximately 2 million people in Southern California might lose their lives.

See (“Earthquakes: The Big One Is Coming To At Least Los Angeles”)

What is not mentioned in this fine Times article is that while Los Angeles has adopted stronger building codes, the steel joints in many high-rise office buildings were apparently weakened by the 1994 Northridge earthquake, and nothing has been done to repair them.

To remove tenants from the buildings, while the potentially-critical work is underway, was deemed to be politically and economically unpalatable. Thus, the problems were swept under the rug and never addressed by building owners and the city’s politicians. Los Angeles may rue the day that this happened.

The chickens may come home to roost in spades; and liquefaction may occur in areas such as Los Angeles’ Marina del Rey harbor, where high-rise buildings may literally collapse.


10 09 2017
Timothy D. Naegele

A Mega-Earthquake Is Coming To Southern California

The Big One hits LA

Rong-Gong Lin has written in the Los Angeles Times:

The magnitude 8.2 earthquake that ravaged southern Mexico on Thursday was the largest to shake the country in nearly a century.

Like California, Mexico is a seismically active region that has seen smaller quakes that have caused death and destruction. But Thursday’s temblor is a reminder that even larger quakes — while rare — do occur.

Scientists say it’s possible for Southern California to be hit by a magnitude 8.2 earthquake. Such a quake would be far more destructive to the Los Angeles area because the San Andreas fault runs very close to and underneath densely populated areas.

The devastating quakes that hit California over the last century were far smaller than the Thursday temblor, which Mexican authorities set at magnitude 8.2 and the U.S. Geological Survey placed at 8.1. Mexico’s earthquake produced four times more energy than the great 1906 San Francisco earthquake, a magnitude 7.8, which killed 3,000 people and sparked a fire that left much of the city in ruins.

Southern California’s most recent mega-quake was in 1857, also estimated to be magnitude 7.8, when the area was sparsely populated.

A magnitude 8.2 earthquake would rupture the San Andreas fault from the Salton Sea — close to the Mexican border — all the way to Monterey County. The fault would rupture through counties including Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino.

An 8.2 earthquake would be far worse here because the San Andreas fault runs right through areas such as the Coachella Valley — home to Palm Springs — and the San Bernardino Valley, along with the San Gabriel Mountains north of Los Angeles. The fault is about 30 miles from downtown Los Angeles.

Thursday’s earthquake occurred in the ocean off the Mexican coast and began about 450 miles from Mexico City — and it was relatively deep, starting about 43 miles under the surface.

In Mexico, “you’ve got [many] people a pretty long way aways from it,” seismologist Lucy Jones said Friday. But in Southern California, “we’d have a lot of people right on top of it. It would be shallow, and it runs through our backyard.”

A magnitude 8.2 on the San Andreas fault would cause damage in every city in Southern California, Jones has said, from Palm Springs to San Luis Obispo.

Intense shaking would be worse

Southern California would feel even worse shaking if a magnitude 8.2 earthquake hit here than what was experienced in Mexico on Thursday. Mexico’s earthquake struck under the ocean and was deep; “violent” shaking — calculated as intensity 9 shaking by the USGS — struck only a relatively small part of the country that happens to be sparsely populated.

That’s the same intensity that was felt in the worst-hit neighborhood in the 1994 magnitude 6.7 Northridge earthquake.

Even though the Northridge and Mexico seismic events vary widely in magnitude — the Mexico earthquake Thursday produced 178 times more total energy — Angelenos also felt “violent” shaking in 1994 because the Northridge earthquake struck directly underneath heavily populated areas and was extremely shallow, striking between just four and 12 miles under the surface.

A magnitude 8.2 earthquake on the San Andreas would produce shaking more intense than either the Mexico or Northridge earthquakes.

It would bring intensity level 10 shaking, which is perceived by humans as “extreme.” Such shaking would blanket huge swaths of Southern California — an earthquake that no one alive today has experienced in this region.

The ShakeOut scenario envisioned the earthquake beginning to move the San Andreas fault at the Salton Sea close to the Mexican border, then moving rapidly to the northwest toward L.A. County.

Mexico City rode out Thursday’s earthquake better than a devastating 1985 temblor that killed thousands of people there, in large part because the capital was so far away from the epicenter of this week’s quake. The capital is about double the distance from Thursday’s epicenter as it was from the earthquake that struck 32 years ago.

A mega-earthquake in the Southland

The U.S. Geological Survey published a hypothetical scenario of what a magnitude 7.8 earthquake on the San Andreas fault would look like. The scenario is still a useful look to imagine what an 8.2 would do to much of Southern California. Both earthquakes would bring generally the same intensity of shaking to Los Angeles, but the 8.2 earthquake would send more intense shaking to areas farther north and west, such as Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo.

Here’s what could happen if it struck at 10 a.m. on a dry, calm Thursday in November, based on an earlier interview with Jones and according to the ShakeOut report:

The death toll could be one of the worst for a natural disaster in U.S. history: nearly 1,800, about the same number of people killed in Hurricane Katrina.

More than 900 could die from fire; more than 400 from the collapse of vulnerable steel-frame buildings; more than 250 from other building damage; and more than 150 from transportation accidents, such as car crashes due to stoplights being out or broken bridges.

Los Angeles County could suffer the highest death toll, more than 1,000; followed by Orange County, with more than 350 dead; San Bernardino County, with more than 250 dead; and Riverside County, with more than 70 dead. Nearly 50,000 could be injured.

Freeways, water threatened

Main freeways to Las Vegas and Phoenix that cross the San Andreas fault would be destroyed in this scenario; Interstate 10 crosses the fault in a dozen spots, and Interstate 15 would see the roadway sliced where it crosses the fault, with one part of the roadway shifted from the other by 15 feet, Jones said.

“Those freeways cross the fault, and when the fault moves, they will be destroyed, period,” Jones said. “To be that earthquake, it has to move that fault, and it has to break those roads.”

The aqueducts that bring in 88% of Los Angeles’ water supply and cross the San Andreas fault all could be damaged or destroyed, Jones said.

A big threat to life would be collapsed buildings. As many as 900 unretrofitted brick buildings close to the fault could come tumbling down on occupants, pedestrians on sidewalks and even roads, crushing cars and buses in the middle of the street.

Fifty brittle concrete buildings housing 7,500 people could completely or partially collapse. Five high-rise steel buildings — of a type known to be seismically vulnerable — holding 5,000 people could completely collapse.

Some 500,000 to 1 million people could be displaced from their homes, Jones said.

Southern California could be isolated

Southern California could be isolated for some time, with the region surrounded by mountains and earthquake faults. The Cajon Pass — the gap between the San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountains through which Interstate 15 is built, and the main route to Las Vegas — is also home to the San Andreas fault and a potentially explosive mix of pipelines carrying gasoline and natural gas, and overhead electricity lines.

All it would take is for the fuel line to break and a spark to create an explosion. “The explosion results in a crater,” the report says.

ShakeOut co-author Keith Porter, research professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder, warned in a 2011 study in the journal Earthquake Spectra that under certain conditions, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake could create such a sudden interruption of high-voltage interstate transmission of electricity that “potentially all of the western U.S. could lose power.”

Power could be restored within hours in other states, the scenario said. But restoring power in Southern California could take several days.

There could be up to 100,000 landslides, scientists say, based off how many landslides have occurred in past magnitude 7.8 earthquakes. “The really big earthquakes . . . are much more destabilizing to the hillsides,” Jones said.

Death toll could be high in fire

Thousands could be forced to evacuate as fires spread across Southern California; 1,200 blazes could be too large to be controlled by a single fire engine company, and firefighting efforts would be hampered by traffic gridlock and a lack of water from broken pipes. Super-fires could destroy hundreds of city blocks filled with dense clusters of wood-frame homes and apartments.

