The Northridge earthquake that hit 25 years ago offered alarming evidence of how vulnerable many types of buildings are to collapse from major shaking.

It toppled hundreds of apartments, smashed brittle concrete structures and tore apart brick buildings.

Since then, some California cities have taken significant steps to make those buildings safer by requiring costly retrofitting aimed at protecting those inside and preserving the housing supply.

But many others have ignored the seismic threat. And that has created an uneven landscape that in the coming years will leave some cities significantly better prepared to withstand a big quake than others.

Read full article here
Source:  Achorage Daily News

2017 Mexico City Earthquake

Seismic safety experts long have warned that brittle concrete frame buildings pose a particularly deadly risk during a major earthquake.

But a horrifying video taken during this week’s magnitude 7.1 Mexico quake may do more to highlight the risk than years of reports and studies.

In it, sirens blare, utility poles sway. Then in the background, a building wobbles. Concrete starts falling out of a ground-floor column. Then the columns flex, and the upper floors come crashing down, sinking into a cloud of dust.

“¡Dios mío! ¡Dios mío!” a woman is heard saying. “My God! My God!”

The crumbled Enrique Rebsamen school in Mexico City — a three-story structure where at least 25 died, including 21 students — was made of concrete, as were many other structures that fell to the ground.

Read the full story here
Source: LA Times

After a massive earthquake struck central Mexico, horrifying images of collapsed buildings emerged and had many Los Angeles residents wondering if that could happen here. One expert said yes.

“This is a vivid reminder – these videos we’re seeing – that this could happen here,” said Dr. Ken Hudnut, with the U.S. Geological Survey.

A recent study said 15,000 structures in the city have been identified as vulnerable for collapse during an earthquake. The bulk of the buildings are called “soft story structures.”


To read the entire article, click here
Source:  KABC 7 (

Santa Monica Seismic Retrofit Video

On August 25th, 2017, the City of Santa Monica published a short informational video on their YouTube channel describing the city’s new Seismic Retrofit Program and the steps needed for business owners and tenants to comply.  Watch the video below:

The U.S. Geological Survey is moving its earthquake early warning system into production with a $4.9 million in awards to research partners and $1 million in new sensor equipment.

The system, called ShakeAlert, uses ground-based sensors to identify and characterize an earthquake within seconds after it begins, and deliver warnings to people and infrastructure in harm’s way. It detects an earthquake’s initial P-wave energy, which rarely causes damage, to estimate the location and the magnitude of the earthquake. It then sends a warning to local populations before the arrival of the S-wave — the strong shakes that cause most of the damage.

Click here to read the full article

New LA Earthquake Maps

The 1971 San Fernando (Sylmar) earthquake killed 64 people, buckled roadways and leveled scores of buildings. Soon after, California passed a law that requires updated mapping of major earthquake fault zones.

But due to a lack of funding, the effort ground to a halt not long after it began and resumed only about four years ago.

The California Geological Survey’s newly released mapping of the Santa Monica Fault could, if approved after a 90-day public comment period, prohibit new construction on top of active sections of the fault and require extensive geological review for proposed development within 500 feet.

“The Santa Monica and Hollywood faults historically have been fairly quiet since the area’s been settled, as far as we know,” says California Geological Survey senior engineer Timothy Dawson. “The major concern is that these faults cover some of the most densely populated areas in the L.A. basin.”

Read the full article here
Source: KQED News


Mayor Garcetti Addresses Seismic Fault Data

Drive about 100 miles east-northeast of San Diego and you’ll come to the Salton Sea, a quasi-oasis whose surface is so glassy it reflects the sky in exquisite detail.

Don’t be fooled by the serenity. You’re looking at a potential killer.

Beneath the seafloor lie strands of the southern San Andreas fault, a 340-mile system that could rupture all the way to Monterey County.

The result would be the “Big One,” an earthquake that experts said would collapse buildings, destroy freeways, warp rail lines and crack dams. Thousands of people could die.

Read the full article here
Source:  San Diego Union Tribune


West Hollywood Seismic Retrofit

Faced with dozens of letters in opposition and a crowd carrying signs saying “voluntary,” the West Hollywood City Council last night quickly yielded to owners of condominiums who demanded it not require them to protect their buildings against earthquakes.

The letters, many of them from owners of units in the celebrity-famous Sierra Towers on Doheny, cited the high cost to them of preparing their building for safety before the next, and inevitable, earthquake.

The residents argued that their buildings had suffered little or no damage during the 1994 Northridge earthquake and that the decision to protect themselves from further danger should be “voluntary,” thus the slogan on their signs.

Read the full article here
Source:  Wehoville

Earthquake Early Warning System Funding Possibly Pulled by Trump

Experts can’t predict earthquakes, but they can warn you that they’re coming. For a dozen years, West Coast scientists working with the United States Geological Survey have been developing an earthquake early warning system — called ShakeAlert — that could provide anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes of warning not only about the shaking that’s imminent but also about its intensity.

That’s enough time to stop a train in its tracks, let an elevator open at the nearest floor or warn your dentist to pull the drill out of your mouth. But just as a pilot program for the system is ramping up, President Trump’s budget would eliminate $10 million in federal funding for it and end the U.S. Geological Survey’s involvement in it. That would be a colossal mistake. Pulling federal money and federal scientific support would not just slow the ShakeAlert project, it would likely kill it altogether.

Read the full article here
Source: LA Times

California Mega Quakes and San Andreas Fault

As Interstate 10 snakes through the mountains and toward the golf courses, housing tracts and resorts of the Coachella Valley, it crosses the dusty slopes of the San Gorgonio Pass.

The pass is best known for the spinning wind turbines that line it. But for geologists, the narrow desert canyon is something of a canary in the coal mine for what they expect will be a major earthquake coming from the San Andreas fault.

The pass sits at a key geological point, separating the low desert from the Inland Empire, and, beyond that, the Los Angeles Basin.

Through it runs an essential aqueduct that feeds Southern California water from the Colorado River as well as vital transportation links. It’s also the path for crucial power transmission lines.

California earthquake experts believe what happens at the San Gorgonio Pass during a major rupture of the San Andreas fault could have wide-ranging implications for the region and beyond.

Read the full article here
Source:  LA Times