Are You Prepared?
Earthquakes are the language of geological time; they are its alphabet, its punctuation, its sentences and paragraphs, the mythology it adds up to, the very tales it tells. One of the things about California is that earthquakes are almost as common as breathing, like the beat of blood in your heart, lungs and temples.
The Parkfield Interventional EQ Fieldwork is in part a geological theme park, part sci-art experiment; a real time visual representation of a geologically forceful planet. The PIEQF is a seismically interactive machine earthwork physically reflecting the dynamic potential for natural disaster. With recent events in southwestern China the PIEQF could not be more pertinent towards creating a working model generating earthquake awareness and promoting preparedness for the residents of California.
PIEQF - Excavation Model
Magnitude 7.9 Earthquake - EASTERN SICHUAN, CHINA
On Monday, May 12, 2008 at 2.28 p.m. Beijing time (6:28 GMT), a major earthquake, measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale, jolted southwestern China’s Sichuan Province.
According to the latest reports, the death toll has climbed past 20,000, it is feared the loss of life could rise to 50,000. All across devastated Sichuan Province rescuers and soldiers are sifting through collapsed schools, homes and offices in hopes of finding more survivors. As time passes these rescue missions are becoming recovery operations.
Images Courtesy New York Times
For the moment, the main story for the media out of the region is simply describing the unbelievable destruction, with entire towns shattered, and individual stories of loss or salvation.
China’s seismic standards for new buildings are more robust than those in the United States, but there is no requirement for retrofitting older buildings, and simply no money or technical capacity to do so in remote and relatively poor regions like those hard hit this week.
Quoting from Time Magazine’s online edition:
“It was built out of tofu,” says Hu Yuefu, 44, of the school building that collapsed in the magnitude 7.9 quake and killed his 15-year-old daughter Huishan.
Since the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906, no major earthquake has been centered near a densely urbanized part of the San Francisco Bay region. Although the 1989 magnitude 6.9 Loma Prieta quake killed more than 40 people in the region’s urban core, it was centered in mountainous country 50 miles south of San Francisco. In 1995, when a quake of the same magnitude struck Kobe, Japan, a location very similar geographically to that of the Bay area an urban area thought to be well prepared for earthquakes, more than 6,000 people died and the damage amounted to $100 billion. Had the Loma Prieta quake been centered in San Jose, Oakland, or San Francisco, similar losses could have occurred.
In a new comprehensive study of 2008, scientists have determined that the chance of having one or more magnitude 6.7 or larger earthquakes in the California area over the next 30 years is greater than 99%. Such quakes can be deadly and the likelihood of at least one even more powerful quake of magnitude 7.5 or greater in the next 30 years is 46%. Damaging earthquakes are inevitable in California, but taking actions based on the likelihood of future quakes will help save lives and protect property.