Watch how the earthquake affected Californians.
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When a 6.4 magnitude quake hit Southern California on July 4, 2019, filmmaker Ava DuVernay, said on Twitter that it was the longest quake she’d ever experienced.
“It was so long,” she wrote, “I thought for the first time ever is this the Big One?”
But that notion was soon dispelled when an even stronger 7.1 quake rocked the state only a day later.
Fortunately, neither was the much-anticipated Big One along the San Andreas Fault but experts have warned that it’s still “overdue.”
While the two recent earthquakes have put a spotlight on the Big One, Californians have always been reminded of its likelihood. Just earlier this year, Southern California public radio station KPCC came out with a podcast titled “The Big One: Your Survival Guide.”
The constant reminders are important because the memory of the danger fades as the days go back to normal.
Albert Adi, who owns a small business and moved to Southern California in 1980, said, “And then you have a big one come and it reminds you.”
“Everyone is wondering, ‘Is this getting close to the Big One?'” he added. “God knows it’s not an easy feeling.”
But geologists assert that the Big One is indeed coming. The US Geological Survey says that the southern San Andreas Fault usually produces large earthquakes every 150 years. And since the last big quake happened in 1857, the southern segment “is considered a likely location for an earthquake” in the years ahead.
Since San Francisco experienced a 7.9-magnitude quake in 1906, then the northern part of the state faces a marginally lower chance of a major earthquake anytime soon, said the USGS website.
Steve Rios of Riverside, California, as well as other residents, are aware of the dangers.
“I would honestly say it’s something Californians are always cognizant of because of the San Andreas Fault being here,” he said.
“We’re standing on two different (sides) of the fault line,” he added. “It’s kind of a scary feeling.”
Since the July 4 and 5 quakes occurred near Ridgecrest which is north of the fault, seismologists say there’s little likelihood that they would increase the chances of a major movement on the San Andreas Fault.
But Dr. Lucy Jones, a seismologist at the California Institute of Technology, told reporters that they don’t make any major movement less likely, either.
Jones tweeted that every year there’s a 2% chance of the Big One happening so residents should always be ready.
“One should always be preparing for a Big One,” she said.
The USGS says that increased seismic activity over several years would likely precede any major movement of the San Andreas Fault. Jones said that Southern California had actually experienced “an extremely quiet time” as far as seismic activity goes over the past 20 years.
But that is no reason to be complacent and “this is more what we should be thinking about,” she said.
Adi, who also studied engineering and is a father of four, constantly trains his children and keeps a decent amount of emergency supplies just in case. He says that everyone he knows know better than to dismiss the dangers. But life has to go on. “We know how dangerous it is … but you have to keep on living.”
He just accepts the risks as one of the trade-offs for the beautiful weather and great job opportunities.
“It’s the risk you have to accept by living here in Southern California,” he said.
He added, “Hopefully, everything will work out.”