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Californians totally unprepared for massive earthquake predicted to cause uncontrollable fires, explosions and water shortages

California earthquake

(NaturalNews) Doom-and-gloom headlines these days are a dime a dozen, to be sure, and with so much radicalism and strife going on in our country today, it is easy to ignore them. It's also easy, in our hectic lives, to be distracted by the rigors of balancing our work, home and social lives.

But if you can spare a few moments right now to learn about one of the biggest threats to our most populous state, you might just thank yourself later.

California's oft-divisive entertainment and political culture aside, the state just happens to be the largest producer of food, technology, energy and services, as well as being the most populous. It is also a state most at risk of a devastating earthquake that could cripple it – and the nation – for years, if an event of the right size strikes in just the right (or wrong!) location.

That is something that geologists say is increasingly likely, thanks to the never-ending instability of the San Andreas fault which, if it undergoes a major tectonic shift, will create destruction and chaos on a scale heretofore unseen in our country.

As reported by the UK's Daily Mail, a recently-released assessment says that it is not a question of if a big one is coming; there is no question about it. And when it does, the report notes, the state won't be prepared. What's more, local officials and major companies need to face that reality to "prevent the inevitable disaster from becoming a catastrophe."

The 'Big One' is coming

The report, which was written by a group of policy and business leaders, identifies a number of key concerns that must be addressed before the next quake of a magnitude of 8 or larger happens. Most notably, that includes updating aging infrastructure, water supplies and large-scale fire hazards.

The report says that one of the biggest vulnerabilities facing state officials and business leaders is the Cajon Pass, which is a narrow mountain passage where the massive San Andreas fault intersects with key infrastructure lifelines like freeways, railway hubs, electric lines and gasoline pipelines. A major quake along the San Andreas, one of the state's most dangerous, would cut most of those lifelines, nearly all of which stretch beyond state lines. Cutting them would prevent crucial rescue assistance from reaching nearly 20 million people, stall recovery efforts and add to the chaos, experts have warned.

The "Big One" is how state and business leaders commonly refer to an 8-plus quake that is expected at some time along the San Andreas. Such an event will likely produce devastation and calamity to the social order within 50–100 miles of the quake zone. Urban areas like Palm Springs, Los Angeles and San Francisco would be particularly hard-hit.

In addition to electricity and water infrastructure, a quake that large would no doubt sever gas and oil pipelines as well, triggering massive explosions and wiping out surrounding areas with fires that would burn out of control for no one knows how long.

"Anything that comes into southern California has to cross the San Andreas Fault to get to us -- gas, electricity, water, freeways, railways," said seismologist Lucy Jones, who acted as advisor for the Southern California Disaster Risk Reduction Initiative committee, the group that issued the report.

"Most of the water that we get has to cross the fault to reach us, but when the earthquake happens, all of the aqueducts will be broken at the same time," Jones, known as California's "earthquake lady," told Agence France Presse.

Necessities like food, water and shelter WON'T be available ... Are YOU ready for that?

And, remember, California is trying to recover from a punishing drought that continues to linger in parts of the desert-filled state.

Jones noted that one way around the potential loss of water is to locate and exploit alternative water sources, including those from contaminated aquifers beneath L.A. that could be cleaned up, though the cost would be great.

"The best defense against a broken aqueduct is to not need an aqueduct," she said.

Some have also recommended the installation of automatic shutoff valves on petroleum and natural gas pipelines that run near the fault.

She and others involved in drafting the report also recommend that building codes not only be reviewed so they won't kill people, but also so they can remain useful after an event. Los Angeles already requires buildings that could collapse in a major quake be retrofitted to withstand them.

Either way, Californians and Americans anywhere who are vulnerable to a collapse of existing infrastructure should prepare now for the fact that necessities like food and other provisions are not going to be readily available after a major event.





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