Massive Earthquakes Rock Southern California Leaving a Scar That’s Visible From Space

Last week Southern California was rocked by two powerful earthquakes.

The first quake occurred on the Fourth of July; a foreshock to the larger jolt the next day. It was a 6.4 magnitude earthquake and struck in Ridgecrest; about 125 miles northeast of Los Angeles.

The next evening, a 7.1 magnitude quake occurred in the same general area. Since then, there have been a series of aftershocks measuring 5-5.4 on the magnitude scale. Even one recorded as a 3 magnitude as late as Monday morning.

Together the earthquakes were so strong, they left a fissure in the Earth large enough to be seen from space.

House Fires and Injuries

The Thursday quake was the strongest to hit the region since 1999.

There were reports of cracked roads, gas leaks, vegetation and home fires, and county-wide power outages. It also created a number of injuries. The California governor declared a state of emergency in Kern County.

Patients at Ridgecrest Regional Hospital were evacuated while engineers inspected broken pipes.

But Friday’s quake was even larger. Neither quake was close to the San Andreas Fault. Most seismologists believe the next “Big One” will occur there.

California has more than its share of earthquakes. That’s because it is located on the border of the North American and Pacific plates.

10 States Had Quakes Since 2000

Right now, Southern California is the epicenter for earthquake news. But as people across the country have learned, earthquakes can occur just about anywhere.

Approximately 100,000 earthquakes can be felt by people each year around the world. As recently as 2016, Oklahoma witnessed a 5.8 quake.

Since the turn of the century, there have also been sizeable earthquakes in Washington (6.8), Florida (5.8) and Hawaii (6.7). As well as in Nevada (6.0), Illinois (5.4), Colorado (5.3), Virginia (5.9) and Alaska (7.9).

However, the most disturbing aspect of earthquakes is not where they occur, but how quickly they occur. This is a significant way they are different from other major disasters.

You can always see a hurricane coming. And there is usually enough warning when a tornado is a possibility. But an earthquake begins with no warning.

That’s why it’s important to know what to do – and what not to do – before, during and after an earthquake.

Before an Earthquake Occurs

As with other potential crises, you should have an emergency response plan in place in case an earthquake occurs near you.

Having a supply of survival food on hand is essential. We also suggest having bug-out bags ready for you and your family that include necessary gear like water, flashlights, and sources of backup power.

Here are four things you can do in advance to make yourself ready for an earthquake:

  • Practice your disaster drill with your family. Occasionally play out your plan so that it will seem like second nature if you have to deal with an earthquake.
  • Make sure your shelves are fastened securely to walls. Especially if you live in an area where earthquakes are common. Breakables should be in cabinets that latch shut and heavier objects should be on lower shelves. Rollers also should be off your heavy furniture.
  • Know where your utility shut-off switches are in the house and keep bug-out bags near an exit.
  • Don’t believe earthquake myths. Doorframes are not safe to stand under and earthquakes do not always occur in the morning. Sheltering next to sturdy furniture is not better than sheltering under it.

While an Earthquake Is Occurring

Most earthquake-related injuries happen from flying debris and falling objects. So knowing what to do during an earthquake can help prevent massive injury:

  • Shield yourself immediately, whether indoors or out. Get under sturdy furniture. If in bed, cover your head with a pillow and hang on.
  • If you’re indoors, stay away from windows, shelves and hanging fixtures. Get under a desk if you’re near one.
  • If you’re outdoors, stay clear of buildings and trees. Plus utility poles, streetlights and construction equipment.
  • If you’re in a vehicle, stop as soon as you’re away from tall objects. Stay in the car and try to avoid bridges and ramps.

After an Earthquake Has Occurred

Aftershocks can be just as deadly as the original earthquake. The damage they create means you need to be very cautious about what you do following a quake. Below are four actions you can take after a quake has struck:

  • Listen to emergency radio. And listen to mainstream media reports about the damage in your area.
  • Don’t assume you are now safe. Structures loosened or uprooted during the quake may still be standing. But they could fall at any moment.
  • Meet family members and/or co-workers in a safe place. Make sure everyone is OK and make any necessary plans to deal with the aftermath.
  • Watch out for hanging wires, fires, gas leaks and falling glass. As well as uneven ground and any other problems caused by the earthquake and its aftershocks.

The Time to Prepare is Now

If you’ve ever experienced an earthquake, you know how frightening it can be. If not, it’s very likely that you’ve had to deal with a tornado, hurricane, blizzard, flooding or wildfire at some point.

Regardless, you know how important it is to be prepared.

And the best thing you can do for you and your family is to have a plan in place and supplies ready before the next one hits.


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