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Los Angeles Earthquake Preparedness Press Release

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Introduction
Every Californian resident knows what the phrase “The Big One” means: a tremendous earthquake that scientists predict will rock the state of California, which sits on the famous San Andreas Fault line, an 800-mile line of weakness that runs through California. Overland, it runs for 625 miles, running north-south from Point Arena in north San Francisco to the border with Mexico. The most risky stretch of this fault, the southern part, passes about 35 miles from Los Angeles.
Being the biggest and most populated city closest to the fault, Los Angeles is a high-risky region in the event of a big earthquake. There are over four million residents and 400, 000 businesses within Los Angeles city, an area of 475 square miles. It is one of the City’s greatest responsibilities to protect the public and ensure that all responsible agencies are prepared for immediate response and rescue operations in the event of earthquakes and other related disasters. The starting point, the focus of this press release, is educating the public about the causes of earthquakes, associated disasters, and vulnerability of Los Angeles to future earthquake events.
Hazards Associated Earthquakes in Los Angeles
The common disasters associated with earthquakes include the disruption of public, social and business activities, as well as destruction of property, and in serious cases, loss of life. In addition, earthquakes destroy infrastructure such as electricity lines, roads, water, and sewage drainage systems. Consequently, if an earthquake strikes it will paralyze transport services, cut off water and electricity supply, cut off communication lines as well as halt all business activities. Additionally, it can cause public panic, which is a recipe for confusion and chaos, especially in public places. Most fortunately, some of the more serious earthquakes have occurred at night when people are asleep, thus reducing chances of panic.
Historical Disasters Associated with Past Earthquakes in the LA Region
The San Andreas earthquake of 1906 is the most remembered one, and it caused over 3, 000 deaths. However, the earliest recorded earthquake to hit the region was the Fort Tejon Earthquake on 9 January 1857, with a magnitude of 8.0. Damage was minimal given that, unlike today’s urbanized and built landscape, much of southern California was underdeveloped and sparsely populated. Were a similar earthquake to occur today, it will cause damages worth billions of dollars as it will not only paralyze businesses, but will also destroy property on an unprecedented scale.
On 10 March 1933, a 6.4 magnitude tremble caused considerable damage in Long Beach and neighboring communities. It resulted in the deaths of 120 peoples and losses of up to $50 million.
The San Fernando Earthquake of February 9, 1971 caused 65 deaths and more than $500 million worth of damages. In October 1, 1987, an earthquake of a magnitude of 5.9 hit the Whittier Narrows area, causing 8 deaths and destroying property worth $358 million.
The Sierra Madre earthquake on June 28, 1991, rocked the San Gabriel Valley region and caused two deaths, in addition to destroying property worthy $40 million.
The Northridge earthquake of January 1994 is perhaps the most devastating to hit the area in recent times. Registering a magnitude of 6.7 on the Richter scale, it destroyed property worth $40 billion and caused 57 deaths. Nearly 12, 000 people were injured and more than ten thousand structures damaged. In addition, it put more than 600, 000 people on relief assistance.

Relation of Earthquakes to Plate Tectonics and Faults in Los Angeles
Earthquakes are caused by a collision of two Earth crusts along fault lines. The fault lines are lines of weaknesses between two earth crusts, or plate. The faults are actually fissures or cracks in the earth’s crust. When these fissures become extensive, they dislocate and separate two adjacent landmasses, leaving them free to slide and glide past each other. Due to accumulation of pressure in the earth’s internal crust, the split landmasses slide, causing tremors that are reported as earthquakes. The Plate Tectonics theory explains how this process takes place. The West Napa Fault, for example, is a split along which parts of the Earth’s crust slide horizontally past each other. The San Andreas Fault separates the Pacific Plate from the North American Plate. The land mass on Pacific Plate is sliding slowly northwestwards while the landmass on the North American Plate is sliding southwestwards at a speed of one fifth of an inch, or 0.6 cm per year.
Potential of Future Earthquake Events
The Coastal California region is the meeting point of the North American and Pacific plates. It is also at this point where they collide, making California the most vulnerable region to earthquake disasters. In the Bay Area, as well as in the San Andreas, the fault lines are slipping at alarming rates to accommodate the colliding plates. Seismologists predict that the pressure and tension built-up will cause a serious tremor, dubbed “The Big One,” in the next 30 years. However, the 1906 earthquake is thought to have released much of the built-up pressures, thus making it possible for the next “Big One” to hit later than in the estimated period of 30 years.

References
County of Los Angeles. (2015). Historical disaster information: Earthquakes. Retrieved April
06, 2015< http://lacoa.org/historicalinfo.htm>
Hogan, D. (2015). San Andreas Fault. Science Daily. Retrieved April 6, 2015<
http://www.sciencedaily.com/articles/s/san_andreas_fault.htm>…...

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