Live in Los Angeles? Here’s What a Powerful Earthquake Would Feel Like in Your Area
As a Californian and an Angeleno, the threat of an earthquake is always on our minds.
We know that some of the most active faults in the country run straight through California and have the ability of producing earthquakes into the 7 to 9 magnitude range.
Though scientists can’t predict when or where the next earthquake will strike, the United States Geological Survey has produced hundreds of different scenarios to see the effects of a large quake, using 14 of the most significant faults in California to identify what the seismic risk would look like across the state.
The USGS found that one of the worst-case scenarios would be if a 7.0 earthquake struck along the Puente Hills thrust near Dodger Stadium. This would create intense and violent shaking that could push buildings in the area right off of their foundations.
It’s estimated that the damage could cost in the $78 billion range and leave some 334 schools and 113 hazardous material sites at risk or in ruin.
If this scenario happened, intense shaking could be felt in areas like Glendale, West Hollywood, Los Angeles, Alhambra, Burbank, Arcadia, El Monte, Monterey Park, Montebello, Downey and Pico Rivera.
Other worst-case scenarios found by the USGS included an earthquake in the 7-magnitude range on the Newport-Inglewood fault which would create severe shaking in downtown Long Beach.
When it came to replicating these scenarios, the USGS evaluated what the likelihood would be of a sizeable earthquake happening along some of these active fault systems, and estimated the shaking intensities for the regions affected. Larger populations and urban environments were taken into higher considerations.
Researchers also estimated the damages, destruction and fatalities that could occur from these various earthquake situations — see some of their findings below:
- If a 7.8 magnitude earthquake occurred along the San Andreas fault, we could see 1,800 people dead, 50,000 people injured, $200 billion in damage, and upwards of 250,000 people displaced from their homes.
- If a 7.0 magnitude earthquake occurred along the Hayward fault, we could see 800 people dead, 18,000 people injured, 400 fires, and 400,000+ people displaced from their homes.
- And if a 7.3 magnitude earthquake occurred along the Palos Verdes fault system, we could see 2,000 buildings destroyed, and foundations liquefied below one of the nation’s largest port structures.
As a California resident, it’s important to take all the proactive measures possible when it comes to earthquake preparation and safety.
Most older homes in Southern California are lacking the modern reinforcements necessary to protect the property from damage and/or destruction if a large quake were to occur.
Earthquake retrofitting is essential for protecting your property from severe earthquake damage, as the updated reinforcements will help keep your home secured to its foundation in the midst of the intense shaking that occurs during a large earthquake.
In addition to getting your home foundation or soft story structure seismically retrofitted, you should prepare an earthquake emergency kit with enough food, water, first aid and medications to last each member and pet in your household for at least three days.
Julian De La Torre is an expert in Los Angeles foundation inspection, foundation contractors, earthquake retrofitting, and foundation repair. Julian’s company, Julian Construction, has inspected over 30,000 structures, working with engineering firms and local departments of building & safety. The company has done more foundation repair and earthquake retrofitting in Los Angeles than any other company in the area over the last five years.