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Archive for the ‘Earthquakes’ Category

You’ve no doubt heard of the massive quake in Japan yesterday. Magnitude 8.9, aftershocks over magnitude 7 on the scale, killer tidal waves — yeah, the Japanese are having a real bad day.

There’s plenty of information out on the web, but I wanted to share this one in particular, via Hot Air: an animation by NOAA of the wave effect as it bounced back and forth across the Pacific. Like ripples in a pond… except we’re talking about the biggest ocean on the planet:

“Impressive” doesn’t describe it by half.

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We had an earthquake about half an hour ago, a good sized one: about 5.7 on the Richter scale, and apparently on the same fault that caused the big Easter Sunday quake a few weeks ago, the Laguna Salada fault. While we felt it only weakly here in Los Angeles, judging from the map showing the main shock and aftershocks, the poor folks down near the border must feel like they’re standing on a drum:

(Click for a larger image)

Mexico and California have gotten more active seismologically in recent years. If you live in the area and haven’t done so yet, now my be a good time to check your emergency supplies.

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We supposedly had a drill to prepare for a massive earthquake today where I work, a major West Coast university. It caused quite the flutter among staff as we went back and forth over what signage to have, whether we should get under our desks to practice “duck and cover” for this pretend temblor, whether we would make visitors to our facility do the same, and whether we would participate in the “evacuation.”

Yep, that last part would entail having us leave our offices to line up and march to a designated gathering place, just like it was the end of recess in grammar school.

This had to be one of the dumbest exercises I’ve ever seen, probably proposed by some resume-building hack as a “consciousness raising” measure. In the end, it was useless.

Look, I support disaster preparedness, but real preparedness, not this Doctor Feelgood nonsense. Anyone who’s lived in an active earthquake zone knows to duck under some hard cover and stay away from windows during a quake. These Romper-Room games do nothing.

If they want real preparedness, then get staff certified in first aid, emergency response, and evacuation procedures — and pay them commensurately. Pay for storage lockers and supply them with enough food, water, and other emergency supplies to last the standard three days in which we might be without outside help.

Do that, and then I’ll think you’re serious about getting ready for the Big One.

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