The death toll could mount as hundreds of people trapped in collapsed buildings are unable to be rescued before flames burn through. Possible locations for the conflagrations include South Los Angeles, Riverside, Santa Ana and San Bernardino.

“If the earthquake happens in [hot] weather … or in a Santa Ana condition, the fires are going to become much more catastrophic. If it happens during a real rainy time, we’re going to have a lot more landslides,” Jones said.

Several dams could be shaken so hard that “they would be so compromised that they would require emergency evacuation,” Jones said. Even damage to just a single dam above San Bernardino could force 30,000 people out of their homes, the ShakeOut report said.

System could give Southern California life-saving seconds to prepare

A seismic warning system for the West Coast has been under development for years by the U.S. Geological Survey, the nation’s lead earthquake monitoring agency. President Trump’s budget would have ended the system before it launched. Officials were looking for “sensible and rational reductions and making hard choices to reach a balanced budget by 2027,” according to the administration’s proposal.

But the proposal to end the funding raised bipartisan complaints up and down the coast. Twenty-eight lawmakers in the California Legislature, including leaders from both parties, urged officials to protect the earthquake early warning system. Members of Congress from Southern California to the Canadian border say the system is crucial to public safety.

In July, a congressional committee voted to keep funding.

The earthquake early warning system works on a simple principle: The seismic waves from an earthquake travel at the speed of sound through rock — slower than today’s communications systems.

For example, it would take more than a minute for a magnitude 7.8 earthquake that started at the Salton Sea to shake up Los Angeles, 150 miles away, traveling along the state’s longest fault, the San Andreas.

See (“California could be hit by an 8.2 mega-earthquake, and damage would be catastrophic“) (emphasis added; charts omitted)

If anything, the estimates of the loss of lives are way low, and off base. Two million lives is closer to the mark, as discussed in my article above.

Clearly, residents of Southern California have been waiting for the “Big One” to occur for sometime now, which geologists have been saying is long overdue.

Predictions are that it will measure more than 8.0 on the Richter Scale, and that approximately 2 million people in Southern California might lose their lives.

See (“Earthquakes: The Big One Is Coming To At Least Los Angeles“) (see also the comments beneath the article)


23 11 2017
Timothy D. Naegele


The Big One hits LA

Phoebe Weston has reported for the UK’s Daily Mail:

Fresh fears have been raised that a huge earthquake is about to hit California after a swarm of recent tremors.

In the last week 134 earthquakes have hammered a three-mile stretch around Monterey County on the San Andreas fault.

Of those earthquakes, 17 were stronger than 2.5 magnitude and six of them were stronger than 3.0, with more tremors expected in the coming weeks, experts warn.

It follows fears raised last week that the ‘Big One’ is about to hit after a series of ten ‘mini quakes’ struck the same area.

The swarm included one 4.6-magnitude quake that was felt in San Francisco more than 90 miles (145 km) away.

‘This one has been a quite productive aftershock sequence,’ said Ole Kaven, a US Geological Survey (USGS) seismologist.

‘We suspect there will be aftershocks in the 2 to 3 [magnitude] range for at least a few more weeks’, he said.

There have not been any reports of injuries, writes San Francisco news outlet SFGate.

Last week’s swarm hit California’s Monterey County on Monday at 11:31am ET (4:31pm GMT) about 13 miles (20 km) northeast of Gonzales, near Salinas.

It dramatically increases the likelihood of a major quake in California, at least temporarily, experts claimed.

The initial 4.6-magnitude quake was followed by nine smaller aftershocks.

The largest of these measured magnitude 2.8, Annemarie Baltay, a seismologist with the US Geological Survey in Menlo Park, told SFGATE.

There were no reports of injuries or damage to buildings.

The quake happened at a depth of around 4 miles (6.5 km) on the infamous San Andreas Fault, close to a region where the Calaveras Fault branches off.

Experts have previously warned that any activity on the fault line is cause for concern.

‘Any time there is significant seismic activity in the vicinity of the San Andreas fault, we seismologists get nervous,’ Thomas Jordan, director of the Southern California Earthquake Centre, told the LA Times last year.

‘Because we recognise that the probability of having a large earthquake goes up.’

Despite this, Ms Baltay said the recent quakes are part of normal seismic activity and that there was no suggestion the tremors were signs of larger activity to come.

‘This is really typical behaviour,’ she said.

‘It’s as if someone put an oil can into the fault and lubricated it.’

Fears of California’s ‘Big One’ were stirred in May when an expert warned that a destructive earthquake will hit the state ‘imminently’.

Seismologist Dr Lucy Jones, from the US Geological Survey, warned in a dramatic speech that people need to act to protect themselves rather than ignoring the threat.

Dr Jones said people’s decision not to accept it will only mean more suffer as scientists warn the ‘Big One’ is now overdue to hit California.

In a keynote speech to a meeting of the Japan Geoscience Union and American Geophysical Union, Dr Jones warned that the public are yet to accept the randomness of future earthquakes.

People tend to focus on earthquakes happening in the next 30 years but they should be preparing now, she warned.

Dr Jones said there are three key reasons why the peril is so frightening – it cannot be seen, it is uncertain and it seems unknowable.

This means people bury their heads in the sand and pretend it won’t happen.
‘We find patterns even when they’re not real,’ Dr Jones said.

She tweeted on 23 May; ‘I’m not trying to terrify people. I’m trying to inspire action that will prevent our scenarios from coming true. It’s in our power to change’.

Her team published a scenario of a 7.8 earthquake on the San Andreas fault that could kill many people and devastate 15,000 buildings.

In 2011 a magnitude nine earthquake hit the east coast of Japan, killing around 20,000 people.

‘The city leaders ignored protocol that said to move to higher ground and conducted their emergency meeting in the city hall’, said Dr Jones.

‘When the tsunami poured over the sea wall, they lost over 1,000 people, including most of their city government’.



The ‘Big One’ is a hypothetical earthquake of magnitude 8 or greater that is expected to happen along the San Andreas fault.

Such a quake is expected to produce devastation to human civilisation within about 50-100 miles (80-160km) of the quake zone, especially in urban areas like Palm Springs, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Contingency plans warn upward of 14,000 people could die in worst-case scenarios, with 30,000 injured, thousands left homeless and the region’s economy setback for years, if not decades.



Below a 3.0 magnitude: Earthquakes at this level are deemed level I in intensity. These are ‘Not felt except by a very few under especially favorable conditions,’ according to the USGS.

Magnitude 3.0 to 3.9: These quakes ‘only felt by a few persons at rest, especially on upper floors of buildings,’ or level III, which carry ‘vibrations similar to the passing of a truck.’

Magnitude 4 to 4.9: These are widely felt but rarely cause serious damage.

Magnitude 5 to 5.9: The USGS says level VI intensity is where people start getting scared.

By level VII we start seeing ‘considerable damage in poorly built or badly designed structures.’

Magnitude 6.0 to 6.9: This level quake can take down ‘chimneys, factory stacks, columns, monuments’ and walls



Seismologist Lucy Jones from the US Geological Survey warned she is trying to make people accept the fact catastrophe is imminent and that they need to prepare themselves.

Dr Jones said our decision to not accept it will only mean more people suffer as scientists warn the ‘Big One’ is now overdue to hit California.

Dr Jones, who is from the US Geological Survey said there are three key reasons why the peril is so frightening – it cannot be seen, it is uncertain and it seems unknowable.

This means people bury their heads in the sand and pretend it won’t happen.



A report from the U.S. Geological Survey has warned the risk of ‘the big one’ hitting California has increased dramatically.

Researchers analysed the latest data from the state’s complex system of active geological faults, as well as new methods for translating these data into earthquake likelihoods.

The estimate for the likelihood that California will experience a magnitude 8 or larger earthquake in the next 30 years has increased from about 4.7 per cent to about 7.0 per cent, they say.

