The San Andreas Fault

With all the natural disasters and strange events taking place all over the world within such a short period of time, I believe it is safe to express concern for possibly one of the most catastrophic earthquakes to hit California. Events such as Hurricane Irma in Florida/Atlanta, both the hurricane and earthquake that hit Mexico last week, “raining rocks” in Pakistan, Trumpets in the sky in Iran, the awakening of a dormant volcano in the Galapagos, the list just goes on and on. However, California is my home so I chose to focus on the San Andreas Fault.

In an article titled, “Warning Signs Point To Major Earthquake On San Andreas Fault,” written by Paul Martin, he states that, “A study published earlier this year concluded that the land on either side of the San Andreas fault has been pushing against the other at a rate of more than 1 inch per year since 1857, and the tensions between the plates are eventually going to give out.” According to Seismologist Lucy Jones, the earthquake is expected to be an 8.2 if it reaches Paso Robles, to put things in perspective, that is far more force than the energy created by the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Another source Martin quoted was U.S. Geological Surveys seismologist Ned Field. Field has been warning Californians since 2015 that Southern California is “locked and loaded” and once the fault starts unleashing, “they could unleash for years.” The earthquake is expected to be felt all over California and cause damage in every city, stated Jones.

The article ends by stating that, “Not only could a major San Andreas earthquake damage most of Southern California’s cities, a quake could cause another to occur on the Hayward fault in the Bay Area.” If this ends up happening, both Southern California and the Bay Area would be in major distress, possibly elevating the number of victims to a “staggering and incomprehensible number.”

“California Earthquake Prediction: San Andreas Fault Line ‘Ready To Go,” by John Houck addresses a U.S. Geological Survey report that was published back in 2008 predicted the earthquake would be a 7.8-magnitude and cause “over 1,800 deaths, 50,000 injuries, and $200 billion in property damage.” Now that the expected magnitude has gone up, so has the expected number of deaths, injuries, cost in property damage, and the anticipated two minutes of ground shaking time.

In 2015 the movie, San Andreas, starring The Rock was released and gave a preview of the damage the powerful fault will unleash once the earthquake hits. Sarah Zielinski’s article “What Will Really Happen When San Andreas Unleashes the Big One? A major earthquake will cause plenty of destruction along the West Coast, but it won’t look like it does in the movies,” explains the inaccuracies of the film. Director of the Southern California Earthquake Center, Thomas Jordan, stated that “While the actual threats of the from the Big One are pretty terrifying, they are nowhere near the devastation witnessed by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and his onscreen companions.” Apparently, the San Andreas fault lies far inland and the land slips past on either, meaning the earthquake won’t cause the fault to split apart into a “giant chasm” as shown in the film. Also, the tsunami is unrealistic because of inland the fault is. The only way for the tsunami to happen would be if the fault generating the earthquake was on the ocean floor.

Several years ago, a group of earthquake experts assembled to create the ShakeOut Scenario. The process of creating the scenario began with seismologists modeling how the ground would shake, then other experts including engineers and social scientists took that information to estimate the damage and impacts following the earthquake. The quake will be followed by a snowball effect of damage, first, numerous of fires will ignite across California. With the water system damaged and roads blocked, emergency personnel won’t be able to put out the fires. The small fires will merge creating fires large enough to take whole sections of LA. Lines bringing electricity, water, and gas to Los Angeles, all cross the San Andreas fault, will break and take months to repair. Finally, aftershocks will continue to shake the state in the following days worsening the damage.

Semiologist Lucy Jones believes that the scenario is “somewhat of an underestimate” especially if the earthquake happens while the Santa Ana Winds are blowing.

Bottom line, chances are that the results from the San Andreas fault will be far worse than anticipated and could possibly leave Los Angeles stripped of its busy reputation and abandoned.

2 Comments so far

  1.   Aleigha on September 12th, 2017

    Work on the lede it is to long if you are talking about the San Andreas fault make it so try not to add all the other stuff about the other things going on. if you think it needs to be in there just paraphrase the other disasters that have happened.
    It is good but try to shorten some of the longer paragraphs you have. I like that you put the movie in there to give readers a better understanding of what might happen and that it could be worse than what was expected.

  2.   Steven on September 12th, 2017

    Drawing comparisons to the other natural disasters is a good start to the article. You start out by using the phrase “I think”, try and keep yourself out of the article because then it just sounds like this is all your opinion. The sources are good but draw information from the articles that you read to use throughout your story. It just seemed like you would summarize one article at a time.

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