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"We're On Borrowed Time": California Unveils Statewide Magnitude 7 Earthquake Drill

Seismologists believe the US state is decades overdue a “Big One” tremor measuring magnitude 7 or greater on the Richter scale. The Daily Star reports, a massive fault line zone in the Bay Area of Southern California is thought to be most at risk with experts giving a 72% chance of a large tremor within the next 30 years.

Now a freak spate of deadly earthquakes that wreaked havoc in several regions throughout the Pacific has sparked fears California could be next.

The Pacific “Ring of Fire” is living up to its name.



The 450 or so volcanoes that make up the ring outline have been unusually active this year, sparking evacuations on the Indonesian island of Bali and on the tiny island nation of Vanuatu. Parts of southwestern Japan, meanwhile, have been shaken by a series of earthquakes, unsettling the local population, in an area where the massive Pacific Plate grinds against other plates that form the Earth’s crust, creating a 25,000-mile zone where earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are unusually common.


Three volcanos have either erupted, or are showing signs of an imminent eruption, across the region, according to a roundup published by the Associated Press.

In the past 30 days alone, California has been struck by 671 earthquakes, according to Earthquake Track.

David Schwartz, geologist for US Geological Survey, said the most worrying fault line passes through the “most densely populated part of the Bay Area”.

More than 7.4 million people live near the Hayward Fault – one of many fault lines experts are concerned about.

“The Bay Area is positioned in the middle of the boundary zone of the North American plate and Pacific plate,” Schwartz said.


“The Bay Area has the highest density of faults per square mile in any urban centre.”

Schwartz said since 1906, the region has had an unusually small amount of earthquake activity.

But he added: “I think to a degree we’re on borrowed time.”


“All of these faults haven’t moved in quite a while and have to catch up.


“I think in all probabilities … down the road almost inevitably faults will begin to move again.”

All of which probably explains why, tomorrow, Thursday October 19th - all citizens are encourged to take part in The Great California ShakeOut - a statewide earthquake drill held annually to prepare people to survive and recover quickly from major quakes.

"The recent earthquakes in Mexico are a sobering reminder of the kind of destruction an earthquake can quickly wreak," begins Santa Clarita Councilmember Bob Kellar, adding calmly, "and like Mexico, California is prone to seismic activity.


California has earthquake hazards throughout the state, from the southern San Andreas Fault to the northern Cascadia Subduction Zone. Given these circumstances, being prepared for earthquakes is a must when you live in the Golden State."

When the earth shakes, you are encouraged to...Drop, Cover and Hold On:

  • Move only as far as necessary to reach a safe place.
  • Take cover under a sturdy desk or table and hold on to it firmly.
  • Be prepared to move with the shaking.
  • Hold on until the ground stops shaking and it is safe to move.
  • Do not go to a doorway as a place of safety—injury can occur due to doors swinging.
  • If outdoors, find a spot away from buildings, trees, streetlights, power lines and overpasses. Drop to the ground until the shaking stops.
  • Never run out of a building while the ground is still shaking.
  • If in a vehicle, pull over at a clear location and stop. Stay in the vehicle, with the seatbelt fastened, until the shaking stops.

Officials note that although we do not have the power to control these events, we can plan and prepare to minimize the damage when they do occur.

The Great California ShakeOut is an opportunity to prepare an emergency recovery plan with family members, coworkers and schoolmates.