Home Career An earthquake like the Turkey one would devastate Southern California

An earthquake like the Turkey one would devastate Southern California


Destruction from scale An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 occurred in Turkey on Monday is so widespread and intense that it’s hard to imagine.

But California survived earthquakes of this magnitude and more — and scientists have spent years developing modeling how “The Big One” would play in Golden State.

Here a closer look at risk from the pages of The Times:

A strong earthquake is predicted in Southern California

An 8.2 magnitude earthquake is possible on the southern San Andreas fault, which will bring disaster to all of Southern California at once, and the fault will run from the Mexican border to Monterey County.

Experts say such an earthquake would cause widespread destruction from Palm Springs to San Luis Obispo — and everything in between.

In 2008, the US Geological Survey and many other government agencies and scientists published a study called ShakeOut script which talked about what might happen if a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hits Southern California again.

A 7.8 magnitude earthquake would be “so strong that it would cause widespread destruction and thus affect the lives and livelihoods of all Southern Californians. A disaster is a disaster that runs rampant when society is unprepared for the amount of disruption that occurs,” the report said.

San Andreas Fault on Pallet Creek Road in Juniper Hills.

(Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times)

Among the consequences, the report found:

  • The death toll from the natural disaster may be one of the deadliest in US history: nearly 1,800.
  • Los Angeles County may have the highest death toll at more than 1,000, followed by Orange County with more than 350 deaths.
  • Almost 50 thousand may be injured.
  • Major freeways to Las Vegas and Phoenix that cross the San Andreas Fault will be destroyed.
  • Between 500,000 and 1 million people may flee their homes.
  • Southern California may be isolated for a while, with the region surrounded by mountains and seismic faults.
  • Basic utilities such as gas, electricity and cell phone services are likely to be severely disrupted.

What history tells us

The last seismic event in California to reach a magnitude of 7.8 was the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906. In Southern California, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake occurred in 1857. smaller fault in the San Fernando Valley, was 45 times weaker than the so-called Fort Tejon earthquake.)

The last two major earthquakes to hit Los Angeles—the 1971 Sylmar earthquake and the 1994 Northridge earthquake—resulted in destruction and loss of life. But the worst damage was concentrated in relatively small areas and did not stop daily life in southern California.

Experts have long warned that a much larger earthquake would eventually occur and that casualties would be far greater.

Risk in Northern California

The San Andreas Fault caused the epic 1906 earthquake that destroyed San Francisco.

But the Hayward Fault in the East Bay also poses a major threat, experts say.

A landmark 2018 USGS report According to estimates, at least 800 people could be killed and 18,000 more injured in a magnitude 7 earthquake on the Hayward fault centered near Oakland.

Hundreds more could die in a post-quake fire along a 52-mile-long fault. More than 400 fires could break out, burning the equivalent of 52,000 single-family homes, and a shortage of water for firefighters caused by underground bursts of old pipes could worsen the situation, researchers said.

The Hayward Fault is so dangerous because it runs through some of the most densely populated parts of the Bay Area, spanning the length of the East Bay from San Pablo Bay through Berkeley, Oakland, Hayward, Fremont and into Milpitas.

With all the destructive forces of the earthquake in San Francisco in 1906, its center was off the coast of the Pacific Ocean.

Building strength

During the earthquake in Turkey, thousands of buildings were reported to have collapsed over a wide area stretching from Syrian cities from Aleppo and Hama to Diyarbakir, Turkey, more than 200 miles to the northeast. A hospital collapsed in the Mediterranean coastal city of Iskanderun, the Associated Press reports.

Building standards in California are much stronger. Images in Turkey and Syria show countless collapsed buildings.

California is working to improve seismic safety regulations for vulnerable buildings.

The ShakeOut scenario focused on non-modernized brick buildings, brittle concrete buildings, and so-called soft-floor apartment buildings. Some cities, including Los Angeles and San Francisco, are pushing to retrofit these types of structures.

Soft floor apartments: last year Los Angeles announced a major milestone: More than 8,000 seismically vulnerable buildings were upgraded across the city at an estimated cost of $1.3 billion. The improvements represent the biggest advance in seismic retrofits in decades, but still leave thousands of buildings vulnerable to damage or even collapse in a catastrophic earthquake.

Such cities as Santa Monica, West Hollywood, Culver City, Beverly Hills and Pasadena now there are laws that require retrofitting of buildings with a soft floor. Northern California, San Francisco, Berkeley and Oakland also have such laws.

About 200 two-story buildings were destroyed in the 1994 Northridge earthquake collapsedincluding one apartment building in which 16 people died.

Brittle concrete: Los Angeles has made slow progress in retrofitting fragile concrete buildings. City data show that only two of Los Angeles’ 1,337 fragile concrete buildings have received certificates of compliance showing they meet the retrofit act’s standards.

The owners of concrete buildings were given a much longer period for their reconstruction – 25 years, compared to the seven years that owners of soft floors had to modernize. Some owners of two-story buildings began receiving renovation orders in 2016, meaning they still have some time before the seven-year deadline expires. Other owners began receiving orders in 2017.

Concrete buildings can be particularly deadly because they are so massive. Collapse of two concrete buildings as a result of the earthquake in New Zealand in 2011, 133 people died.

Brick buildings: Some cities, such as Los Angeles, have long required upgrades to unreinforced brick buildings.

But the Times analysis in 2018 found that more than a dozen Inland Empire cities, including Riverside, Pomona and San Bernardino, had 640 unreinforced masonry buildings listed as unsafe, despite decades of warnings.

Little has been done to modernize these buildings, despite the fact that the San Andreas Fault runs through the region.

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