Saturday, October 18, 2008

Shake, shake, shake

If you missed the reminder of the Chino Hills earthquake a few months back, you'll get another reminder soon that we live in earthquake country.

Luckily, it won't be the real thing. It will be a drill.

At 10 a.m. on November 13, 2008, millions of people in homes, schools, businesses, government offices, and public places all over southern California will Drop, Cover, and Hold On. Why? An enormous earthquake is in our future, and the ShakeOut Drill is our chance to practice what to do when it happens.

But this isn't just any old quake that will be simulated. We're gonna simulate the big one:

The first major product of the USGS Multi-Hazards Demonstration Project is an earthquake scenario that describes what will happen during and after a magnitude 7.8 on the southernmost 300 km of the San Andreas fault, a plausible event on the fault most likely to produce a major earthquake. An earthquake like this - large enough to cause strong shaking over much of southern California - is inevitable and understanding its impacts is an important step in preparing for the event.

The ShakeOut Scenario considered a range of effects from the direct physical impacts to the long-term, social, cultural, and economic consequences. The ShakeOut Scenario also identified factors that will determine whether the event would be a disaster or a catastrophe, that is, whether the event would disrupt southern California for a few years, or for decades. This unprecedented project brought together a diverse collaboration of more than 300 scientists, academics, engineers, industry professionals, emergency managers, and public servants.

In November, 2008, the ShakeOut Scenario will be the centerpiece of the Nation’s largest ever emergency response and public preparedness exercises, taking place during The Great Southern California ShakeOut.

If you want to read the entire scenario, you can go here (short version) or here (long version).

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