If you thought that the earthquake that struck northern California on Sunday was something, just wait until you see what is coming in the years ahead. As you will read about below, we live at a time when earthquake activity is dramatically increasing. This is especially true of the “Ring of Fire” which runs roughly along the outer perimeter of the Pacific Ocean. Approximately 81 percent of all big earthquakes occur along the Ring of Fire, and the entire west coast of the United States falls within the danger zone. Over the past few years, we have seen huge earthquake after huge earthquake strike various areas along the Ring of Fire, but up until now the California coastline has mostly been spared. However, there are indications that this may be about to change in a big way.
Early on Sunday, a 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck the heart of wine country. It was the largest earthquake to hit northern California in 25 years. More than 120 people were injured, scores of buildings were damaged and Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency.
It is being projected that the economic loss from this earthquake will exceed a billion dollars. Since the initial quake, there have been more than 60 aftershocks, and residents are very much hoping that the worst is over. The following is how the damage caused by the earthquake was described by CNN…
“Everything and everyone in Napa was affected by the quake. My house, along with everybody else’s, is a disaster. It looks like somebody broke in and ravaged the place, room by room.” said CNN iReporter Malissa Koven, who was awakened by the shaking at about 3:20 a.m.
“Anything and everything that could fall, did,” she said.
The damage in Napa is “fairly significant,” said Glenn Pomeroy, the CEO of the California Earthquake Authority, who surveyed the area Sunday afternoon.
“The downtown area is hardest hit, probably because of the age of construction down there,” Pomeroy said. In the residential areas, he is “seeing a lot of chimneys that’ve come crashing down.”
That sounds pretty bad, right?
But remember, this was only a 6.1 magnitude earthquake. As Wikipedia explains, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake would be many times more powerful…
The Richter magnitude scale (also Richter scale) assigns a magnitude number to quantify the energy released by an earthquake. The Richter scale is a base-10 logarithmic scale, which defines magnitude as the logarithm of the ratio of the amplitude of the seismic waves to an arbitrary, minor amplitude.
As measured with a seismometer, an earthquake that registers 5.0 on the Richter scale has a shaking amplitude 10 times greater than that of an earthquake that registered 4.0, and thus corresponds to a release of energy 31.6 times greater than that released by the lesser earthquake.
And the earthquake that happened on Sunday would not even be worth comparing to an 8.0 or a 9.0 quake. In fact, one study concluded that a 9.0 magnitude earthquake along the Cascadia fault could potentially produce a giant tsunami that would “wash away coastal towns”…
SNIP to the end