‘We are fortunate that seismic activity in California has been relatively low over the past century,’ said Tom Jordan, Director of the Southern California Earthquake Center and a co-author of the study.

‘But we know that tectonic forces are continually tightening the springs of the San Andreas fault system, making big quakes inevitable.’



Federal, state and military officials have been working together to draft plans to be followed when the ‘Big One’ happens.

These contingency plans reflect deep anxiety about the potential gravity of the looming disaster: upward of 14,000 people dead in the worst-case scenarios, 30,000 injured, thousands left homeless and the region’s economy setback for years, if not decades.

As a response, what planners envision is a deployment of civilian and military personnel and equipment that would eclipse the response to any natural disaster that has occurred so far in the US.

There would be waves of cargo planes, helicopters and ships, as well as tens of thousands of soldiers, emergency officials, mortuary teams, police officers, firefighters, engineers, medical personnel and other specialists.

‘The response will be orders of magnitude larger than Hurricane Katrina or Super Storm Sandy,’ said Lt. Col. Clayton Braun of the Washington State Army National Guard.

See (“Is California about to be hit by the ‘Big One’? Fears of a massive earthquake rise after 134 mini-tremors rattle the San Andreas fault in just one week“) (emphasis added; diagrams, illustrations and photos omitted); see also (“Californians need to be so afraid of a huge earthquake that they take action, scientists say“) and (“Risk of big earthquake on San Andreas fault rises after quake swarm at Salton Sea“) and (“Earthquake swarm hits Monterey County; biggest felt in SF“)

As my article above and the comments beneath it indicate, it is simply a matter of time before the “Big One” hits. Where exactly it will strike is unknown at the present time, but the likelihood of it hitting the Los Angeles metropolitan area is enormous.


5 01 2018
Timothy D. Naegele

Bay Area Not Ready For The Big One

San Francisco after 1906 earthquake
[San Francisco after 1906 earthquake]

Joshua Nevett has written for the UK’s Daily Star:

California has today been rocked by a 4.4 magnitude earthquake in the Bay Area of [Berkeley] shortly after 3am local time (11am GMT).

The “terrifying” tremor has left millions across the state fearing an imminent “Big One” earthquake measuring magnitude 7 or greater on the Richter Scale.

The US state has not been struck by a magnitude 7 or greater earthquake since a colossal rupture in the San Andreas Fault laid waste to San Francisco in 1906.

The massive magnitude 7.8 earthquake reduced buildings to rubble in less than a minute, killing around 7,500 people and destroying 80% of the city.

Experts believe there is a 70% chance a tremor on a similar scale will strike the Bay Area of San Francisco within the next 30 years.

The San Andreas Fault – a 750-mile fissure that runs the length of California – is thought to be the biggest risk.

Speaking to Daily Star Online, seismologist Peggy Hellweg, from the University of California, said the region is not prepared to deal with the fallout from such an earthquake.

She said that a magnitude 7 or greater earthquake could kill “tens of thousands of people”.

In financial terms, such a quake would likely cause “tens to hundreds of billions of dollars in damage”, she said.

She said: “A magnitude 7 or greater earthquake can happen any time, almost anywhere in the state.

“I don’t expect one to happen tomorrow, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it did.”

California is making preparations for a large earthquake by investing in warning systems and holding drills across the state.

[L]ast year millions of Californians took part in annual “Great ShakeOut” earthquake drills to prepare for a catastrophic quake that experts say is “inevitable”.

The San Andreas and Hayward faults are thought to be particularly at risk of rupturing.

Hellweg believes that these fault lines need to be monitored 24 hours a day by “many more seismic and geodetic stations” to avoid a deadly calamity.

She said the Earthquake Early Warning (EEW) system designed by the US Geological Survey is the best way to protect the region.

The AlertShake system is estimated to cost around $38million, with an additional $16.1 in annual maintenance, according to USGS.

California has already invested $10m in the earthquake early warning system that has been under development since 2006.

But if authorities do not plough more funds into a “reliable” warning system, then “earthquakes will continue to cause deaths and destruction”, Hellweg said.

“The data centres for the earthquake early warning system must include reliable processing and 24/7 monitoring and support,” she said.

See (emphasis added; diagrams omitted); see also (“Bay Area earthquake rattled 9.8 million people — and offers a preview of something much worse“) and (“Big One warning: California earthquakes spark San Andreas Fault fears“)

As my article above and the comments beneath it state emphatically, the Big One is coming.


23 01 2018
Timothy D. Naegele

Massive Earthquake Hits Alaska [UPDATED]

Alaska Tsunami Travel Times

It has been predicted that a massive earthquake, followed by an unfathomable tsunami, would strike along the “Ring of Fire” and, in particular, in the Pacific Northwest.

See (“Ring Of Fire: Devastating Earthquakes And Mega-Tsunamis“) and (“Pacific Northwest Could Be Decimated By Megaquake“)

What has just happened in Alaska may be a precursor of that. Richard Hartley-Parkinson has written for the UK’s Metro:

People were woken by shaking buildings as the magnitude 8.2 quake struck, lasting for well over a minute, according to witnesses.

A text message followed soon after telling them to go to high ground or move inland. The quake had a depth of just 12 miles when it struck 175 miles to the east of Kodiak, Alaska, at 1.38am local time (9.38am GMT). A tsunami alert has been issued for the Pacific Ocean, including all of the US west coast.

‘If you are located in this coastal area, move inland to higher ground,’ the Anchorage Office of Emergency Management said.

‘Tsunami warnings mean that a tsunami with significant inundation is possible or is already occurring. Tsunamis are a series of waves dangerous many hours after initial arrival time. The first wave may not be the largest.’


Tsunami warnings

Tsunami warning in effect for

BRITISH COLUMBIA, The Juan de Fuca Strait coast, the outer west coast of Vancouver Island, the central coast and northeast Vancouver Island, and the north coast and Haida Gwaii

SOUTHEAST ALASKA, The inner and outer coast from The BC/Alaska Border to Cape Fairweather, Alaska (80 miles SE of Yakutat)

SOUTH ALASKA AND THE ALASKA PENINSULA, Pacific coasts from Cape Fairweather, Alaska (80 miles SE of Yakutat) to Unimak Pass, Alaska (80 miles NE of Unalaska)

ALEUTIAN ISLANDS, Unimak Pass, Alaska (80 miles NE of Unalaska) to Attu, Alaska including the Pribilof Islands

Tsunami Watch in Effect for

CALIFORNIA, The coast from The Cal./Mexico Border to The Oregon/Cal. Border including San Francisco Bay

OREGON, The coast from The Oregon/Cal. Border to The Oregon/Wash. Border including the Columbia River estuary coast

WASHINGTON, Outer coast from the Oregon/Washington border to Slip Point, Columbia River estuary coast, and the Juan de Fuca Strait coast


People are being alerted to the danger by text messages.

Shaun Dyess said: ‘I’m here in anchorage Alaska. It was shaking for along time. Hope no one got hurt.’

Gordy Armstrong added: ‘You grow accustomed to riding out the occasional earthquakes living up here in Anchorage…that one was different. Shook the house pretty good and just kept going. Hope the people down south are alright.’


What to do if you are in the path of the tsunami

• Evacuate inland or to higher ground above and beyond designated tsunami hazard zones or move to an upper floor of a multi-story building depending on your situation.

• * Move out of the water, off the beach, and away from harbors, marinas, breakwaters, bays and inlets.

• Be alert to and follow instructions from your local emergency officials because they may have more detailed or specific information for your location.

• If you feel a strong earthquake or extended ground rolling take immediate protective actions such as moving inland and/or uphill preferably by foot.

• Do not go to the shore to observe the tsunami.

• Do not return to the coast until local emergency officials indicate it is safe to do so.

• If you are in a tsunami watch area prepare to take action and stay alert for further information.

