UPDATE: 07-29-08 BIGGEST EARTHQUAKE IN NEARLY 15 YEARS
"It was the Los Angeles area's biggest earthquake in nearly 15 years, but for many the tremor felt like business as usual. A 5.4-magnitude temblor at lunchtime on Tuesday sent office workers streaming from their downtown Los Angeles high-rises and led many to reach for their phones to check on friends and relatives."
Original Blog Entry ...
The first 60-seconds...
from the 2008 ShakeOut Scenario.
On August 23, 2007, I wrote a blog entry that questioned whether or not certain high-rise buildings in Los Angeles were safe ...
Days after that was written, on August 31, 2007, I wrote another blog entry...
I have a personal interest in the subject...
First, I vividly remember the Northridge Quake in excruciating detail. Having to seek the assistance of a neighbor to extricate a family member from a jumble of furniture, trying to get gas and water at a local gas station with no power, fleeing the area for a clear, safer area in case of strong after-shocks and dreading the fact that this 6.7 magnitude, 15-second shaker could be a precursor to the dreaded "BIG ONE" that everyone talks about. We never returned to that residence (it was red-tagged as unsafe) except to retrieve our belongings.
Second, one of my good friends, a certified welder and pyrotechnics special effects expert, kept telling me about these buildings in Los Angeles which were put together with a particular welding product and were unsafe. I remember standing with my friend on the floor of a West Los Angeles high-rise and looking at a crack between the wall and the floor -- looking three stories straight down where the building's supports had separated from the frame.
So I was determined to follow-up the subject when I started writing my personal blog.
The U.S. Department of the Interior - U.S. Geological Survey, in conjunction with the California Department of Conservation - California Geological Survey, released a report titled "The ShakeOut Scenario."
This is not some haphazard guess at what may happen by politically-motivated hacks, it is solid research and the extrapolation by knowledgeable scientists and others; based on the work of some of today's smartest earthquake specialists, engineers and disaster coordinators.
The joint authors of The Earthquake Scenario are: Lucile M. Jones, Richard Bernknopf, Dale Cox, James Goltz, Kenneth Hudnut, Dennis Mileti, Suzanne Perry, Daniel Ponti, Keith Porter, Michael Reichle, Hope Seligson, Kimberley Shoaf, Jerry Treiman, and Anne Wein.
For those Californians who do not recognize the name Lucile M. Jones, she is better known as Lucy Jones who, with her compatriot Kate Hutton are the most prominent fixtures on any serious report on earthquakes in California.
One of my worst fears...
On page 7 (out of 312) in a section subtitled "Buildings," I found this section:
"Steel moment frame buildings built before 1994 were found to form cracks in their connections during the 1994 Northridge earthquake. Similar damage occurred in the 1995 Kobe earthquake and some buildings collapsed."
"Special study was conducted to analyze the behavior of steel frame high-rise buildings in the ground motions modeled for this earthquake. This event shows amplified long period motions caused by resonance in the sedimentary basins, particularly the very deep Los Angeles Basin."
"A special panel of structural engineers evaluated the analytical study and concluded 'Given these ground motions, the collapse of some pre-1994 welded-steel moment-frame buildings is a credible scenario.'”
Because this result comes from the long period ground motions, the area where this type of damage is possible is relatively large and includes much of the urbanized areas of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. It is impossible to determine how many and which buildings are the most susceptible without detailed structural analysis which is beyond the scope of this study. For the purposes of the ShakeOut emergency drills, we posit that 5 steel moment-frame high-rise buildings will collapse and that 10 more will be 'red-tagged.'”
And on page 113, is a more specific section on the problem titled: "High-Rise Pre-Northridge Welded-Steel Moment-Frame (PNWSMF) Buildings; Study by Swaminathan Krishhan and Matthew Muto, California Institute of Technology “ShakeOut 2008: Tall Steel Moment-Frame Building Response” and the comments of review panelists: Greg Deierlein, Stanford University, Ronald Hamburger, SGH Inc. and Jim Malley, Degenkolb Engineers.
For those wishing to read the report, it can be found at by clicking on the Reference Links section at the end of the blog entry.
Danger is constant...
If you live in California or anywhere else on the Pacific rim, also known as the "Ring of Fire," you are in constant danger from the effects of an earthquake.
What can YOU do?
Learn about earthquakes and their destructive power.
Prepare yourself and your family to deal with the aftermath of an earthquake such as the one described in The ShakeOut Scenario 2008 where you can rely on little or no public services.
Side note: This is another recommendation that you defend your Second Amendment Rights as the police, as in Louisiana during Hurricane Katrina, were not able to protect individual citizens from looting and other egregious acts. Being able to protect yourself, your loved ones and your neighbors in times of civil unrest, at least for a period of 7-days is of tantamount importance.
If you work in a high-rise, you may wish to question your building's management to determine the type of building and if any earthquake retrofitting was preformed. Ask when the building was last inspected and by whom.
And, of course, question your elected officials who control the information flow at the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety to see if all of the steel moment frame buildings (especially those downtown and on the Wilshire Corridor) have been inspected and necessary repairs made.
It was rumored that certain politicians may have exempted certain building areas from being thoroughly inspected due to political considerations as the mitigation expense could have proven to be overwhelming for some of the politically-connected developers and building owners. With my limited resources, I was unable to verify if there was any truth to the rumor... and those who know are not speaking.
Quote of the day: "
Genius may have its limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped." -- Elbert Hubbard
A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…
The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius
The ShakeOut Scenario (2008) 312-page report in PDF format (Released: 2008-05-22)
The HTML versions can be viewed at The ShakeOut Earthquake Scenario - A Story That Southern Californians Are Writing (Released: 2008-05-22)
“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!
“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw
“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”
“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius “A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell “Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar “Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS
“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS
"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius
“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell
“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar
“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS