Claremont Insider: The Great ShakeOut - 10AM Today

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Great ShakeOut - 10AM Today

The Great ShakeOut, California's big earthquake drill simulating a magnitude 7.8 earthquake along the San Andreas fault, happens today at 10am. The ShakeOut has a website that gives lots of information. Here's the scenario:

The Great Southern California ShakeOut is based on a potential magnitude 7.8 earthquake on the southern San Andreas Fault— approximately 5,000 times larger than the magnitude 5.4 earthquake that shook southern California on July 29. It’s not a matter of if an earthquake of this size will happen—but when. And it is possible that it will happen in our lifetime.

Dr. Lucy Jones of the U.S. Geological Survey has led a group of over 300 scientists, engineers, and others to study the likely consequences of this potential earthquake in great detail. The result is the ShakeOut Earthquake Scenario, which is also the basis of this year’s statewide emergency response exercise, Golden Guardian 2008.

In an earthquake of this size, the shaking will last for nearly two minutes. The strongest shaking will occur near the fault (in the projected earthquake, the Coachella Valley, Inland Empire and Antelope Valley). Pockets of strong shaking will form away from the fault where sediments trap the waves (in the projected earthquake, it would occur in the San Gabriel Valley and in East Los Angeles).

An earthquake of this size will cause unprecedented damage to Southern California—greatly dwarfing the massive damage that occurred in Northridge’s 6.7-magnitude earthquake in 1994. In summary, the ShakeOut Scenario estimates this earthquake will cause some 2,000 deaths, 50,000 injuries, $200 billion in damage and other losses, and severe, long-lasting disruption. The report has regional implications and is a dramatic call to action for preparedness.
The City of Claremont is participating in the Great Shakeout and has a disaster preparedness page on its Public Safety website.

The Shakeout folks have also posted several YouTube videos. Here's a graphical simulation of the Big One: