It is Oct. 1, 2016 again. I am innocently listening to the radio when I hear that local geologists and the California Earthquake authority are saying that the odds of having a major earthquake of 7 Richter Scale points or greater on the San Andreas Fault has suddenly increased. Drastically.
That is, over the next four days, the odds of having the long projected “Big One” on California’s San Andreas Fault goes from being one in 6,000 to only one in one hundred.
So I ask myself, what do I do now for the next four days?
And I think that’s what I will do – worry. Because I have received no instructions to do anything else but worry.
Yes, and this is not the first time that the San Andreas Fault was announced as taking on such much greater risk. It is because of the rhythm of the sifting tremors in the lower parts of the fault that makes it – every month or so from two to about four days – more unstable until it naturally settles into the new arrangement of the new underground movement.
As I understand it, the San Andreas fault is moving a little bit every month, pulling the western part of California away from the eastern part. And so in a million years or so Los Angeles will crash into the coast of China, just as similar fault activity moved India from the Antarctic and crashed it into the western side of China. This is why I think we all better start learning to speak Chinese
But with all that, what is the use of warning us about the increased odds of a major earthquake if we do not have any modeling for how to react to the news?
In fact, I may have been the only one in my school the over the four days of Oct1-4 to share with my students the news of the increased risk of an earthquake. In I believe every classroom of the school, there is a small weight that dangles from a string attached to the ceiling that would pick up the motion of even a subtle tremor. So I did warn the students that upon that dangling weight circling, they were to follow the rules of their earthquake drills and immediately duck under their tables.
It is the least I could do with the earthquake warning, aside from worry.
But later in the day, when I came from school, I shared with my wife another idea about what we can do to protect ourselves against the Big One. I could go to the Internet and order bicycle helmets for the two of us in case our roof crashes in on us.
My wife was not too keen on the on the idea.
“So you would wear your bicycle helmet even teaching at school?”
I did not see why not. What harm would that do, during days of heightened earthquake possibility?
“But everyone would think you are strange.”
“Everyone thinks I am strange anyway,” I assured my wife.
Still, but I am not an extremist. I am not going around saying that we should all wear football helmets on days when geologists says earthquakes are more likely. But the way they build super protective football helmets today, and with all the new effects projected by the Big One, that might actually be more helpful.
Chris Sharp- Commentary
Chris Sharp is an Educator and a prize-winning professional writer. He has recently published a new book titled How to Like a Human Being . His commentaries represent his own opinions and not necessarily the views of any organization he may be affiliated with or those of The SCV Beacon