Warner Pacific College
I like to brag about the fact that a pizza saved my life. In October of 1989, I was living in the Santa Cruz mountains. It was near dinner time, and I had been riding my tricycle up and down a pathway next to my house. I remembered that my mother was baking a pizza in the oven, so I left my tricycle to look at the oven inside. As I was standing in front of the oven in anticipation, I was knocked off my feet by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake. I (a 3 year old at the time) freaked out for a moment and then ran outside to our open lawn. Thankfully nobody in our family was hurt. I was left, though, with a small scar on my upper right arm. As the wreckage was removed, my father found my tricycle. The wall that was next to the pathway had fallen directly on to the tricycle. My dad called it a "red pancake". As I said before, a pizza saved my life.
Earthquakes can be caused by several things. I have personally experienced 2 of these causes. They can be caused by dislocations of the earth's crust, volcanic eruptions, fallen trees (huge ones), and even manmade explosions. Most are caused, though, by movement of the earth's crust. " The crust may first bend and then, when the stress exceeds the strength of the rocks, break and "snap" to a new position. In the process of breaking, vibrations called "seismic waves" are generated. These waves travel outward from the source of the earthquake along the surface and through the Earth at varying speeds depending on the material through which they move. Some of the vibrations are of high enough frequency to be audible, while others are of very low frequency. These vibrations cause the entire planet to quiver or ring like a bell or tuning fork" (Watson & Watson).
There are some basic, critical, steps to take in preparation for earthquakes. The first is to check through your house or business for possible hazards. Heavy or valuable items should remain secured if they are stored in a high location; furniture, such as bookshelves, should be fastened to the wall; kitchen cabinets should be latched or magnetically closed; heavy items in the garage should be secured, if they are left up high, to prevent auto damage. The second is to create a plan of action. Learn the safe places to take cover; create a meeting place, put together a medical and supply kit, know where your electrical and gas shutoffs are. The third step is to survey the structural integrity of the house or office, and make the necessary repairs or supports (Putting Down Roots In Earthquake Country).
Since the earthquake/tsunami incident in Japan, many geologist have predicted either a large earthquake in either the Cascadia Subduction Zone or along the San Andreas fault line. Some of their evidence is compelling, but it is impossible to prepare for these kinds of disasters. The focus, I believe, should be on preparedness and awareness of what earthquakes are and how they should reacted upon.
Putting Down Roots In Earthquake Country. (n.d.). Retrieved June 20, 2011, from Earthquake Country: http://www.earthquakecountry.info/roots/contents.html#contents
Watson, J., & Watson, K. (n.d.). How Earthquakes Happen. Retrieved June 20, 2011, from U.S. Geological Survey: http://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/earthq1/how.html