Boat operators

• Where time and conditions permit, move your boat out to sea to a depth of at least 180 feet.

• If at sea avoid entering shallow water, harbours, marinas, bays, and inlets to avoid floating and submerged debris and strong currents.

Tsunami impacts

A tsunami with damaging waves and powerful currents is possible.

Repeated coastal flooding is possible as waves arrive onshore, move inland, and drain back into the ocean.

Strong and unusual waves, currents and inland flooding can drown or injure people and weaken or destroy structures on land and in water.

Water filled with floating or submerged debris that can injure or kill people and weaken or destroy buildings and bridges is possible.

Strong and unusual currents and waves in harbors, marinas, bays, and inlets may be especially destructive.

Some impacts may continue for many hours to days after arrival of the first wave.

The first wave may not be the largest so later waves may be larger.

Each wave may last 5 to 45 minutes as a wave encroaches and recedes.

Coasts facing all directions are threatened because the waves can wrap around islands and headlands and into bays.

Strong shaking or rolling of the ground indicates an earthquake has occurred and a tsunami may be imminent.

A rapidly receding or receded shoreline, unusual waves and sounds, and strong currents are signs of a tsunami.

The tsunami may appear as water moving rapidly out to sea, a gentle rising tide like flood with no breaking wave, as a series of breaking waves, or a frothy wall of water.

See (“Tsunami warning for entire west coast after magnitude 8.2 Alaska earthquake“); see also (“QUAKE FEAR Alaska earthquake tsunami warning forced Kodiak residents to flee to high ground after 7.9 tremor sparked alert on US coast“)

While the warnings have been lifted, what just happened may be an important wake-up call.


30 04 2018
Timothy D. Naegele

Will Fukushima Happen Again On California’s Central Coast?

Fukushima fire hoses
Fukushima fire hoses

Julian Robinson has reported for the Uk’s Daily Mail:

These haunting images [click on link below for images] show abandoned Fukushima as it emerged soil tainted by the power plant’s radiation[, which] is being used to build roads.

An earthquake in 2011 sparked a massive tsunami which in turn led to three nuclear meltdowns in the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear Power Plant on Japan’s north east coast.

With the sudden evacuation of around 100,000 people, the region has been left in an eerie state of decay and pictures show some of the many shops, amusement arcades and showrooms frozen in time after the disaster.

It comes amid anger in Japan over the Environment Ministry’s plan to use radiation-tainted soil to build roads in Fukushima Prefecture.

The trial will start in the city of Nihonmatsu next month – despite fierce protests from residents.

Tainted soil will be packed out 20 ins or more under a 600ft stretch of road in the city before being covered with clean soil and asphalt. The soil has been sitting in packed in black plastic bags in temporary storage ahead of the trial.

The row comes as a haunting collection of pictures emerged showing abandoned buildings in the area.

They were captured by London-based entrepreneur James Galbraith, 25, when he visited the area.

He said: ‘The photos were taken in Fukushima, Japan, in the areas evacuated in 2011 due to radiation.

‘I like exploring places where not many people can visit, places that are off limits, difficult to access, and largely forgotten about.’

In 2011, a 10-metre-high tsunami that killed nearly 19,000 people crashed into Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant.

This lead to several meltdowns, allowing harmful radioactive fuel rods and debris to escape from contained areas.

Six years after the disaster, researchers are still struggling to clean up fuel in the waters of the wasting reactors.

It’s estimated that plant officials have only located 10 per cent of the waste fuel left behind after the nuclear meltdowns.

And the damaged plant is believed to be leaking small amounts of the radioactive waste into the Pacific Ocean, which could be travelling as far as the west cost of the US.

Researchers are now pinning their hopes on the remote-controlled sunfish robot to locate the lost fuel in order to work out the safest way to remove it.

Mr Galbraith added: ‘Many people are completely unaware that there are still many displaced people due to the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and resulting nuclear meltdown.

‘Walking through these buildings shows you a moment that went down in history.

‘The interiors are largely untouched since the earthquake, with items strewn across the floor that were thrown off the shelves of stores.

‘The atmosphere really reminds you how fragile life is and puts a new perspective on things.

‘I have been taking photos for my whole life, when I was a very young child my father was an amateur photographer and I would see his photos, and he would let me use a camera.’

See (“Abandoned Fukushima: Haunting images show nuclear-stricken town as it emerges soil tainted by power plant’s radiation is being used to build roads, sparking outcry in Japan“) (see article for images; emphasis added); see also (“Chernobyl disaster“)

Diablo Canyon Power Plant near Avila Beach in San Luis Obispo County on California’s Central Coast is the only remaining nuclear plant operational in the State. It is located less than a mile from the Shoreline fault line, which was not known to exist at the time of construction; and it is located less than three miles from the Hosgri fault.

See, e.g., (“Diablo Canyon Power Plant“)

If a massive earthquake were to hit Alaska or elsewhere on the “Ring of Fire”—such as America’s Pacific Northwest—a tsunami might ensue that could reach the Diablo facility. Or a major quake might occur in California, which could affect the facility and create a devastating tsunami and/or meltdown of its own.

See, e.g., (“Massive Earthquake Hits Alaska“)

Diablo Canyon Power Plant
Diablo Canyon Power Plant


16 08 2018
Timothy D. Naegele

San Francisco Is Not Ready For The Next Big One [UPDATED]

San Francisco after 1906 earthquake
[San Francisco after 1906 earthquake]

Jeniece Pettitt and Erin Black have written for CNBC:

Two major earthquakes have hit the Bay Area in modern history. In 1906, a 7.9 magnitude earthquake hit San Francisco and 80 percent of the city’s buildings fell or burnt to the ground, leaving 300,000 people homeless and killing nearly 3,000. In 1989, a 6.9 magnitude quake caused the ground to liquefy in parts of the city and collapsed highways, killing more than 60 people.

A new report from the U.S. Geological Survey says that there is more than a 70 percent chance that a 6.7 magnitude or higher earthquake will hit the area in the next 30 years.

At the same time, the city is experiencing a building boom and skyrocketing real estate. But the U.S. Geological Survey report also shows that some of the city’s skyscrapers may not be seismically sound.

Here’s why San Francisco is not as ready as one may think when the next big earthquake hits.

See–why-the-city-is-not-prepared.html (“As San Francisco grows, so does the earthquake risk — here’s why the city is not ready for the next Big One“) (emphasis added); see also (“THE DEATH OF SAN FRANCISCO?“) and (“Safety measures ordered at sinking San Francisco tower“)

As discussed in my article above, the same thing is true of Los Angeles in spades.


3 10 2018
Timothy D. Naegele

Will Southern California Be Next For A Massive Earthquake And Tsunami? [UPDATED]

Indonesian quake and tsunami

Julian Robinson has written for the UK’s Daily Mail:

This is the astonishing moment a building ‘floated’ along a river of mud after the devastating Indonesian earthquake liquefied the ground.

Hundreds are feared trapped in mud and 1,700 homes were ‘swallowed up’ on the island of Sulawesi after tremors turned water-filled soil in to mush in a phenomenon known as liquefaction.

Terrifying footage, filmed from the metal roof of a house, shows large buildings and electricity pylons moving past after being ripped from their foundations.

The clip emerged as the death toll from the disaster climbed to more than 1,200 and officials prepared a mass grave with space for hundreds of victims of Friday’s earthquake and tsunami. Workers were seen hauling body bags into the 330ft-long tomb in Palu.

Meanwhile, reports have emerged of looters raiding collapsed shopping malls and hundreds of convicts escaping the ruins of their prison.

In the district of Sigi, 34 children were found dead under tsunami debris. They were all attending a Christian camp, Indonesian Red Cross spokeswoman Aulia Arriani said.

A 38-year-old man was pulled out alive from beneath a collapsed building three days after the 7.5 earthquake and 500mph tsunami devastated the city of Palu.

