Earthquakes and California have a long and remarkable history together. California is North America’s Earthquake capital and San Francisco, California’s. Here in the San Francisco Bay area, we have more reasons to worry if we don’t get our regular doses of tremors for the year.
The Bay Area is rich in faults and so we talk earthquakes a lot. After all, this is the area that became victim to two notable earthquakes in the last century and they say there’s another big quake looming large. Experts tell us the next ‘big one’ as they refer to it, will have hit before the end of the next 30 years. Now that these parts are not unfamiliar with quakes and have learnt many lessons from quakes big and small, preparedness is almost a watchword. Every now and then, we are reminded that we live in a seismologically vulnerable part of the earth and that we must be ready for the next big quake; at least as ready as we can be.
The reminders come as drills, demonstrations on TV, booklets left around some places and anniversaries of the 1906 earthquake and the Loma Prieta of 1989. Added to this list a few months back, is an eye-opening new exhibit at The California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. It is simply called ‘Earth Quake.’
|A wall of pictures from the Earthquake exhibit|
If you live in the earthquake capital or visit often, you might want to visit this exhibit and get a feel of a fairly-big earthquake and even equip yourself with ample information as far as dealing with the disaster is concerned. Knowing what to do in the wake of a quake will be useful, regardless of where you live; you never know when and where a quake will strike.
When we visited Academy of Sciences, we made it a point to take advantage of the Earth Quake exhibit. Here’s a quick run through:
Earth Quake – the exhibit has been placed in the west hall of the Academy. The entrance is through a huge crack on a model of the earth. The crack didn’t seem like a big deal to me but the Earth Quake area was very enlightening on the whole. There were models of the earth with the tectonic plates marked on it, there were photographs from the big quakes of the area and there were displays explaining the theory of the supercontinent that existed some 200 million years ago; how it might have split and how animal-life might have gotten distributed in the process.
Some other things that stood out were the the planetarium-type pre-show and the Shake House. The Shake House has been built inside a structure that is modelled like one of SF’s famous Painted Ladies. Inside the Victorian house was a room that simulated two earthquakes: one of a magnitude of 6.9 (that of the Loma Prieta) followed by a 7.9 of the 1906 quake.
Another important feature here at the Earth Quake was the preparedness section that told us how to be as ready as possible.
I repeat — if you have any association with the SF Bay area, it won’t hurt to know what to do the next time the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate slide against each other or even overlap. But then again, these things happen in a lot of other parts of planet earth. A little knowledge might go a long way so here’s sharing what I learnt and what I am reminded of from time to time. :
— If you feel a quake and if the outdoors is a long way off or a few storeys away, sit yourself under a sturdy table till the tremors are gone.
— If you are visiting SF Bay area or you live in a seismologically active area, make sure you have an earthquake emergency kit.
— Have a plan for your family: Where to meet if you have to leave home/work; who will pick up kids from school and all of that. It would be great to have some crank radios as cell phone communication will most probably be disrupted or jammed.
— Make sure you have some frozen food in your refrigerator, even if you are against processed food. The idea is to have some food (for at least 48 hours) that needs no cooking. In the event of a quake you may not have power and water for a couple of days.
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