Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Earthquakes by Maria Buchanan

PHS 100 Instructor: David Terrell Warner Pacific ADP
May 6, 2009 Workshop 4
Natural Hazards can range from Volcanoes; Tornados; Floods; Monsoons;Hurricanes; and the list can go on and on.
The one natural hazard that I have experienced and am not very fond of are Earthquakes. The first time that I felt an earthquake was when I was about eight years old. We lived in Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico and an all of a sudden our beds starting to rock. At first we did not think anything of it, but when my parents came to our room, we knew that something was not right. My dad came to our bedroom stating that we were experiencing an Earthquake.The earthquake in Mexico occurred in 1985 and it was an 8.1, the earthquake was felt in many areas through out Mexico. It was not a pleasant experience, but then again, I was only eight and things tend to fade after a while. However, a small fear stayed with me in regards the fact that earthquakes were not good, for the earthquake in Mexico had killed thousands of people.When my parents decided to bring my brothers and sisters to the United States, we moved to East Los Angeles area. Life was different in LA, but we adjusted and it seemed that things were turning out okay. Then, one morning as my siblings and I are getting ready to go to school, my older sister tells me to go put our dog in the back yard, and as I’m carrying our dog all of a sudden the ground starts to move.At first I thought that I must be imagining things, but when the ground starting shaking, I knew that this was something more than my imagination. Fear overtook me and I was not sure what I needed to do, and the only thing that came to mind was to hold on to anything that was close, so I held on to the wire fence.This I came to find out later that is not the right thing to do, but at the time I felt that there was no other option. Then what seemed like an eternity it all stopped. The question that came to mind, was what in the world did just happen? I ran inside to make sure that my brother and sisters where okay. We did not know what to do, so we all walked to school as it was only a few blocks away from our house.The devastation and emotional turmoil was everywhere. Fear, despair and agony were in the faces of everyone. As we are waiting to find out what has happened, the news hits me like a ton of bricks, an earthquake has jut- hit Whittier, California and it’s measuring at 6.1. This was the largest earthquake to hit California since 1971. Till this day, it is still shocking to know that my family had been thru that ordeal, and I wanted to find out exactly what caused an earthquake.Per a website The Geography Site it states that an earthquake is a sudden tremor or movement of the earth’s crust, which originates naturally at or below the surface. There are two main causes of earthquakes: First, that they can be linked to explosive volcanic explosions which most of the time accompany eruptions. Second, they can be triggered by Tectonic activity associated with plate margins and faults. These types of earthquakes are the majority of earthquakes that happen worldwide.Someone had mentioned to me that the San Andreas Fault runs thru California and that is why there are so many earthquakes in California. In doing some research, I learned that the Earth’s crust is fractured into a series of plates. These plates have been moving slowly for millions of years thru the Earths surface. The San Andreas Fault is two of these moving plates and they meet in western California.The interesting part of all this is that the Pacific plate (which is on the west) moved northwestward in correlation to the North American Plate (which is on the east), when these two plates are moving it causes earthquakes along the fault. I now that there are many other reasons as well as why we get earthquakes all over the world. After being aware to the fact of how earthquakes happen, it gives me a different perspective of what can happen during an earthquake. The devastation is still the same, but how to prepare ourselves when a natural disaster happens is our personal responsibility.Natural disasters are going to happen regardless if we want them to happen or not, this is Mother Nature’s way of “fixing” herself. However, it is important to know that we as human beings cause human made disaster and we can prevent that, but we cannot control what Mother Nature has in plan for us.
ReferenceUSGS (1997). The San Andreas Fault. Retrieved April 28, 2009 from

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