Indonesian TV stations showed video from the National Search and Rescue Agency of its workers freeing Sapri Nusin from the rubble of a destroyed finance building. He was conscious and talking to his rescuers as they worked by flashlight.

Some remote areas feared wiped out by the disaster have yet to be contacted, medicines are running out and rescuers, who have reported hearing screams from under building wreckage, are struggling with a shortage of heavy equipment.

In response, President Joko Widodo opened the door to the dozens of international aid agencies and NGOs who are lined up to provide life-saving assistance.

Britain will send a team of five aid workers to Sulawesi along with £2 million of support to help the thousands left homeless, the Department for International Development (DfID) confirmed.

International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said: ‘The UK offers its deepest condolences to those affected by the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia which has left hundreds of people dead and thousands more homeless and in need of urgent help.’

Figures collected by the National Police Headquarters put the number killed at 1,203 people. Officials fear the toll will rise steeply in the coming days and are preparing for the worst, declaring a 14-day state of emergency.

One woman was recovered alive from ruins overnight in the Palu neighbourhood of Balaroa, where about 1,700 houses were swallowed up when the earthquake caused soil to liquify, the national rescue agency said.

‘We don’t know how many victims could be buried there, it’s estimated hundreds,’ said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency.

This morning, Local Army Commander Tiopan Aritonang said 545 bodies would be brought from one hospital alone to a mass grave in Palu.

The grave will be 33 ft by 330 ft and can be enlarged if needed, said Willem Rampangilei, chief of Indonesia’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency.

‘This must be done as soon as possible for health and religious reasons,’ he said. Indonesia is majority Muslim, and religious custom calls for burials soon after death, typically within one day.

Local military spokesman Mohammad Thorir said the area adjacent to a public cemetery can hold 1,000 bodies.

All of the victims, coming from local hospitals, have been photographed to help families locate where their relatives were buried.

Video footage showed residents walking from body bag to body bag, opening the top to check to see if they could identify faces.

Around midday, teams of workers, their mouths covered by masks, carried 18 bagged bodies and laid them in a trench at Poboya – in the hills above Palu.

Mechanical earth-movers waited to push soil on top of the bodies. More burials are expected to follow with authorities desperate to stave off any disease outbreak caused by decomposing bodies.

Military and commercial aircraft were delivering some aid and supplies to the region.

But there was a desperate need for heavy equipment to reach possible survivors buried in collapsed buildings, including an eight-story hotel in Palu where voices were heard in the rubble.

A 25-year-old woman was found alive Sunday evening in the ruins of the Roa-Roa Hotel, according to the National Search and Rescue Agency, which released photos of the her lying on a stretcher covered in a blanket.

A number of other survivors were still being found and a few were being pulled from buildings in different locations.

Desperate survivors turned to looting shops for basics like food, water and fuel as police looked on, unwilling or unable to intervene.

‘There has been no aid, we need to eat. We don’t have any other choice, we must get food,’ one man in Palu told AFP as he filled a basket with goods from a nearby store.

Television pictures showed scores of residents shouting ‘we’re hungry, we need food’ as soldiers distributed rations from a truck in one neighbourhood, while footage from elsewhere showed people making off with clothes and other items from a wrecked mall.

Local television said around 3,000 residents had flocked to the Palu airport trying to get out. Footage showed some people screaming in anger because they were not able to board departing military aircraft.

‘We have not eaten for three days!’ one woman yelled. ‘We just want to be safe!’

Meanwhile, some 1,200 Indonesian convicts are on the run from three different detention facilities in devastated Sulawesi.

One prison in Palu – built to hold just 120 people – saw most of its 581 inmates storm past guards and escape to freedom through walls collapsed by the massive 7.5 magnitude shake.

‘Things were initially fine…but not long after the quake, water erupted from under the prison yard causing prisoners to panic and then run onto the road,’ said Ministry of Justice official Sri Puguh Utami, adding that the water was not from the tsunami.

‘I’m sure they escaped because they feared they would be affected by the earthquake.

‘This is for sure a matter of life and death for the prisoners,’ she added.

Inmates had fled from another overcapacity facility in Palu by breaking down its main door and another in Donggala, an area also hit by the disaster.

The Donggala jail was set on fire and all 343 inmates were now on the run, Utami said.

The arson was thought to have been sparked by angry detainees demanding to see their families.

‘They panicked after learning that Donggala was badly hit by the earthquake,’ Utami said.

‘Prison officials did negotiate with prisoners about allowing them to go to check on their families.

‘But some prisoners were apparently not patient enough and committed the arson.’

Some of the convicts were jailed for corruption and narcotics offences, she said.

Five people convicted of terror-related crimes had been moved from the prison just days before the disaster.

Just over 100 prisoners at the two facilities in Palu were still in jail, but overstretched guards were struggling to keep them fed.

‘The prison no longer had enough food,’ Utami said. ‘Officials then tried to buy supplies from stores around the prison that were still open.’

Nearly all of those confirmed dead in the disaster are from Palu. The regencies of Donggala, Sigi and Parigi Moutong – with a combined population of 1.2 million – had yet to be fully assessed.

‘The death toll is believed to be still increasing, since many bodies were still under the wreckage, while many have not been reached,’ said disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.

The cries from beneath the Roa-Roa Hotel, which appeared to have toppled over with its walls splintered like pickup sticks, went silent by Sunday afternoon.

Officials had estimated about 50 people could be inside.

‘We are trying our best. Time is so important here to save people,’ said Muhammad Syaugi, head of the national search and rescue team. ‘Heavy equipment is on the way.’

Metro TV showed about a dozen rescuers in orange jumpsuits climbing over debris with a stretcher carrying the body of a victim from the modest business hotel.

Other rescuers worked to try to free a 15-year-old girl trapped under concrete in her house in Palu after it collapsed on her family during the earthquake. Unable to move her legs under the rubble, Nurul Istikharah was trapped beside her dead mother and niece. Rescuers also tried to control water from a leaking pipe, fearing she would drown.

Istikharah was unconscious during part of the effort to free her, but rescuers kept talking to her to try to keep her awake. Others offered her food and water.

Indonesian President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo authorized for the country to accept international help for the disaster, Thomas Lembong, chair of Indonesia’s Investment Coordinating Board, tweeted Monday morning. It wasn’t immediately clear what type of help was being authorized, but the stricken areas needed medical supplies, food and water.

‘We will send food today, as much as possible with several aircraft,’ he told journalists in the capital, Jakarta, adding a supply of fuel was also set to arrive.

It was the latest natural disaster to hit Indonesia, which is frequently struck by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis because of its location on the ‘Ring of Fire,’ an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin.

In December 2004, a massive magnitude 9.1 earthquake off Sumatra island in western Indonesia triggered a tsunami that killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries. More recently, a powerful quake on the island of Lombok killed 505 people in August.

In Donggala, the site closest to the earthquake’s epicenter, aerial footage on Metro TV showed the sugary blond sands of beaches swept out to sea, along with some buildings.

Some buildings in the town were severely damaged, with plywood walls shredded and chunks of concrete scattered on the pavement. Much of the damage, however, appeared limited to the waterfront.

Palu, which has more than 380,000 people, was strewn with debris from the earthquake and tsunami. A heavily damaged mosque was half submerged and a shopping mall was reduced to a crumpled hulk. A large bridge with yellow arches had collapsed.

The city is built around a narrow bay that apparently magnified the force of the tsunami as the waves raced into the tight inlet. Nugroho, the disaster agency spokesman, said waves were reported as high as 6 meters (20 feet) in some places.

In one devastated area in Palu, residents said dozens of people could still be buried in their homes.

‘The ground rose up like a spine and suddenly fell. Many people were trapped and buried under collapsed houses. I could do nothing to help,’ resident Nur Indah said, crying. ‘In the evening, some of them turned on their cellphones just to give a sign that they were there. But the lights were off later and the next day.’

