THE BIG ONE

 

 

 

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Okay people, we are talking about earthquakes. I am presenting some speculation and a great deal of fact about the giant or so-called Mega Earthquakes that will cause massive destruction and loss of life to a Ring of Fire location near you.

Why am I bringing this up? It kinda fits in my areas of interest that I talk about in this blog. I write both science fiction and non-fiction and this is in my wheelhouse of non-fiction work, although you could certainly imagine the fantasy-fiction possibilities as well.

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The 1994 Northridge Earthquake occurred at 4:40:55am, January 17th. The 6.7 magnitude earthquake was centered in the San Fernando Valley north of the Los Angeles. The earthquake woke up that morning all but the unconscious with a 20 second shake tapering off at 45 seconds that was felt as far away as Las Vegas, Nevada. The earthquake was shallow, at a depth of 11.4 miles below the surface of the earth. Its acceleration was highest ever instrument recorded acceleration on the North American continent. It left 57 people dead and over $20 billion dollars in damage. The blind thrust quake was on a previously unknown fault, now called the Northridge Blind Thrust Fault. Buildings were flattened, gas fires erupted, landslides occurred and the roar from that quake was indescribable. How do I know, I and my family were only 12 miles from the epicenter of that earthquake.

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Within in seconds after the violent shaking began my wife and I were tossed out of our bed. I had enough situational awareness to pull the mattress over our heads, which would have done little to protect us if the house collapsed (the house behind us split in half and separated.) When it was over my shaken wife and two frightened children all reported no injuries. I could see with my flashlight that the house we lived in suffered extensive damage. It would come to be over $45,000 dollars in damage in those 20 seconds…broken windows, smashed appliances, chimney separation and structure damage to the walls and attic cross-beams.

At the time I was working at a radio station, KCSN-FM on the campus of the university Cal State Northridge which sat almost directly over the fault. The damage to the university was catastrophic. The three-story building the radio station was located in pancaked and was totally flattened. Had the earthquake occurred 4 hours later I would not be alive to write this blog.

The damage throughout the city was widespread and long lasting. For my wife and me, that was it for Los Angeles. I had been through the ’71 earthquake as well as the ‘86 and ’87 earthquakes in Los Angeles. We repaired our house and moved the hell outta there.

Considering all that I and 20 million other Southern California residents had been through, that wasn’t even the Big One that has been predicted for several decades. The Big One will produce an earthquake estimated to be an 8.0 in magnitude or higher.

Another “Big One” is also probable for the Oregon Coast along the Cascadia fault. The following huge tsunami will reach the Oregon, California and Canadian coast in minutes with little time for humans to flee. The shaking and wall of water will cause…you can imagine the damage and destruction. New estimates place a 50% chance of an 8.0 or higher quake along the Cascadia Fault within the next 5 years…or maybe the next 5 minutes, who knows.

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Throughout the world there is a possible “Big One” ready to pop somewhere at any moment. Many of you have been through an earthquake, some big, mostly small. But most of you haven’t. And until you have you can’t imagine the feeling of the earth beneath your feet moving, the roar of the jolting earth’s mantle, and the fear of not knowing when it will all stop or if the building you’re in or next to will crush you in a moment.

Earthquakes, in my humble opinion, are the most powerful force of nature. I understand the destruction of hurricanes, tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, fires, floods, mudslides, heat, cold… should I go on? But earthquakes, and I’ve been through a few, are scary as hell.

Now, if I can just translate that apprehension and fear to the page through my written words. A new novel? Let me think about that.

 

Frederick Fichman

http://www.frederickfichman.com

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Oh yeah, a new movie, “San Andreas” starring Dwayne Johnson, is set to be released May 29, 2015 about a magnitude 9  quake that hits California. This movie depicts what “The Big One” will look like when it breaks and the famous San Andreas Fault ruptures. I will be first in line to see this film, it looks great. To see the movie trailer visit the movie website at: http://sanandreasmovie.com/