Earthquakes shake Los Angeles

Updated: Oct 2, 2021

While no damage, the shocks present a pattern for Angelenos.

By Matthew Royer, Political News Editor

Two earthquakes could be felt from Valley College's campus. (Graphic Illustration by Matthew Royer/The Valley Star)

The greater-Los Angeles area has been the focus of the seismic world for the past few weeks.

Two earthquakes shook residents across the community, including students and faculty at Valley College. On Sep. 13, Thousand Oaks was hit with a 3.6 earthquake, while on Sep. 17, Carson was hit with a similar jolt of 4.3. No damage was found in city limits after a routine systematic survey by the Los Angeles Fire Department.

“We live in a very seismically active area,” said Associate Professor of Geography Claudia Hasenhüttl. “...In fact, studies have shown that we experience an earthquake roughly every three minutes in Southern California, though most of these quakes are so weak they are imperceptible to us.”

The two quakes were an early showing in how the state now alerts citizens of seismic events. MyShake, an app developed by the Berkeley Seismology Lab at UC Berkeley, “builds a worldwide earthquake early warning network so that communities can reduce the impact of earthquakes,” according to their website.

The app works by collecting data from cell phones that have downloaded the app. This lets MyShake use devices like sensors to create a network to better predict earthquakes. In being able to predict what matches the model of the earthquake, the service alerts Californians when an earthquake is about to occur near their location.

The State of California started using MyShake in their earthquake preparedness center in Sep. 2020.

“Nothing can replace families having a plan for earthquakes and other emergencies,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom in Oct. 2019 announcing the development of the app in a press release. “... We know the Big One might be around the corner."

California offers a seven-step program for earthquake safety: First, secure your space. Next, plan to be safe, the state insists on creating a disaster plan. After that, organizing disaster supplies, water, radio and first-aid kits is suggested. Step four asks to minimize financial hardship, gather important documents and consider insurance. The fifth step gives the common drop, cover and hold-on instructions when an earthquake hits. Lastly, California authorities suggest improving safety in different surroundings and restoring back to normal.

“Anyone living in a seismically active region should talk about an emergency plan and have a supply kit ready for the entire family,” said Hasenhüttl. “...And remember, when it comes to earthquakes in SoCal, it is not a question of if, but when, so be ready!”

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