Rose Parade

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Rock and roll

Massive Southern California Quake Could Come Any Moment. Oh yippee. During one of my attempts to do the college thing I took a class on California Geology. Not because I was interested in it, but because it counted towards general ed. It was a boring class led by a boring instructor, although in all fairness making rocks and soil interesting is a tough gig. However, there was one part of the class that had us all spellbound and that was when we covered earthquakes. I've long since forgotten the instructor's name, but one thing he said in that class has always stayed with me: That in order for the San Andreas Fault to relieve built-up pressure, it has to produce a "great quake" every 150 years or so. He classified a great quake as an 8 or higher. The Loma Prieta quake, famous for interrupting the 1989 World Series (between San Francisco and Oakland, ironically) was a 7.1. Each "point" represents a ten-fold increase in severity. According to my instructor, the next great quake in Southern Cal would be centered around San Bernardino and would literally cause the earth to ripple visibly as it moved toward Los Angeles. I took this class in the mid-80's. He said the last great quake ocurred in 1850. At the time, 2000 seemed so far off, so futuristic we couldn't even comprehend worrying about it at the time. So this part was of the article was particularly interesting: But scientists know very little about the 100-mile dormant southern segment, which slices through Southern California from San Bernardino, east of Los Angeles, to near the Mexican border. (Bold mine) Time to update the earthquake kit. It would be interesting to see how the Red Line holds up. Supposedly it was built to be one of the safest places in town to be during a quake, although if we get hit with an 8 I think the only really safe place to be will be anywhere not in Southern California. Image snagged from here.


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