OMG Earthquakes!

According to the first ever survey of giant earthquakes that are going to hit Los Angeles, knock over our bikes, and spill our coffee, we’re pretty fucked.

Southern Californians, get ready for higher home insurance. The US Geological Survey has just released its first ever statewide earthquake forecast for California, and the odds aren’t great.

The study finds a 99.7% chance that an earthquake of magnitude 6.7 or greater will hit California by 2037, while the probability of a quake of magnitude 7.5 or greater is 46%.

I’m sure our local newsdrones will go nuts with this one (at least until there’s a high speed chase) but speaking as someone who’s lived here for 35 years, I don’t see what the big deal is. We know we live in earthquake country, and it’s the price we pay for living in a city with such stellar management, championship sports teams, and world-class public transportation.


I’ve been here for every major earthquake since 1972, and though the Northridge earthquake in 1994 was one of the most terrifying events of my life, it was over in less than a minute and rather than spend every moment of my life since then worrying about it, I’ve just dulled the memories with sweet, sweet liquor.

Now that we know The Big One is coming — apparently before 2037 — make sure your home is as earthquake-proof as it can be, make sure you have at least a simple survival kit, know where your towel is and don’t panic.

11 thoughts on “OMG Earthquakes!”

  1. I’m afraid I’m going to forget not to panic. And then I’ll panic.

    This is a serious concern of mine. I haven’t done an earthquake yet, and I’m not looking forward to it.

  2. Sorry Wil but I have heard that same story of “the big one is coming in 30 years” for over 20 years. They just keep rolling the target date out.

    Doesn’t matter. One needs to be prepared as if it is going to happen tonight. I learned that one the hard way in 1994. The only good thing to come of it is that I was one of 3 renters with quake insurance and I used the payout for the down on my house.

  3. There’s a whole lot of empty in the State of California that takes up a big portion of that 99.7%.

    It’s mostly desert. When I hear that the odds of a big one in range of a major metropolis are high I’ll listen. This sounds like the odds are good for something that just makes the yuccas dance and otherwise the people are all safe and happy. (Unless they’re sad for other reasons.)

  4. I’m sure our local newsdrones will go nuts with this one

    Actually, this story has been on most of the major news wires for a few days now.

  5. I have been stockpiling necessities for survival in LA post earthquake: bottled water, instant espresso, charcoal and matches for bbq so I can boil water for instant espresso, canned oganic fruits and veggies, organic chocolate and Vicodin. Oh and I have a freezer full of filet mignon and skinless, boneless chicken breasts, plus enough “real” pet food there won’t be a Marie Prevost scene chez moi.

    On January 21, 1937, at the age of 38, secluded and hiding away from the world, living alone in an apartment house, Marie Prevost died from a combination of alcoholism and her self-imposed malnutrition. The primary cause of death was a heart attack. Her body was not discovered until January 23rd, when neighbors had complained about her dog’s incessant barking. The police report stated that her pet dachshund (named John Kelly for unknown reasons) “had chewed up her arms and legs in a futile attempt to awaken her.”

  6. I don’t see what the big deal is.

    Well, the big deal comes into play when you experience more than just the “wow that was scary” part of the earthquake. It’s not a big deal when it just frightens you and breaks a few plates, but your house and everyone in your family is ok and accounted for.

    However, if your experience of the Northridge earthquake was more like mine (living right on ground zero at the time), with my apartment building and most of my belongings totally destroyed and myself and my roommates nearly being killed and left with serious injuries… and no way to contact our families or even get help until many hours later… it really is a big deal.

    True there’s no reason to panic, but there’s no reason to downplay the seriousness of it either. Given what I saw in the immediate aftermath of what happened in Northridge (or Katrina for that matter), I don’t think L.A. is in anyway prepared for what will happen when the shit really hits the fan.

  7. Here’s something we stumbled upon that might help make folks realize the reality of this earthquake that will hit SoCal:

    Looks like quite an earthquake, as the site says: “An earthquake like this causes damage that will never occur in a smaller event like the magnitude 6.7 Northridge earthquake. Getting ready for a Northridge does not get you ready for this.”

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