Warning of the Third Woe (Revelation 8:13)

California earthquake a cautionary reminder of West Coast’s volatility

Warning of the Third Woe

Warning of the Third Woe

The 6.0 magnitude earthquake that struck California’s Napa Valley wine country Sunday morning has scientists reminding everyone of the potential for similar quakes here in the Pacific Northwest.

Usually it’s the Cascadia Subduction Zone, the huge undersea fault that causes magnitude 9.0 earthquakes off the Northwest Coast every 300 to 500 years, that gets the most attention. But seismologist Bill Steele from the University of Washington in Seattle said even smaller quakes could cause significant damage in Cowlitz County.

Steele said the California quake caused buildings with unreinforced masonry to collapse, injuring bystanders with falling bricks and debris. Buildings with unreinforced masonry in Longview and elsewhere would be at risk of similar damage.

“I think it’s time we start thinking about how we are going to strengthen these buildings or remove some of them before an earthquake does,” Steele said.

Wet, sandy soils — like most of the lowland Longview-Kelso area — tend to magnify shock waves. This makes structures on them more prone to collapse from liquefaction — which occurs when saturated soil is shaken and turns to quicksand.

The February 2011 magnitude 6.3 quake in Christchurch, New Zealand, killed 185 people and injured thousands more and provided a valuable lesson to scientists.

“We learned from Christ Church that magnitude 6 earthquakes can be devastating. If you have poor soils and poor building types, particularly unreinforced masonry, magnitude 6 can produce … ground motion that can break and displace these bricks so that the building becomes unstable and collapses,” Steele said.

Magnitude 6 earthquakes are not a rarity in Washington and Oregon. The last one in Western Washington occurred in 2001, when a 6.8 temblor north of Olympia injured 400 people and was the most expensive natural disaster in Washington history. Even closer to home, a 5.2 earthquake along the Mount St. Helens seismic zone caused violent shaking here on Feb. 14, 1981. Seismologists believed somewhat stronger quakes are possible along the fault.

How to be earthquake-ready

• Secure ceiling fans and light fixtures using bracing wire. Anchor the bookcases, file cabinets, loose shelving and entertainment centers to walls.
• Secure china, collectibles, trophies, and other shelf items with museum putty. Install a lip or blocking device to prevent books or other articles from falling off shelves.
• Secure televisions, computers, and stereos with buckles and safety straps.
• Ensure appliances have flexible gas or electrical connections.
• Strap the top and bottom of a water heater to wall studs.
• Know how to turn off the gas supply.
• Relocate flammable liquids to a garage or outside storage location.

Source: Federal Alliance for Safe Homes

The Third Woe (San Francisco) Awaits (Revelation 8:13)

California Waits For The Big One

San Francisco Earthquake August 2014

San Francisco Earthquake August 2014
Boogy-boarding down a flight of stairs during an earthquake is not a wise thing to do. Just ask Jewel McGuinnes, 12, of Eureka, California.

“A friend and I were at my house and we were boogy-boarding down the stairs,” says Jewel. “About halfway down, tremors knocked me off my board. Next thing I knew, I was sitting at the foot of the stairs and my friend was screaming, ‘Earthquake!’”

The quake that knocked Jewel off her boogy board last April has been followed by even bigger quakes. On June 28, 1992, the most powerful quake to hit the U.S. in 40 years struck Landers, California. It measured 7.4 on the Richter scale. Hours later, another big quake hit Bear Valley, 20 miles away. The two quakes caused one death and millions of dollars in damage. If the quakes had struck a big city, such as Los Angeles, the toll would have been higher. The quakes, say scientists, are just a reminder of “the Big One” still to come.


Earthquakes: Slips And Faults

The Big One is the name that scientists have given to a severe earthquake expected to strike California within the next 30 years.

What causes earthquakes? Scientists explain that the earth’s crust, or outer shell, is made up of massive slabs of rock called plates. These plates, which can be as big as a continent or as small as a city, are constantly shifting. You can visualize the shifting of these plates by looking at what happens when Arctic ice floes meet each other. Some floes break apart, some slide partially over the other, and some simply grind past each other.

Most earthquakes occur along a fault — a crack in the earth’s crust. One of the most visible is California’s San Andreas Fault, where the Pacific Plate slides past the North American Plate. When two plates slip by each other, tremendous tension builds up. The tension is released in violent jerks or shock waves, which we call an earthquake.

The Big One; still waiting on the evening of October 17, 1989, residents of San Francisco thought that the Big One had struck.

Minutes before the start of the third game of the World Series between the Oakland A’s and the San Francisco Giants, the city was rocked and rattled by a magnitude 7.1 earthquake. Buildings and bridges collapsed, fires broke out, and 59 people were killed.

Scientist later said that this quake was not the Big One. In fact, the 1989 San Francisco quake may seem like small potatoes when compared to the huge quake that scientists predict is to come.

What makes the Big One such a threat, says geologist Virgil Frizzell, is that it probably will occur in or near a major city in northern or southern California. Two likely candidates are San Francisco and Los Angeles. Such a quake would cause much more damage than the 1989 San Francisco quake. That quake, says Frizzell, had its center at a location 100 kilometers from San Francisco.

Not just in California about 40 moderate and thousands of minor earthquakes occur every year. “Remember, it’s not just in California that earthquakes happen,” Frizzell says. “They are happening every day, all over the world.”

