whole lotta shakin’

As we continue to prepare to move–eventually–to the Bay Area, with all the press attention surrounding the centennial of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, and starting perhaps with Gene’s posting about exploring the Hayward Fault in Google Earth, which coincided with my own renewed obsession with Google Earth, seismicity–specifically, that associated with my probable new home–has been very much on my mind. In addition to plotting the various faults on Google Earth and discovering that our likely first home when we move there lies just blocks away from the San Andreas, I’ve also started collecting links about earthquakes and earthquake preparedness.

I’ve experienced a couple of minor temblors both in southwestern Virginia and in Cambridge–in one Stanford study, Boston was deemed to have a slightly higher risk of earthquake damage than San Francisco–but I’ve never been through a “real” quake. I wouldn’t say that I’m anxious, exactly, about moving to a place where earthquakes are commonplace and the “big one” hangs over everyone’s head, but it’s something I find myself thinking about more than I probably would otherwise.

3 thoughts on “whole lotta shakin’

  1. If you do nothing else in terms of earthquake planning, at least make a concerted effort to find housing that doesn’t suffer from the “soft story” problem — a common problem here, it is a building that has a first floor which is a garage with living space on the second floor above it. These are absolutely, positively going to collapse in an earthquake.

  2. That Stanford study you linked to is quite misleading — it basically says that if a major earthquake struck Boston, it would lead to slightly greater damage and destruction than San Francisco; but the headlines and phrasing of the report make it seem like it is more likely that an earthquake will hit Boston, when in fact this is patently false. The term they use, “earthquake risk” is very misleading.
    There is a 100% probability of an earthquake measuring 5 or more striking the Bay Area within the next 25 years (http://eqint.cr.usgs.gov/eq-men/eqprobout/18400.pdf). The probability of a magnitude 4.75 or greater in the Boston area over the next 25 years is approximately 3% (http://eqint.cr.usgs.gov/eq-men/eqprobout/7030.pdf).

  3. Yep, I noticed that, which is why I used the phrase “risk of earthquake damage” rather than just “earthquake risk.” Still, it’s interesting that New England does get a fair number of quakes and temblors, and in the 1700s even had a couple over 6.0 in magnitude.

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