With hundreds injured, earthquake-damaged hospitals were overwhelmed.

Nugroho said 61 foreigners were in Palu at the time of the disaster. Most were accounted for, but one South Korean was believed to be trapped in the Roa-Roa Hotel, while three others from France and one from Malaysia were missing.

Indonesia is a vast archipelago of more than 17,000 islands home to 260 million people. Roads and infrastructure are poor in many areas, making access difficult in the best of conditions.

The disaster agency has said that essential aircraft can land at Palu’s airport, though AirNav, which oversees aircraft navigation, said the runway was cracked and the control tower damaged.

Many survivors have spent the last days desperately searching for loved ones while dealing with the trauma of the disaster.

One survivor, Adi, was hugging his wife by the beach when the tsunami struck on Friday. He has no idea where she is now, or whether she is alive.

‘When the wave came, I lost her,’ he said. ‘I was carried about 50 metres. I couldn’t hold anything,’ he said.

Others have centred their search for loved ones around open-air morgues, where the dead lay in the baking sun – waiting to be claimed, waiting to be named.

As dire as the situation in Palu is, it was at least clear. In outlying areas, the fate of thousands is still unknown.

Questions are sure to be asked why warning systems set up after that disaster appear to have failed on Friday.

Nugroho, bemoaning a fall in funding, said none of Indonesia’s tsunami buoys, one type of instrument used to detect the waves, had been operating since 2012.

The meteorological and geophysics agency BMKG issued a tsunami warning after the quake but lifted it 34 minutes later, drawing criticism it had been too hasty. However, officials estimated the waves had hit while the warning was in force.

Neighbours including Australia, Thailand and China offered help and Pope Francis, speaking to thousands in St. Peter’s Square, said he was praying for the victims.

The European Union announced 1.5 million euros in immediate aid.


How a ‘perfect storm’ spawned disaster

Inadequate warning systems, a lack of education about what to do when the quake hit and a narrow bay that channelled the tsunami’s destructive force – a perfect storm of factors spawned the deadly disaster in Indonesia.

Questions are mounting about what exactly happened and if more could have been done to save lives.

The tragedy has highlighted what critics say is a patchy early-warning system to detect tsunamis in the seismically-active Southeast Asian archipelago.

‘There was no information about a tsunami recorded by the tide-monitoring station in Palu because it was not working,’ Widjo Kongko, a tsunami expert with the Indonesian government’s technology agency, told AFP.

The station keeps a check on changes in tides and should have detected if destructive waves were headed for the city.

After the initial quake, Indonesia’s geophysics agency – which monitors seismic activity – did issue a tsunami warning but lifted it soon afterwards.

It was only later that images emerged of a surging wall of water charging into the coast, flattening buildings and overturning cars.

Tide-monitoring stations and data-modelling are the main tools in Indonesia for predicting if a quake has generated a tsunami.

But even if all the country’s stations are working, experts say the network is limited and in any case gives people little time to flee as they only detect waves once they are close to shore.

Efforts to improve systems have been beset by problems, from a failure to properly maintain new equipment to bureaucratic bickering.

After a quake-tsunami in 2004 off Sumatra island killed 220,000 across the region, with most victims in Indonesia, 22 early-warning buoys were deployed around the country to detect tsunamis.

But officials have admitted that they are no longer working after being vandalised and due to a lack of funds for maintenance.

In another case, a major project with funding from the US National Science Foundation to deploy high-tech tsunami sensors in a quake-prone part of western Indonesia has been delayed.

Louise Comfort, a natural disaster expert from the University of Pittsburgh who has led the American side of the initiative, said that it had been put on hold after disagreement between government agencies and a delay in getting financing.

‘It’s so disheartening and it’s so sad because we’ve got the technology, we’ve got the knowledge, we know we can do it,’ she told AFP.

However, others called for a stronger focus on simply teaching people to head to higher ground when a quake hits, rather than on expensive technology which many communities in a developing country like Indonesia cannot afford.

‘For a place like Indonesia to try and defend its coastline, education is almost certainly going to outpace technology for the foreseeable future,’ said Adam Switzer, a tsunami expert from Nanyang Technological University’s Earth Observatory of Singapore.

‘Every kid in Indonesia needs to be taught what to do if they are on the coast and there is an earthquake.’

Observers stressed the Indonesian quake was highly complex, and it would not have been easy to predict it would send a tsunami barrelling towards the small community of Palu.

The initial tremor was a sideways movement of tectonic plates, rather than the sort of violent upward thrust that would typically generate destructive waves, and was followed by scores of aftershocks.

Experts believe that the tsunami could have been triggered by an underwater landslide that followed the tremor.

Palu’s unique geography will not have helped, they said – the tsunami likely intensified as it raced down the narrow bay on which the city sits.

‘Geographical factors (the narrow bay, shallow water) seemed to have played major roles,’ said Taro Arikawa, a professor at Chuo University in Tokyo.

‘The tsunami must have come very fast and suddenly.’

The terrifying moment families run for their lives in Indonesia as tsunami and quakes turn the ground to LIQUID

The surface of tsunami-destroyed Palu City in Indonesia has turned to mush, with the death toll from Friday’s natural disaster likely to climb even higher from 1,203.

Houses and buildings have moved, sunken or collapsed as a result of the ‘liquefaction’ of the ground and there are more people still suspected to be trapped.

This natural phenomenon occurs during an earthquake when tremors shake normally compact layers of sand and soil into a deadly ‘soup’ that can create an effect similar to a sink hole.

In a video shared to Twitter on Sunday, families stood watch as buildings around them crumbled and the earth slid beneath their feet.

The short clip was uploaded by Indonesian official Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, who wrote, ‘houses moved and collapsed were caused by the liquefaction process and collapsed due to the 7.4 SR earthquake in Palu City.

‘The ground surface moves and sinks so that all buildings are destroyed. The geological process is very terrible. It is estimated that victims are trapped in this area.’

Loud rumbling and crashing could be heard in the footage as a distressed family, including a baby, fled from nearby crumbling buildings.

The panicked group were forced to watched as a large shed-like structure fell to the ground before sliding across it towards them.

There were scenes of chaos as people scurried to reach safe ground – an impossible task given the dangerous sinking mud.

Fears have been mounting for the the fishing town of Donggala, which was closer to the epicentre of the quake, because rescuers have not been able to reach it.

The town of Mamuju was also severely affected but currently impossible to access due to damaged roads and disrupted telecommunications.

See (“Astonishing moment a building ‘floats’ past after tremors LIQUEFY the ground, swallowing 1,700 homes in Indonesia as mass grave is dug for more than a THOUSAND victims“) (emphasis added; videos and photos omitted—WARNING: SOME OF THE PHOTOS ARE VERY DISTURBING); see also (“Indonesians Loot Supermarkets After Tsunami, Earthquake Create Shortage Of Food, Water”) and (“Indonesia confirms multiple mass prison breaks in quake-tsunami zone“) and (“Indonesia earthquake – mass grave dug for 1,300 victims amid rising death toll as rescuers desperately search for buried survivors“) and (“Volcano erupts on same Indonesian island of Sulawesi as earlier quake“)

If anyone thinks that this scenario cannot happen in Southern California, they are mistaken and naïve. I owned a little house on the beach in Malibu, which was swept out to sea in a devastating El Niño storm. Enormous wood pilings driven deep into the sand were uprooted and gone, as was all evidence that the home had ever existed.

Also, Los Angeles’ Marina Del Rey is built on fill; and its buildings may coming tumbling down as a result of liquefaction.

Los Angeles was hit with massive violence and looting after the Watts and Rodney King riots. Looters traveled as far as Sunset Boulevard and the Pacific Coast Highway in search of potential targets; and we can expect that to happen again, and for lawlessness to reign.

See also (“Will Fukushima Happen Again On California’s Central Coast?“) and (“San Francisco Is Not Ready For The Next Big One“) and (“THE BIG ONE IS COMING TO CALIFORNIA“) and (“A Mega-Earthquake Is Coming To Southern California“)

The Big One hits LA


30 11 2018
Timothy D. Naegele

Devastating Ring Of Fire 7.0 Earthquake Rocks Anchorage

Anchorage quake

Marlene Lenthang has written for the UK’s Daily Mail:

A devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake rocked Alaska early Friday morning, ripping apart roads, swaying buildings, and sending locals running for cover.

The powerful temblor struck in Anchorage at 8.29am Alaska time, causing frightened locals to hide under desks and random pieces of furniture for shelter.

Officials announced a tsunami warning[,] then canceled it after checking for potential underwater landslides and determining there was no threat.

The White House said President Donald Trump, who is in Argentina for the G20 Summit, has been briefed on the earthquake and Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted ‘We are praying for the safety of all Alaskans’ on Friday.

There have been no immediate reports of deaths or injuries from the temblor.

Alaska Governor Bill Walker has declared a state of emergency.

‘After a major earthquake, I have issued a declaration of disaster & I have been in direct contact with the White House. Major General Laurie Hummel & I are now working w emergency responders to make sure Alaskans are safe,’ he posted on Twitter.

Police are warning residents of the 6,000-strong island community of Kodiak to head to higher ground despite cancelling the tsunami warnings.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the heart of the quake took place just seven miles north of Alaska’s largest city and was initially measured as a 6.7 magnitude earthquake but was later boosted to a magnitude of 7.0.

The state’s seismologist Michael West said the shock was felt up to 400 miles outside of Anchorage.

The Anchorage Office of Emergency Management is urging people to find shelter.

‘I could tell this was bigger than anything I’d been in before, and it wasn’t going to stop, resident Phillip Peterson said to WTVR.

He was in a multistory building in downtown Anchorage that started to suddenly sway when the shake temblor hit, causing roof tiles to fall in.

‘I just jumped under my desk and had to ride it out,’ he added.

The quake was so strong it cracked buildings and knocked local news station KTUU off air. Several highway and local roads crumbled in the temblor, stranding cars in the asphalt mess. The shake also broke up the only road connecting Anchorage and the nearby towns of Wasilla and Palmer.

Power outages, floods from water main breaks, rock slides, and closed roads were reported in the quake, according to Geek Wire.

Shocking images on social media show people hiding under desks as their rooms shake, groceries tumbling off of their shelves at local markets, and roads ripped apart by the natural disaster.

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was also affected, tweeting on Friday saying that her house was torn apart in the vicious shake.

‘Our family is intact – house is not… I imagine that’s the case for many, many others. So thankful to be safe; praying for our state following the earthquake,’ she wrote.

Brandon Slaton of Kenai southwest of Anchorage called the earthquake complete chaos.

‘It was anarchy. There’s no pictures left on the walls, there’s no power, there’s no fish tank left. Everything that’s not tied down is broke,’ he said to ABC.

David Harper, of Anchorage, said the temblor was ‘significant enough that the people who were outside were actively hugging each other. You could tell that it was a bad one.’

‘The main thought that was going through my head as I was trying to get out the door was, “I want this to stop,”‘ he added.

The state’s Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management said the temblor disrupted some communications and electrical service.

As a result of the shake, the Anchorage School District cancelled classes for its more than 100 schools and asked parents to retrieve their children.

Operations at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport have also stopped and the telephone service is out at the airport.

At least eight aftershocks rippled through the city after the earthquake hit, the largest one measuring 5.8 magnitude in Anchorage hitting just five minutes after the temblor.

According to the NOAA alert, ‘for other U.S. and Canadian Pacific coasts in North America, the level of tsunami danger is being evaluated.’

Alaska averages 40,000 earthquakes per year, which is more large quakes than the other 49 states of the U.S. combined.

Southern Alaska is particularly vulnerable to earthquakes as it’s located directly above tectonic plates sliding past each other.

The strongest earthquake in U.S. history took place in Alaska in March 27, 1964 when a 9.2 earthquake devastated the region then triggered a deadly tsunami that killed 130 people.

See (“‘It was anarchy. Everything that’s not tied down is broke’: State of emergency declared in Anchorage after devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake leaves residents running for cover, roads cracked and homes without power”) (emphasis added; videos and diagrams omitted); see also (“Alaska earthquake: Severe damage after magnitude-7 earthquake in Anchorage area“) and (“Powerful quakes buckle Alaska roads, trigger tsunami warning“) and (“Large earthquake, aftershocks, strike Southcentral Alaska, damage reported around region“) and (“M 7.0 – 13km N of Anchorage, Alaska“)

Anchorage quake too


6 07 2019
Timothy D. Naegele

The Big One Is Coming! [UPDATED]

The Big One hits LA


See (“7.1 magnitude earthquake strikes Southern California“) and (“Shocking footage shows thousands of dead bees after 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck California“) and (“Looters descend on California town wrecked by 7.1 magnitude earthquake“) and (“‘It’s Shocking:’ Ridgecrest Store, Hit By Series Of Violent Quakes, Looted”) and (“Yellowstone Volcano Eruption Fears Triggered by California Earthquakes“)

. . .

Rong-Gong Lin II has written for the Los Angeles Times:

Does a good-size earthquake help relieve pent-up seismic stress? Does that postpone the day of reckoning when the Big One finally arrives?

That was the question some in California were asking hopefully in the wake of the July 4 magnitude 6.4 earthquake that rattled the region.

The answers, like so many when it comes to seismology, are unsettling.

It’s wishful thinking to imagine that, as a rule, earthquakes “relieve” seismic stress, said seismologist Lucy Jones.

In fact, generally speaking, earthquakes actually increase the risk of future quakes.

The reality is coming into focus as Southern California experienced its largest earthquake in nearly two decades, ending a quiet period in the state’s seismic history.

Does an earthquake immediately relieve seismic stress, forestalling a future big quake?


Think about what generally happens after a decent earthquake. Aftershocks. Lots and lots of aftershocks. It’s going on right now in the area around the Fourth of July magnitude 6.4 earthquake in the Mojave Desert, close to Ridgecrest, a town of 29,000 notable for being a pit stop for Mammoth-bound skiers from L.A.

But couldn’t relieving seismic stress in one part of the state restart the earthquake clock elsewhere?


One part of California, west of the San Andreas, is constantly moving northwest, toward Alaska, relative to the other side of the Golden State, which is headed toward Mexico.

These immense forces are what generated the state’s mountains, from the ranges seen in the Los Angeles Basin to the hills lining the ridges of the Bay Area. There’s a reason why earthquake faults are often alongside hills and mountains.

“If you see mountains in California, that means something is moving up those mountains faster than erosion is wearing them down,” Jones said in an interview published last year. “Basically, when you see mountains, think earthquakes in California.”

It’s also the reason why California has been home to lucrative deposits of oil. It’s the reason where there are springs in the desert giving rise to places like Palm Springs.

There is no avoiding, eventually, big earthquakes being unleashed on faults somewhere in this state. We just don’t know exactly when or where it’ll happen. But just as it’s happened before in centuries and millennia past, it will happen again.

Why there are quakes in California?

Think about the San Andreas fault. It’s a huge fault — more than 800 miles long. Just the southern San Andreas fault, between Monterey County to close to the Mexican border, is capable of producing a magnitude 8.2 quake.

Relatively speaking, places on the southwest side of the San Andreas fault — such as Los Angeles, San Diego and Santa Barbara — are inching toward Alaska. Places on the other side of the San Andreas, such as Sacramento and the Mojave Desert, are sliding toward Mexico.

But in places along faults such as the San Andreas, the land on both sides of the fault are locked, even as land farther away continues to move. Eventually, the San Andreas — as well as other faults throughout California — will have to rupture to relieve mounting tectonic strain.

