Sunday night, an earthquake struck in LA. The magnitude of the earthquake was very small. The earthquake registered a 3.5 in magnitude. The magnitude of the earthquake is not the issue. The location of the earthquake is what is raising concern among seismologists.
The fault line where the earthquake occurred is called the Newport-Inglewood fault. Fault lines go through periods of inactivity, and if this earthquake is a sign that this fault is becoming active again, then LA could potentially see an increase in earthquake activity.
The Newport-Inglewood fault is 50 miles long. The fault line goes through Orange County, Long Beach, Inglewood, and Beverly Hills. Seismologists and government officials are very concerned about this fault line potentially becoming active once more. The last large earthquake that happened on this fault line was 82 years ago.
In 1933, an earthquake struck along this fault line. The magnitude of the earthquake measured a 6.4. The total number of people who died was 115. The cost of damages was estimated to be $40 million. That would equate to around $590 million today.
An article written in 2008, on the 75th anniversary of the 1933 earthquake, talked about how that earthquake started the realization that California is “earthquake country.” This earthquake is what led the government to create better building and construction standards. Dr. Lucy Jones, a U.S. Geological Survey seismologist, spoke about this devastating earthquake.
“It was a very big political event and a very big event in terms of the development of California seismology.”
Dr. Jones also took to twitter to specify that the earthquake on Sunday was not related to any sort of oil drilling or fracking.
The depth of this EQ is 9 km – way below the oil fields.
— Dr. Lucy Jones (@DrLucyJones) April 13, 2015
The population of LA is much larger today compared to 1933. In 1933, the population of LA was just over one million people. Today, the population is over 10 million. If an earthquake similar to the one the happened along the Newport-Inglewood fault in 1933 were to happen today, the event would be a catastrophe.
Earthquakes are one of the few natural disasters that, as of now, can’t be predicted. Researchers are starting to experiment with smartphones in order to see if an early warning system can be developed. It seems like everyone has a smartphone. If an early warning system could be adapted for use on smartphones, then it could potentially help save many lives in the future.
The “big one” can happen at any time. It is important to have a plan in place for yourself in order to improve your chances of survival.
Do you think this LA earthquake was a precursor to a larger one coming soon?
[Image Credit Paul Duginski/@latimesgraphics]