There is nothing that people can do to control the destructive power of an earthquake. But there are steps that we can take to limit the amount of damage and danger from an earthquake.

Making building codes tougher is one way to limit damage. By requiring builders to use safer materials and construction methods, much of the damage from quakes can be prevented.

Homeowners can make their homes safer during a quake by securing water heaters, cabinet doors, and gas lines.

Do Californians like Jewel worry about the Big One? “Well (after the April 25 quake), I was scared to go to bed,” Jewel says. “Since then, whenever I feel a tremor, I get worried. But more than anything, I am much more on my toes, much more aware.”

Richter Scale – Typical Damage:8 – Total damage. 7 – Buildings collapse. 6 – Buildings crack and things fall off shelves. 5 – Furniture and pictures move. 3-4 – People feel a rumble and hear noise. 1-2 – Most people do not notice anything.

San Francisco Will Be the Third Woe (Revelation 8:13)

Strong Earthquake Shakes Bay Area in California

NAPA, Calif. — A strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.0 hit the San Francisco Bay Area early Sunday morning, causing injuries and damage in Napa and knocking out power to thousands of people across the region.
The temblor struck about 10 miles northwest of American Canyon — six miles south of Napa — around 3:20 a.m., according to the United States Geological Survey. It was the most powerful earthquake to hit the Bay Area since the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989, which collapsed the Bay Bridge. At least four aftershocks were reported Sunday.
Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa treated more than 87 patients in its emergency room on Sunday morning, said a spokeswoman for the hospital, Vanessa DeGier. The injuries were largely limited to cuts and abrasions, Ms. DeGier said. Most patients were released after treatment, but some people were also admitted for more severe injuries — including a hip fracture and a heart attack. One patient, a child said to be in critical condition, was airlifted to a hospital in Santa Rosa.
Four homes were destroyed by a fire at a mobile home park, Napa officials said, and two others were still burning. At at least two buildings downtown were severely damaged. About 50 gas main breaks were reported, along with at least one water main break, Napa officials said. Portions of two highways, one of which buckled about a foot during the earthquake, were closed on Sunday morning, and power remained out to more than 60,000 customers.
Two residents of the mobile home park, Lynda and Bob Castell-Blanch, both 60, said they were jarred away by a loud thump and roll.
“It was violent,” Mr. Castell-Blanch said. “Things were flying all over the place. There was woman screaming from one of the houses, so loud it was total mayhem.”
The couple said they had enough time to gather their cats and his vintage guitars before evacuating. “That was all we had time for,” Mr. Castell-Blanch said, while they were trying to buy water at a store down the road from the mobile home park.
The shelves at the store, the Ranch Market, had been emptied into the aisles. The smell of wine wafted throughout.
Arik Housley, the store’s owner, estimated at least $100,000 in damage at the two markets he owns in the area. He said that, like many people, he did not carry earthquake insurance because of the high premium.
At a restaurant next door, workers could be seen sweeping up broken glass and spilled wine.
Janet Upton, a resident of Napa in the wine country northeast of San Francisco, said she awoke early Sunday morning to violent shaking and the sound of loud crashing all around her, soon followed by rolling waves.
“The house is just trashed,” said Ms. Upton, who is a spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and is married to Scott Upton, the Napa County fire chief.
“My kitchen is a wreck; it’s all down” Ms. Upton said. “The TV, all the stuff on the walls. A huge dresser just barely missed my daughter.”
Buildings across the city were damaged, including the county courthouse, a historic building.
“There’s collapses, fires,” the Napa fire captain, Doug Bridewell, told The Associated Press as he stood in front of large pieces of masonry that broke loose from a turn-of-the-century office building where a fire had just been extinguished. “That’s the worst shaking I’ve ever been in.”
Mr. Bridewell, who said he had to climb over fallen furniture in his own home to check on his family before reporting to duty, said he was starting to see more reports of injuries.
In her neighborhood, Ms. Upton said the chimneys of several homes were knocked off, while the front of another home had sheared off. The entire area smelled strongly of gas, she said. The sound of sirens continued unabated for two hours after the earthquake, she added, but it had since quieted down.
“We helped all neighbors turn their gas off,” Ms. Upton said. “I’m just grateful my family and neighbors are all OK.”
At least two aftershocks shook the area on Sunday morning, though neither was as strong as the initial earthquake, which hit between two major faults at a depth of 6.7 miles below the surface, according to the Geological Survey.
California transportation officials were still examining the region’s bridges for any damage, but they appeared to have survived the earthquake unscathed.
“No abnormalities have been found on any of the bridges at this time,” said Tamie McGowen, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Transportation.
The geological agency said the depth of the earthquake was just less than seven miles, and numerous small aftershocks had occurred in the Napa wine country.
“A quake of that size in a populated area is, of course, widely felt throughout that region,” Randy Baldwin, a geophysicist with the United States Geological Survey in Golden, Colo., told The Associated Press. “The 6.0 is a sizable quake for this area. It’s a shallow quake. It’s about 6 miles deep. We received hundreds of reports on our website from people that felt it in the surrounding area.”

Jim Kerstetter reported from Napa, Calif., and Ian Lovett from Los Angeles.  Rick Rojas contributed reporting from New York.