“Plate tectonics hasn’t suddenly stopped; it is still pushing Los Angeles toward San Francisco at the same rate your fingernails grow — about 1.5 inches each year…. Their motion cannot be stopped any more than we could turn off the sun,” Jones wrote in her recent book, “The Big Ones: How Natural Disasters Have Shaped Us (and What We Can Do About Them).”

The San Andreas is particularly feared because, in some sections, it will move for many feet almost instantaneously. A famous example was during the great 1906 magnitude 7.8 earthquake that destroyed San Francisco; at Point Reyes in Marin County, a fence that intersected the fault was suddenly cut in two, separated on each side by the San Andreas by 18 feet.

A similar sized earthquake of the San Andreas fault rupturing through the Palm Springs area would shatter the ground. If a couple had the misfortune of holding hands across the fault in a remote part of the desert near Desert Hot Springs when the Big One hits, they’d suddenly be separated by as much as 30 feet — almost the entire length of a city bus, U.S. Geological Survey research geophysicist Kate Scharer said in 2017.

What about just the area that was hit by the Independence Day quake? Is that area now relieved of quake strain?

It actually probably made things worse for parts of some faults in that region, said earthquake scientists Ross Stein and Volkan Sevilgen, writing on their blog at

Parts of several other faults — in remote areas of California — were actually “brought closer to failure by the 4th July quake,” they wrote.

Some areas hit by Thursday’s quake likely became loaded with more seismic strain after two previous temblors — the 1872 magnitude 7.6 Owens Valley and the 1992 magnitude 7.2 Landers earthquakes.

In an interview Friday, Stein said it looks pretty clear that the Garlock fault and the northern part of the Blackwater fault were stressed from the Independence Day quake. The Garlock fault is probably the more worrisome of the two — at a length of 175 miles, it’s mathematically capable of an earthquake with a magnitude in the high 7s.

Fortunately for the most populous areas of California, the Garlock fault is in a remote location — along the northern boundary of the Mojave Desert, reducing the potential impact of a major quake on it, Stein said. There are also questions as to whether the Garlock fault is a zombie fault that could be dead.

What does an era of earthquakes look like?

Sometimes, a moderate quake — after its series of aftershocks — can lead to a period of seismic quiet. Other times, it can usher in a new era of temblors.

For instance, in the 75 years before the great 1906 earthquake that destroyed much of San Francisco in shaking and flames, there were 14 earthquakes of magnitude 6 or greater in the Bay Area, Stein has previously said in an interview. (Since the 1906 quake — a magnitude 7.8 — there have been only three.)

Angelenos might remember what is now known as the earthquake storm of the 1980s and ’90s. As tallied by Caltech seismologist Egill Hauksson, it began with the Whittier Narrows temblor in 1987 (magnitude 5.9), which killed eight, followed by Pasadena in 1988 (4.9); Montebello in 1989 (4.4); Upland in 1990 (5.2); Sierra Madre in 1991 (5.8), which killed a woman; and ended with Northridge in 1994, which killed at least 57 people.

The 1800s were also an active time for earthquakes in California.

In 1800, a magnitude 7.2 quake hit on the San Jacinto fault east of Temecula. Then, in 1812, the San Andreas and San Jacinto faults moved in a magnitude 7.5 earthquake through present-day cities such as San Bernardino, Rialto, Loma Linda, Yucaipa and Highland and brought down Mission San Juan Capistrano’s Great Stone Church, killing more than 40 people inside.

Then, in 1857, the southern San Andreas sent extreme shaking on both sides of the fault all the way from Monterey County to Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties in a breathtaking magnitude 7.8 quake.

What’s an example of a moderate quake actually coming before something far worse?

On March 9, 2011, a magnitude 7.3 earthquake off the east coast of Japan led some people to be complacent when, two days later, a historic magnitude 9 earthquake struck. Some people ignored protocol and failed to immediately evacuate before the catastrophic tsunami hit.

Closer to home, the main shock of the last truly great earthquake in Southern California — at 8:24 a.m. on Jan. 9, 1857 — was preceded an hour earlier in the Monterey County area by a magnitude 5.6 earthquake, and a magnitude 6.1 earthquake an hour before that.

What can we do to prepare?

In general:

• If you’re an owner of an older home or building, retrofit it if it needs it, and if you rent, ask the landlord about it.

• Stock up on food, water and medicine to be self-sufficient for two weeks.

• Plan for your workplace to have a continuity plan. The Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation has a template on how to do it at

• And keep an eagle eye wherever you live or work, and imagine all the possible things that could fall on yourself, your loved ones and pets. Head to your hardware store’s earthquake prep section to find ways to bolt bookcases down and keep large objects from falling on you when the shaking comes.

We have a comprehensive list of tips available in our article, “Get ready for a major quake. What to do before — and during — a big one,” at

See (“4th of July earthquake won’t delay the Big One. And it might have worsened quake strain“) (emphasis in original; diagrams omitted); see also (“California earthquake: 5.4 magnitude aftershock hits Searles Valley after quake“)


6 07 2019

Everyone must prepare because when it hits it will be horrific.


6 07 2019
Timothy D. Naegele

I agree completely, Sarah.

There is a possibility that it will be worse than the San Francisco Quake, the Loma Prieta Quake and the Northridge Quake.

If so, it will be a calamity on the scale of 9/11, and Hurricane Katrina, or worse. Where and when it will hit is anyone’s guess.

. . .

Each and every day, there are swarms of small quakes at the Long Valley Caldera next to Mammoth Mountain. Indeed, there are two roads into the area: one is an earthquake “escape route,” although it is not officially labeled as that.

If the caldera “blows,” it will be devastating, and not dissimilar to what is being predicted for Yellowstone.

See, e.g., (“Yellowstone’s Steamboat Geyser is on track to break records”)

. . .

In Los Angeles, lots of high-rise office buildings were never fixed after the Northridge Quake; and Marina Del Rey and its high-rises may be subject to liquefaction, and collapse.


6 07 2019
Timothy D. Naegele

Earthquake Tracker


27 08 2021
Timothy D. Naegele

See (“Repairs of Leaning San Francisco Skyscraper on Hold; Engineering Expert Blasts Plan”)

Will this building survive the next big quake to hit San Francisco?


26 05 2022
Timothy D. Naegele

Is The Big One Coming?

See (“Los Angeles hit by magnitude 4.3 earthquake near Trona with ‘significant’ tremors felt downtown”)


24 09 2022
Timothy D. Naegele


See (“Fault along L.A., O.C. coast could unleash huge earthquake on scale of San Andreas, study shows”)

Liked by 1 person

26 01 2023
Timothy D. Naegele

The “Big One” Is Coming To LA

“Los Angeles earthquake: 4.2 magnitude offshore quake strikes near Malibu coast, USGS says”


It is merely a function of time.


6 02 2023
Timothy D. Naegele

When The Big One Hits LA And/Or SFO, The Impact May Be Staggering

See, e.g., (“SECOND mega earthquake hits Turkey, hours after record 7.8-magnitude tremor: Thousands feared dead as Turkey and Syria reel from overnight destruction that saw families crushed in their sleep”)


4 04 2023
Timothy D. Naegele

A Sobering Reminder

See (“Drain The Sunken Pirate City – National Geographic Channel”); see also (“Port Royal”)

If you get a chance, please watch this excellent program about Port Royal near Kingston on the lovely island of Jamaica.

It was hit by an earthquake; and it effectively disappeared. Liquefaction took place; buildings collapsed; and a tsunami hit.

All of this may happen on California’s coast, affecting coastal destinations such as San Diego, Newport Beach, Los Angeles’ Marinia del Rey, the harbors at Oxnard and Ventura, Santa Barbara, and of course the San Francisco area where the Loma Prieta quake did so much damage.


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