Earth Quake at San Francisco’s Academy of Sciences

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...
Earthquake exhibit at the California Academy of Science in San Francisco

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.’

Earthquake exhibit at the California Academy of Science in San Francisco
Earthquake exhibit at the California Academy of Science in San Francisco
Earthquake exhibit at the California Academy of Science in San Francisco
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.

Emergency supplies, Earthquake exhibit in SF

Emergency Supplies

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. :

Earthquake exhibit at the California Academy of Science in San FranciscoWhat to do during an Earthquake

— 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.

*  *  *

Some links that may be of interest to you:

Another place to experience a simulated earthquake – Universal Studios,CA.
Want to stand on the Hayward Fault for a moment? Visit Oakland Zoo
California Academy of Sciences Off. site
You may also like --
CaliforniaTips and Tricks
38 Comments on this post.
  • Rupertt Wind
    23 April 2013 at 9:58 am

    I remember reading about the famous earthquakes of San Francisco that reduced everything to rumble and let the city in flames. Preparedness is always a watch word every where I wonder why?

    BTW D, awesome writing just like always 🙂 Missed you. (Sometimes little, sometimes a lot)

    • dNambiar
      24 April 2013 at 6:37 am

      Yeah, SF has borne the brunt of two bad quakes and yes the fires have played really ugly roles here. To me the fires that follow a quake seem much scarier than the quake itself.

      There are so many Faults in the Bay Area and some of them are major ones. As such everybody should be ready for quake just about anytime.

      Thanks Mr. Wind. So sorry I've been a bit caught up. Shall come by your posts soon. I hope you had a good Vishu. Belated wishes, Rup. 🙂

  • Anu
    23 April 2013 at 5:36 pm

    Informative post Divya. I never knew that California is a seismologic area. I'm sure precautions and being prepared will make things better during such calamities!

    • dNambiar
      24 April 2013 at 6:44 am

      Thanks, Anu. It is a seismologically active area and there are three big faults and several smaller ones around here. There's one called the San Andreas Fault and it runs through the whole length (well, almost) of CA. That one is deadly.

      Yeah, being ready for the imminent big one will do a lot of good to people.

  • Akshay Kumar G
    23 April 2013 at 10:01 pm

    A very informative post once again, Divya. I recently learnt about what Faults were, now an addition to that info. Very useful tips, especially for people living in the seismologically active areas. Take care. 🙂

    • dNambiar
      24 April 2013 at 6:49 am

      This's the post I said was coming. 🙂

      I've been writing about a lot of places in the Bay Area; it only seemed right to tell people about this danger and how to be prepared for one. And yeah, it should be useful for just about anybody, especially people living in or regularly visiting places near active Faults.

      Thanks Akshay. I hope you've been doing good. 🙂

  • Kusum Sanu
    24 April 2013 at 6:05 am

    Once my coffee mug rolled over the keyboard in my cube on third floor. It was nothing less than a ride in Universal studios for a moment! Earthquakes are pretty scary!

    • dNambiar
      24 April 2013 at 6:59 am

      Sheeks! I'm sure that was terrifying. I was literally and metaphorically shaken up when I experienced a tremor for the first time. Then it happened a few times and I kinda got used to being startled.
      Now it's worrying when we don't feel them. Hmm!

      In one of those rides at Universal there is a simulated 8.something and that experience is something else. Been on that one — where there's this big rig that comes hurtling down and there's an electrical fire and all that?

  • Desi Traveler
    24 April 2013 at 6:22 am

    Hi Divya.. A Very useful post indeed. I remember when I first visited Bay area as part of office tour, I was also told about the quakes and where the emergency exists are in case of a quake and fire.
    This exhibition looks very informative and useful for people in Bay area.

    • dNambiar
      24 April 2013 at 7:07 am

      Thank you Prasad. So nice to know that you were warned about it and informed about what has to be done in case of one. In a place like this, it is very important.

      The exhibit is a really good one. It is extremely useful as far as the preparedness section goes. But then again, it is something that we are reminded of every now and then. We just have to take it more seriously, I guess.
      This exhibit is a great one. The planetarium type show that talks of the quakes is very educational. It was also fascinating to learn about the single supercontinent that existed long back and how it all might have come to being what it is today.

      The Shake House is quite an experience too. It's amazing how they've done it all up.

  • Rahul Bhatia
    24 April 2013 at 7:50 am

    An enlightening post Divya besides packed with so much information!It is amazing how you are able to present such details combined with a visit to a place of importance:)

    • dNambiar
      24 April 2013 at 8:58 pm

      Thank you. 🙂
      I hope the to-dos will be useful to somebody out there.

