Friday, June 29, 2012

Are we due for THE BIG ONE in California?

According to the U.S. and the California Geological Surveys, we might be.

In their 2008 report, the Surveys state that there is a 99 (99.7 actually)% chance that there will be at least one earthquake of magnitude 6.7 in the California area over the next 30 years, and a 46% chance that there will be one over 7.5 (which will probably be in Southern California).

But how does one come up with an earthquake prediction?
1) Geodetic (relative movement of tectonic plates) -- GPS satellites can track California plate movements. *Here, you can measure tectonic movements with GPS triangulation yourself, thanks to Penn State.
2) Geological -- Rocks along faults can show distance of slippage.
3) Seismological and Paleoseismological

In 2007 scientists making up the Working Group on California Earthquake Probabilities (WGCEP, just because we always need more acronyms) started the new Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast (UCERF). The forecast utilizes years of data to come up with best guesses as to the likelihood/locations of big quakes in both our near and distant futures.

*Because the UCERF was reviewed multiple times by independent scientific review panels as well as by the California and National Earthquake Prediction Evaluation Councils, the Geological Surveys call it "one of the most extensively reviewed earthquake forecasts ever produced." 

Individual Faults, and Probability of >6.7 quake  (from the '08 report): 

Southern San Andreas  59%
Hayward-Rodgers Creek 31%
San Jacinto 31%
Northern San Andreas 21%
Elsinore 11%
Calaveras 7%
Garlock 6%

* See the "Executive Summary" of the forecast for full details. 

The cause of Apocalyphilia, and The Point of this blog.

Apocalyphilia, and its causes

Which fuels our end-times-daydreams most: fads, fears, boredom, or escapism? Is it because we feel we lack control that we turn our summer blockbusters into (effectively) how-to manuals for surviving zombie attacks?

Or do we just find it more comforting to mentally prepare for non-existant threats (The Undead) then for natural disasters (earthquakes) -- preparation from which we might actually benefit?

The end of the world has probably been around since the beginning of the world. As prominent literary theorist Frank Kermode and others noted, the second coming was predicted for (at least) dates during the years 195, 948, 1000, 1033, 1236, 1260, 1367, 1420, 1588, and again in 1666. Since then, many, many others have scheduled and rescheduled the End Times -- by some accounts (Wikipedia),  at least 130 times (and another handful to look forward to in the future.) 

From  the December 21 2012 Official Website: "The Laytons have a greenhouse and grow vegetation for animal fodder." 
Yet there is no denying/ignoring/(dare we say)/escaping the current Zombie Apocalypse Craze that we (media) find ourselves swept up in. So much hype from movies, etc., that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have to swear that we are in no imminent danger.  

*Note, the CDC does however use the Zombie Theme to try to trick people into disaster preparedness. Do check out their super-amusing (yet also super-educational) "Zombie Pandemic Graphic Novella." (not kidding.) 

We are also making a lot of money from Zombies! A few capitalizing on the fad have come up with things such as zombie adventure races and fitness zombie apps for the smartphone. The latter includes "Zombies, Run!", an app that gets you to speed up your running pace with an ominous "Warning: Zombies detected." 

The Point of this blog

While no intelligent person that I've ever met genuinely fears Zombie-ism or any other prediction of the end of the world even in the slightest, there is certainly something attractive about being prepared for it, if it were to somehow (however unlikely) occur one day. 

Why a blog about the Apocalypse? And what can we, poor defenseless San Diegans, do anyway?

1) It's fun thinking about the end of the world -- either the real ways that it might end, or the fake ones.
2) The skills that you would need during an apocalypse are really satisfying to learn, and extremely empowering to succeed at. In a very basic-survival-human way that can be enjoyed by all genders, races, ages, levels of maturity, etc. 
3) As the CDC suggests, End Times preparations could actually be useful in the event of an actual disaster. (If the world actually ends, why do you need to worry about a survival kit anyway? You're going to die.) 
4) San Diego, it turns out, is a perfect place to ready ones-self for the inevitable (even if it isn't an ideal place for when trouble actually arises).

Stay tuned.