Reading magazines can scare you.
Annals of Seismology
In the July 20th issue of the New Yorker Kathryn Schulz tells a terrifically horrifying story. This story is all about how we are not prepared on the West Coast for the Big One. If we saw the movie San Andreas this past summer we have a bit of an idea of what would happen to our coastal cities when the Really Big One happens.
Try thinking of the six hundred mile stretch of western seaboard that runs from Vancouver Canada to Mendocino Point in California, and superimpose the images from that movie to get the vast import of what an earthquake /Tsunami event would look like.
Ms. Schulz maintains that this big earthquake and tsunami will happen. The only question is when. According to the geologist’s estimation, the timing is overdue.
So what can we do about it? Move out of the Seattle area, take up residence on a high hill if you live near the coastline, or lobby your state politicians to pay attention to education of the masses on this problem.
Looking at these statistics, it has been noted that since 1700 there have been large earthquakes in the Cascadia region every 250 years, but since that is an average, it really does not tell us what we need to know about the timing.
Living in California and near San Francisco, we have the advantage of trying to prepare for earthquakes, and have evacuation routes marked out, emergency classes taught, supplies stockpiled and rehearsals performed by the first responders.
What we don’t have are any real predictors of events. Dogs barking, birds flying erratically or goldfish jumping out of the water are not too helpful in the general cacophony of daily life. Since we do not even have real cold here in the Bay Area snakes coming out in winter to freeze on the surface is not a real indicator to look for either.
All the folklore cannot help us predict an event that tends to make a sudden appearance, but it can help with the history of past events.
It is sad that if one were caught out in the open or near a patch of higher ground when a tsunami happens all the advice that the author can give is ”Run. Save yourself. Do not stop to help your wife, baby, granny or pet. Do not gather belongings that you can’t live without. Chances are that if you hesitate to do that, you are a goner.” Well, I am exaggerating here, but what other chance is there besides not being there in the first place? None.
So, women, children, tourists and the elderly will be eliminated. Those with enough smarts and a twelve minute window to get to higher ground, such as a hundred feet above sea level just might survive.