The tragic earthquake and tsunami in Japan last week and the subsequent and ongoing nuclear crisis have made many of us ask how well the U.S., and even more importantly, Southern California, is prepared to handle these kinds of cataclysmic events. What would happen if just one of these horrendous disasters happened in our area?
For years we’ve been told to prepare for “The Big One.” An article in the Los Angeles Times last October reported that some scientists are now saying that a magnitude 8.1 earthquake could take place on the southern portion of the San Andreas fault and run 340 miles from Monterey County to the Salton Sea.
Most of us can remember the Northridge earthquake in 1994, which was a magnitude 6.7. Because earthquake strength is measured exponentially, an 8.1-magnitude earthquake would be approximately 25 times stronger than that destructive quake.