According to scientists who study California’s seismic activity, the state is in an “earthquake drought.” With fears of the “big one” and likely more fires to already worry about, the state has found itself in a precarious situation.
That “Prepper’s Mindset” we’ve so often referred to could come in handy if you live in California, or even in a state that borders it. But the earthquake drought is apparently, ongoing. It has been almost five years since the state experienced its last earthquake of magnitude 6 or stronger, which occurred in Napa, according to the LA Times. Before that, a quake that did a lot of damage in Mexicali in Southern California struck in 2010.
Experts have advised the West Coast to brace for the “Big One,” the earthquake that could destroy the state’s infrastructure and economy for years, forcing a mass migration east. “Earthquake rates are quite variable: We have a decade or two where we don’t have many earthquakes, and people expect that’s what California is always like,” said Elizabeth Cochran, a seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. Eventually, “we’re going to dramatically see a change in earthquake rates.”
An earthquake drought certainly sounds like a catastrophic apocalyptic event, however, the scientists seem to be merely wanting people warned as a means to prepare for the worst (which we should all be doing anyway.) This urgent alert comes as “memories” of other massive quakes have faded in the minds of people, therefore, it is no longer a priority to be prepared. The experts have added that Californians should ignore the warnings of this “earthquake drought” at their own peril.
“Along the main plate boundary faults, we are in a deficit of earthquakes in the last 100 years,” said Tom Rockwell, a San Diego State paleoseismologist. “At some point, that’s going to change. We’re going to have some big earthquakes.” Those quakes will occur when the force on the plates under the surface of the Earth finally need to relieve the pressure, causing damages.
There may be periods “where things get kind of all locked up and no earthquakes happen for a while. You store a lot of strain in the Earth’s crust,” said Tom Jordan, USC professor of geophysics. “Once it gets going, it’s like a set of dominoes. You might get multiple events if you have enough strain energy stored in the crust because it’s been a long time since an earthquake.”
Preparedness is a mindset, and once you achieve it, comes with a peace of mind that only can be described as euphoric. If your finances don’t allow you to buy and store extra food or water just yet, get your mindset right, and the rest will follow.