California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

    Are we ready for the big one?

    The ground below your feet begins to shake. You may be in class, eating lunch with friends, maybe even sleeping in the middle of the night. What is the first thing you should do to keep yourself safe during an earthquake?

    On March 17 at 6:26 a.m., residents in Los Angeles County were quite literally shaken out of bed due to a magnitude 4.4 earthquake centered in Encino. Since then, several earthquakes and hundreds of aftershocks have shaken up the LA area and abroad, according to the Los Angeles Times.

    Ever since the magnitude 6.7 Northridge earthquake of 1994, Los Angeles developers have made significant efforts to improve seismic durability.

    But, the real question is if we are ready in the event of a larger earthquake.

    The quake over spring break was enough to jog earthquake safety back into residentsโ€™ minds.

    โ€œWe have a few walls at home that have large glass panels covering them and a few of them shattered,โ€ sophomore Ashley Lomelin said.
    โ€œLuckily, my whole family was asleep in our rooms and so we were all safe.โ€

    The magnitude 5.1 earthquake on March 28, which struck at 9:09 p.m., was a different experience for many students since they were back on campus at the time. But, after the magnitude 4.1 aftershock that struck the following day, many residents were wondering if they were somehow related.

    Does the recent increase in seismic activity in an otherwise unusually dormant Los Angeles mean anything?

    โ€œWe havenโ€™t had significant earthquakes for quite some time in this area,โ€ said Robert Lattanzi, who has a doctorate in geology, with an emphasis in paleontology. โ€œWhile weโ€™ve seen a couple in a short period of time, you need a lot more data before one can speculate whether or not weโ€™re heading into another earthquake cycle.โ€

    The magnitude 8.2 earthquake that rattled northern Chile and neighboring countries on the night of April 1 continued the string of recent earthquakes along the infamous โ€œRing of Fire,โ€ a circular bend of seismic zones along the Pacific Rim.

    โ€œWhen they talk about the big one, weโ€™re talking about something that has a magnitude of seven to eight which is really, really significant. Lots of property damage is likely,โ€ย  Lattanzi said.

    In the earthquake-prone city of Los Angeles, building infrastructure is very important.

    The catastrophic 1994 Northridege earthquake was a wake up call for developers. Scenes of collapsed freeway off-ramps, toppled buildings, fires and property damage was estimated at $20 billion.

    โ€œNew buildings are now being designed with earthquakes in mind. After the damage the Northridge earthquake caused to my home, I made it my mission to renovate it to be as safe as possible,โ€ local homeowner Rasheed Hassan said. โ€œWe also have an earthquake safety kit that we keep in our kitchen, definitely something people should look into.โ€

    Even though many homeowners are safety conscious about earthquakes, many think that there should be a lot more done to make the public more aware of seismic dangers.

    โ€œNo. We are not prepared. People have forgotten the severity of earthquakes,โ€ Lattanzi said. โ€œThere is a site people should visit,, and it gives you a lot of great tips on how to be properly prepared.โ€

    With all of this information available at our disposal, itโ€™s our responsibility to plan ahead.

    There is a lot of bad information out there and itโ€™s hard to sift through it all, but itโ€™s imperative that you do. Make sure you start putting together your safety packs right away and be always be prepared.


    Sahal Farah
    Staff Writer
    Published April 9, 2014