Southern California, Earthquakes, and Why to Prepare

We at Earthquake Answers think that southern California is an awesome place to live and work. However, residing in the region comes with some caveats. No one likes traffic, wildfires, traffic, prolonged excessive heat waves, traffic, flooding, traffic, smog, traffic, or earthquakes. Interestingly, the southern California landscape and a lot of what we love about it, the mountains, beaches, deserts, etc., exist primarily because of past earthquakes.

Earthquakes occur on faults, which are breaks in the Earth’s crust. There are hundreds of faults in southern California, some are small, some are big, and some are really big. Earthquakes are amazing natural phenomena that release an enormous amount of energy when a fault ruptures (when one piece of the crust rapidly tears past an adjacent piece of crust). Earthquakes quickly release strain energy that accumulated on a fault over hundreds, and in some cases, thousands of years. During earthquakes, this energy radiates from the rupturing fault in all directions as seismic waves that cause the ground surface to move. This ground motion causes buildings, homes, and objects in them to shake (more so if objects are not secured). There are a number of different factors that contribute to the duration and type of ground motion one feels during an earthquake (rolling, jolts, etc.) and to the amount of ground motion one experiences (the distance that the ground moves up/down and side-to-side). Typically, large earthquakes result in greater ground motions that occur for longer durations of time than anyone is happy to endure.

Why prepare? In the past in southern California, and in other locations around the world, earthquakes have brought people together in a unique way. There is a good chance following the next major earthquake in southern California, whether you are at home, on the freeway, in a movie theater, or having a meal at your favorite restaurant that neighbors will help neighbors and strangers will help strangers. This is because major earthquakes are regional events and emergency services and first responders easily become overwhelmed. So, we believe that the first reason to prepare is to help ensure the immediate safety of your loved ones during an earthquake, and the long-term safety, security and well being of your loved ones for what could be a significant amount of time following a major earthquake. Plain and simple, you need to get your personal and business space ready, and have the proper amount of food and other emergency supplies to sustain your family. This leads to the second reason to prepare; for each person, household, and business that gets prepared for earthquakes and becomes more self-sufficient, the faster our society can recover and get back to normal southern California living. This is the foundation of Earthquake Answers and the root of our purpose.

Knowledge - Action - Resilience

Below are links to websites that show earthquake shaking, and provide seismic monitoring and preparedness and planning information.

Earthquake shaking videos