Series of Earthquakes Warning in Los Angeles: California fears “The Big One” / US News

For years it was quiet – now Los Angeles was shaken by two strong earthquakes. Since then, fears California: Are they the harbinger of the much anticipated mega-earthquake?


For years it was quiet – now Los Angeles was shaken by two strong earthquakes. Since then, fears California: Are they the harbinger of the much anticipated mega-earthquake?

Mark Benthien is well prepared. The foundations of his family home , built in 1926 , has been subsequently reinforced. Chests of drawers and shelves he has dowelled into the walls , the kitchen cabinets will bear special closures . And in the garage store more than 200 liters of drinking water , ” that’s enough for five years .”

The large quake can come.
Benthien should know : As director of the Southern California Earthquake Center ( SCEC ) are the seismologists well aware of the risks . But in the end he himself is exposed to the forces of nature , which he indeed explain , but can not predict . ” There’s a crash ,” he says laconically , “if it crashes . ”

Benthin is one of 17 million people in the greater Los Angeles area who suddenly see themselves , after a long respite , confronted with the precarious geology beneath their feet. Two earthquakes in quick succession have roused the region : one in mid-March along the freeways I-405 with a magnitude of 4.4 and another last Friday with a thickness of 5,1 – together with hundreds of aftershocks.

“We live in earthquake country ,” says Benthien . Nevertheless, even Mayor Eric Garcetti showed this time a bit upset : “That was the most powerful jerk I’ve ever felt ,” he said. “And I ‘ve been living for 41 years in the city . ”

California Mega-Earthquake Warning:Ten seconds quake

In fact : A double bang is rare – especially since it was the worst since 2008. Since then chase the speculation : Was that the overture to the “Big One” , the overdue large earthquake , the California fears for generations ?

Above all, the epicenter of the second shock makes experts worry – at the Puente Hills crease that runs under the skyscrapers of Downtown to Hollywood . Only half a second slipped the whereupon the earth shook around ten seconds – The enough to overturn furniture to smash crockery and move a small landslide.

Benthien and his SCEC colleagues have the Puente Hills Fault investigated as early as 2005 : A severe earthquake there could recover up to 18,000 deaths and cause according to today’s statement more than 300 billion dollars of damage – far more than one of the more famous San Andreas fold, the 1906 historic earthquakes of San Francisco triggered .

Two decades ago that Los Angeles was last struck by a mega- quake , the Northridge Earthquake ( magnitude 6.7 ) . More than 60 people were killed and nearly 9,000 were injured, some seriously ; the material damage amounted to up to 25 billion dollars.

California Mega-Earthquake Warning:”I wanted to make a difference”

St Andreas fault line California

St Andreas fault line California

Northridge was the former geophysics students Benthien his determination: “I wanted to make a difference.” So he distributed seismometer in the gardens to measure thousands of aftershocks and so his hope of one day being able to predict earthquakes.

But the more he learned, the clearer it became: That’s impossible. “Earthquakes happen arbitrarily,” says Benthien. So also the youngest: “You probably have nothing to do with each other.”

Long Los Angeles responded to this merciless unpredictability with resignation and lethargy. Only Mayor Garcetti, for nine months in office, allied itself with the U.S. Geological Service USGS to develop “strategies for earthquake resistance” and a new “preparedness plan”.

So far, failed ambitious measures to the costs. Thus, an early warning system with soil probes was not about the testing period – even though every second saves lives.

California Mega-Earthquake Warning:13 floors of friable concrete

The most expensive there, tens of thousands of homes to make often in retrospect quake safe. The “Los Angeles Times” had more than a thousand old buildings from crumbling concrete that would withstand any quake – including such landmarks as the cylinder-shaped, 13-story Capitol Records Tower.

But even new buildings are at risk. So earlier this year revealed that a 200- multimillion-dollar high-rise project in Hollywood sits with 1042 apartments directly on an active fault , the Hollywood Fault . Nevertheless, the eight complexes were subjected to ” seismic assessment”.

Since only civil protection remains on your own. These organized Mark Benthien regular “shake out” – exercises in which last year nearly ten million people took part. They learned how to behave in case of emergency ( ” duck , cover, hold on” ) and what you should have ready: water, radio , batteries , flashlight , fire extinguisher, dust mask , medication, three days provisions.

Benthien knows where he would be the best place – at home and in his quiver also secure office on the sunny campus of the University of Southern California . On his desk there is a protective helmet, which he often had to grab quickly. How often? Then he laughs : ” As often as it rains. ”


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