California earthquakes always a hot topic!
How do earthquakes occur in California?
California earthquakes are part of everyday life, but most of them are left unnoticed. An earthquake is a vibration of the earth. There are cracks in the earth's crust that form our continental plates (tectonic plates). These plates are uneven at their edges and "float" on the liquid core of our earth. As the plates touch each other, they "get stuck" again and again and tensions build up, which will eventually be solved. This detachment is measurable and often noticeable as an earthquake.
In this video, you'll see an imitation experiment that easily illustrates how earthquakes occur in California and elsewhere around the world.
Why is California affected by earthquakes?
California is known for its nature, cities and beaches. What many do not know is that the earth's crust is broken from the south to the north of California. This is exactly where two continental plates meet, the Pacific and the North American, which rub against each other. This break is called San Andreas Fault and is one of the most active faults in the world.
Life in the earthquake area
My daughter-in-law still often thinks back to the last big earthquake in southern California in 1994. At that time she was only 8 years old and it happened in the middle of the night at 4:30. She was awakened by the suddenly falling bookshelf that on her bed a lot. Seconds later, her father Craig ran into the room and lifted the shelf from her bed. The earthquake lasted only about 15 seconds, she says, but the damage throughout the San Fernando Valley has been enormous. Even freeway bridges collapsed due to the impact of the quake. Afterwards, the whole family had to leave the house for several hours, as the aftershocks continued for a long time. My daughter-in-law Shaina still places a red bag right next to the front door. She calls them the Emergency Bag and inside are clothes, some cash and medicines.
One sees this earthquake, which became known as Northridge Quake, has left its mark on the population of the Valleys. Especially when you consider that the next big quake in this region is long overdue. It is expected that the next major earthquake in Southern California will be even heavier than the Northridge quake. Measurements in the earth's crust in this area have shown that the stresses are at a maximum level. So the next big quake can happen any moment.
How many earthquakes are there in California every year?
"Yeah," you'll say. "The chance that an earthquake will happen when we are in California is small." But I have to disappoint you. Every year there are more than 10,000 earthquakes in California. The good news, however, is that most of them are not noticeable. So do not let your holiday in California go awful. The chances that the next big earthquake will happen in California when you're there are therefore very small!
A funny fact ....
Per year, the Pacific plate migrates on which Los Angeles is about 3.2 inches to the north. For many (millions of) years, Los Angeles will be a suburb of San Francisco. The city hall in the center of Los Angeles has walked since 1927 already 2.7 meters towards San Francisco!