  • Maliny
    24 April 2013 at 1:49 pm

    Perfect compilation divya. I am sure that the residents and the visitors looking forward to the place would benefit a lot from the write up. Loved your writing too! 🙂

    • dNambiar
      24 April 2013 at 9:06 pm

      Thank you, Maliny.
      I keep hearing all this (the preparedness part), all the time. That, only because I live in SF Bay area. I thought more people ought to know about the dangers and what to do in case of a quake.

      This place has a lot of business travellers (a whole lot of Indians included) because it is the Silicon Valley but not everyone knows that they are walking to earthquake area. This, just so they can be a wee little prepared at least.

      And I also think that Earthquake is a good exhibit at the Academy. 🙂
      Thank you once again, Maliny.

  • magiceye
    25 April 2013 at 1:52 am

    That was very interesting and informative.

    • dNambiar
      25 April 2013 at 8:44 pm

      Thank you magic eye. I hope it will be useful too.
      The exhibit was a very interesting one.

  • rupam sarma
    25 April 2013 at 3:14 am

    Nice to read your post , Thanks a lo for sharing 🙂

    • dNambiar
      25 April 2013 at 8:45 pm

      You're welcome, Rupam.
      Thank you for the visit. 🙂

  • Swapna
    25 April 2013 at 6:35 am

    There have been so many minor earthquakes hitting here and I wish we had something like this in India too. Always be prepared is a great idea!!

    • dNambiar
      25 April 2013 at 8:47 pm

      I've been hearing of that. Be prepared Swapna. And stay safe. 🙂

  • Debopam
    25 April 2013 at 10:28 am
    • dNambiar
      25 April 2013 at 8:48 pm

      Thank you Debopam.

  • shooting star
    25 April 2013 at 12:04 pm
    • dNambiar
      25 April 2013 at 8:55 pm

      Yeah I've been hearing about the tremors that Delhi has been feeling. It looks like there's a major fault around there.
      Stay prepared Sush. Take care.

  • umashankar
    25 April 2013 at 5:30 pm

    Geography was one of my favourite subject before I had to quit it but then I am digressing.

    That is an extremely interesting piece on earthquakes, Divya. I am sure you have charted out plans for earthquakes of various intensities, but should one were to strike Mumbai, more than 50% of the residential building will implode, thanks to the avarice of the builders and the corruption rampant in watchdog institutions.

    • dNambiar
      26 April 2013 at 9:12 pm

      Yeah? I love geography too. 🙂

      We have a few things in place. Sometimes we tend to let our guard down but soon there's another reminder. Often I wonder if we could ever be fully prepared.

      When the Japan earthquake and tsunami happened, the tsunami actually travelled west and hit the west coast of US, only the damage and loss of life were not as bad as Japan. Some people living close to the Pacific were evacuated and asked to move to higher ground and all that. That day as I sat and watched TV all day, I heard reporters asking random Californians how prepared they were for a quake and some seemed to be doing pretty well and what they said made me take all this more seriously.

      I know…should one strike Mumbai, it'll be really bad. Let's hope that never happens. Take care, USP.

  • aliasgarmukhtiar mukhtiar
    26 April 2013 at 11:42 am

    nice read

    • dNambiar
      26 April 2013 at 9:12 pm


  • poonam maria prem
    27 April 2013 at 6:09 am

    I am no geography lover Divya, lol, but u are prepared.. calamities can strike anytime, and anyone in any part of the world should be educated, isnt it? that looks like a great exhibit!

    • dNambiar
      5 May 2013 at 1:01 am

      Well, 'sorta prepared' is all I can say. 🙂
      Yeah, sometimes a little knowledge can go a long way.

      I thought it was a great exhibit considering the place has a history of quakes. It's very useful for people who live here.

      Thank you for coming by, Poonam. 🙂

  • Haddock
    30 April 2013 at 3:31 pm

    Good coverage. I heard you can actually see the fault lines.

    • dNambiar
      5 May 2013 at 1:08 am

      Thank You, Haddock.
      Yes that's right. There is no dearth of Faults here. 🙂

  • Sreedev Soman
    8 May 2013 at 10:05 am

    really informative

    Sreedev Soman @ KookyDom

    • dNambiar
      14 May 2013 at 12:30 am

      I'm glad. 🙂

  • Saru Singhal
    9 May 2013 at 6:14 pm

    I am visiting in August, thanks for the information. I will visit the places to get the feel of it.

    • dNambiar
      14 May 2013 at 12:30 am

      Welcome to CA. 🙂

  • Shrinidhi Hande
    29 May 2013 at 2:09 am

    Nice to know. Do they have audio guide?

  • Hayward Fault: My feet went there | Tipsy from the TRIP
    3 February 2017 at 1:09 am

    […] Earthquake at California Academy of Science […]

  • Subscribe by email

    Get new posts by email:

    Site Stats
    • 0
    • 26,041
    • 369
    • 9,616