The San Andreas Fault for the past decade has been a constant threat to the Los Angeles population. Schools, TV talk shows, and local news have continuously talked about how to prepare for an earthquake of a large magnitude. However, a recent new threat to L.A. has been on the rise. The Puente Hill Fault has recently been discovered and could be the “big one” earthquake we all have been hearing about for years now instead of the San Andreas Fault. According to scientist and seismologist, the Puente Hill Fault is a blind thrust fault that sits at a 45-degree angle, plates here move at an upward and downward motion.
This type of fault is what creates our mountains here in Southern California and is sitting underneath all of L.A. Not only is this fault dangerous to this location but the L.A. Basin, gravel and loose sentiment, cause large amounts of energy to move quickly and powerfully creating mass destruction to L.A. if an earthquake occurs at the Puente Hill Fault. In the meantime, many of LA’s earthquakes that occur every day are caused by parallel faults also known as Strike-Slip Fault. Some of these faults, San Jacinto, Elsinore, and Imperial are hardly ever felt throughout the day. As we prepare to further secure our safety for the worst outcomes of earthquakes, we can strategize in detail from learning from past dangerous natural hazards.
For example, the 1994 Northridge earthquake gave seismologist an understanding of different damages from earthquakes that effects cities. For instance, damages of the city varied based on soil. Whether the soil was weak a stronger force of energy was released than stronger soil, this causes locations with weak soil more destruction than other areas that had stronger soil. Other factors that affected the city differently were collapse buildings established on different soil, power outage, the time of day, valley fever, and aftershocks. The previous damages throughout the Northridge earthquake have better prepared L.A. to ensure the city could survive a future larger earthquake. For instance, construction firms created devices called Shake Table.
This tool allows construction workers to better understand how a building would react to an earthquake. This has permitted new inventions on how to further secure buildings when a shake occurs. Some of these inventions are called Retro-Fit Project, Base Isolators, and Steel Frame Buildings. Another way L.A. is preparing for a large earthquake is planning set guidelines and strategies for emergency approaches and teaching the public how to protect themselves in the act of a shake. Also, legislators have urged for the safety of its population and it’s done by developing building codes for California.
For instance, the 1993 Long Beach earthquake was caused by the Newport Inglewood Fault Zone. During this shake, many unreinforced masonries (public schools) collapsed causing worried parents to lobby their legislators to create a bill. This earthquake led the way to the Riley Act, a bill where school buildings and future buildings of California had to follow earthquake resistance policy. As the Riley Act led the way for new bills other bills such as Nonductile Reinforced Concrete, and Augusta Priolo Bill provided resources to construction firms of active mapping fault zones. Overall, earthquakes are terrifying natural disasters, but we can all learn how to better prepare ourselves through past natural disasters and create laws to further ensure our safety. In conclusion, seismologists are continuously researching the outcomes of L.A.’s future big earthquake and how to improve our safety for the worst outcomes.