Krakatoa erupted December 23, 2018, causing a Tsunami resulting in 200 human casualties and over 800 injured. The image of the 10-foot wave crashing on stage during a beach performance has left an indelible mark on many of our minds. There was no warning, the sea did not retract, and there was no indication due to an underwater avalanche that a surge was on its way. Instruments exist in the ocean but unfortunately were inoperable due to fishermen stealing parts from them. It is debatable how much they would have helped.
There are also instruments set on the coastal waters off the shore of the West Coast States, one of the largest Tsunamis occurred 20 miles off the coast during the 1700s. First Nation People’s stories passed on through the generations were the only historical record until written evidence was uncovered in Japan. A devastating Tsunami struck that Island nation forensic geological investigation of the Pacific Northwest connected the dots between that event and the giant wave in Japan.
There are seismic instruments throughout the West Coast, one of the most studied areas is Parkfield in Northern California. Geologist are becoming better at prediction, soon warnings may be issued. Some critics claim accurate predictions will never be possible, there is disagreement but it may not matter either way. One variable is us, human beings.
California recently experienced a large Earthquake, there was no warning of the largest shaker to occur since the Loma Prieta in the 1980s. I live 350 miles north, 40 miles east of San Francisco it shook the house as if it were a scarecrow on a stick in the garden. The shaker was so intense lasting for 40 seconds my wife and I nearly abandoned our house. We thought it was much closer, she called her daughter in the City to ask if it had occurred there. It was a huge Earthquake registering 7.1 on the Richter scale. To understand what that means; a 7 is twice as strong as a 6, an 8 is twice the strength of a 7, and on it goes. If a 10 is ever to be experienced it will be felt worldwide. Total destruction will be realized at the epi-center extending for a predicted 100-mile radius, Dams will fail, our entire infrastructure will be destroyed. The question remains if such an event is predictable, that is a tough question to answer, but again it may not matter because of us. There are “pre-shocks” as with the Ridgecrest event, this one was 5 on the Richter scale, the problem is discovering if it is the main event or an introduction to a larger one. In this case, the major quake was 4 times the strength of the precursor. I have the ability to predict them, as you do.
The New Madrid Fault will cause another major Earthquake in Missouri, that is a prediction with a 90% probability, however, there is one problem with my prediction. We know it will take place but we don’t know when which is the one most important element in predicting any natural event. I also predict we will have wildfires, when? The only answer is most likely this year, the exact date and time escape us until a few days ahead of it occurring, we have no luxury with Earthquakes. Let’s not forget the Tsunamis a direct result of underwater Earthquakes.
People on the West Coast know the potential for Earthquakes or Tsunamis are an everyday concern. We are reminded of the impending “big one” on a regular basis, yeh we know it’s on its way. We do really care to a certain extent. A major Tsunami will take place off of the Coast of Washington State, according to Geologists it is overdue. That event will be caused when an earthquake takes place affecting that region 20 miles from the shore. There are deep underwater canyons and mountains with steep shoulders which will collapse causing the displacement of water resulting in a huge wave heading East and West towards Japan.
The 33% rule comes into this equation, 33% of the residents are prepared for it, storing extra supplies, they have an evacuation kit set up. This set of people are very aware of the threat.
The second 33% realize the threat but do not make the effort needed to prepare for the event. Several reasons may point to the reasons why. First is a lack of funds to prepare, it’s very understandable. There is also a lack of time, after working all day and preparing to go to a second job certainly takes its toll on a person. Last is well-meaning they know preparation is urgent but they never get around to it, life gets in the way, and besides we will all be in the same boat anyway.
The final 33% don’t realize the threat is even present, a total absence of self-awareness.
I know for a fact the 33% rule dominates most of our lives it permeates all of our lives, Politics, Religion, and Emergencies. I had an e-commerce web site selling emergency kits, everyone thinks it’s a great idea to have one handy, most people make the statement “Yeh, I should really get one.” Few people do follow through with a purchase putting it off until tomorrow or more than likely never.
It has been my experience many, not all, people are complacent especially when on vacation or a weekend outing.
In my younger years, we would go to the Southern California beaches under the guise of surfing a sport I never acquired a knack for, although many of my friends had. We would go to the beautiful beach in the City of Cardiff by the Sea, North of San Diego just south of Carlsbad. On two occasions Tsunami alarms were sounded, the lifeguards drove the beach informing everyone what was happening and what the alarm meant. The threat was imminent, to be safe go to higher ground. I never saw one person leave the beach, it was not taken seriously by anyone, it was a bad situation. The icing on the cake and part of the reason it was ignored was that the Tsunami did occur but it was 6 inches high, resulting in the warning being a joke.
One square meter of water weighs one ton, 2,000 pounds, one meter is just over a yard 1.09 feet making a square yard weigh in at just under one ton. A wall of water six feet high, two yards or 1.82 meters comes in at just under 2 tons. Considering the wave may be hundreds of meters wide and miles in length just the weight of the water is unmanageable. To place it in an easier visionary concept a six-inch-high Tsunami will knock a full-grown man over with the potential of dragging him out to sea. The alarms must be taken seriously.
On the Big Island of Hawaii facing the west coast is a cliff that extends several miles along the ocean with a width of one mile
inland a crack defines that perimeter. The crack was caused by Earthquakes making for an unstable situation. No one knows how long it will survive, one more day or an eon it is more unpredictable than an Earthquake. Never-the-less it will at some time in the future take place causing the landmass to slide into the open Ocean causing a Tsunami predicted to be as high as one mile. Heading towards Los Angelos as fast as Mach 1, 600 miles per hour it would reach that City of 4 million in 6 hours. The population of Los Angelos county is over 10 million people. The wave will most likely not be a mile high when it makes landfall, but even at a nominal prediction of 100 feet imagining over 10 million evacuees heading North on Interstate 5 boggles the imagination. Compounding that will be the fact most people will ignore the warnings, millions will perish. When the consideration that it will affect the entire West coast the loss of life is staggering to think about. That is the worst case possible condition, but when one considers we have no idea what mountains and cliffs are beneath the waves the possibility is multiplied, we must not ignore the warnings.
The latest huge Earthquake of last week has once again raised our awareness, I’m sure many people have heard the warnings recently of the “Big One” is overdue and may occur at any moment. The reaction is the time-worn “OK, let er’ rip” attitude, if you think about it there is nothing we can do but wait; however when the warnings are issued we must take them seriously. One day the Geologist will master prediction, let’s not be caught on our laurels, be ready to evacuate.
Jacques Lebec Natural Self Reliance