“A great earthquake is an inevitable part of California’s future and Californians are not ready for it,” said Marc Razze, JPL spokesman, as he welcomed the audience to the seminar. “One of the most likely great earthquakes [that could] hit California is on the southern San Andreas fault. That fault is so long that magnitude 7.8 earthquakes are common and the fault moves so fast that earthquakes happen, on average, every 100 years. The last one was in 1857.”
Jones then took the podium and began to explain how the Shake Out came to be and what the scenario hopes to accomplish.
“The Shake Out is a plan to have a weeklong series of special events to inspire Southern Californians to get ready for a big earthquake,” Jones said. “[The Shake Out] will center around an earthquake drill on Nov. 13. This is definitely the largest earthquake drill that has ever taken place in the United States and if we continue to go the way we are going, it is going to be the biggest drill held anywhere in the world.”
The drill is based on the results of a scientific study that encompassed opinions and research from over 300 individuals working in the fields of earth sciences, engineering and social science. Jones said that the Shake Out is unique because it is the first time that these experts will be working in conjunction, presenting a comprehensive overview of how they think the earth, society and structures will all fare after a large earthquake.
The first issue was to choose a fault line for the earthquake.
“That is easier said than done [in Southern California] because we have over 300 faults that are capable of a magnitude of 6,” she said.