9news: The two major earthquakes that hit Southern California should alert people across the nation of the need to be prepared for natural disasters, the state’s governor said.
Gov Gavin Newsom said today that governments must strengthen alert systems and building codes, and residents should make sure they know how to protect themselves during an earthquake.
“It is a wake-up call for the rest of the state and other parts of the nation, frankly,” Gov Newsom said at a news conference to update the public on the state’s efforts to help the region hit by earthquakes on Thursday and Friday (local times).
Friday’s earthquake was the largest one in Southern California in nearly 20 years. Officials voiced concerns about the possibility of major aftershocks in the days and even months to come.
No fatalities or major injuries were reported after the 7.1-magnitude quake, which jolted an area from Sacramento to Mexico and prompted the evacuation of the Navy’s largest single landholding, Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake in the Mojave Desert.
The quake struck at 8.19pm Friday (local time) and was centered 18 kilometres from Ridgecrest, the same area of the desert where a 6.4-magnitude temblor hit on Thursday
It left behind cracked and burning buildings, broken roads, obstructed railroad tracks and leaking water and gas lines.
Newsom estimated more than US$100 million in economic damage and said President Donald Trump called him to offer federal support in the rebuilding effort.
“He’s committed in the long haul, the long run, to help support the rebuilding efforts,” Gov Newsom said of Mr Trump.
The quakes have prompted a range of questions, including why no one saw them coming.
Earthquake myths, debunked
The US Geological Survey says its scientists can only calculate the probability that a significant earthquake will occur in a specific area within a number of years.
And while your pet may act strange during earthquakes, that does not mean it knows an earthquake is coming.
According to the Seismological Society of America, there is no strong evidence behind the claim that cats, dogs and other animals go crazy before an earthquake.
A report by the society reviewed nearly 200 publications referring to abnormal animal behavior before quakes and notes the animals’ strange behaviors occurred “anywhere from seconds to months prior to the earthquakes, and at distances from a few to hundreds of kilometers from the earthquake origins”.
And without long-term data and observations of animals, researchers are still not sure whether the unusual behaviors relate to earthquakes or some other kind of chance in the animals’ populations.
Heading to the doorway is no longer advisable
The United States Geological Survey says that’s outdated advice. Doorways used to be stronger than other parts of the home but that’s no longer the case. Plus, they usually have swinging doors that can injure you.
“You are safer practicing the drop, cover and hold on maneuver under a sturdy piece of furniture like a strong desk or table,” the USGS says.
If you’re driving, pull over to the side of the road and stop (preferably not under any overpasses or power lines).
The ground does not open up during a quake
We all thought it was possible after watching Dwayne Johnson’s dramatic rescues in the movie “San Andreas”.
But the USGS says that happens only for Hollywood characters – not in reality. While shallow crevasses can form, faults do not open up during an earthquake, the USGS says.
“Gaping faults exist only in movies and novels. The ground on the two sides of the fault slide past each other, they do not pull apart,” it says.
California will not get tossed into the ocean
Here’s some comforting words for every California resident contemplating a permanent relocation.
The USGS calls the idea that the state will be swept out to sea “absolutely impossible”.
What will continue to happen however, is the slow – about five-centimetres-per-year slow – northward movement of southwestern California toward Alaska, as it slides past central and eastern California.
“The Pacific Plate is moving to the northwest with respect to the North American Plate,” USGS says.
So one day, in 15 million years nevertheless, Los Angeles and San Francisco will be neighbors. And a couple million years after that, LA homes will sport Alaska postcodes.
Earthquake weather does not exist
There’s no such thing. No correlation has been found between weather and earthquakes, the USGS says.
“Earthquakes begin many (kilometres) below the region affected by surface weather,” the agency says.
“People tend to notice earthquakes that fit the pattern and forget the ones that don’t.
“Every region of the world has a story about earthquake weather, but the type of weather is whatever they had for their most memorable earthquake.”
Source: Published by 9news