How would you like to wake up to Mike Tyson – specifically, the scary, ear-biting, late-1980s-to-mid-1990s Mike Tyson — punching the wall of your house? On the morning of April 23, 2012, that’s exactly what woke Los Angeles resident Kevin V andever. Except the shaking V andever felt wasn’t Tyson’s legendary fists: It was a 3.9 earthquake.
Whether you live in Los Angeles, Brentwood or Santa Monica, you’ve probably experienced a few earthquakes. In fact, it’s always “earthquake weather” here in SoCal; written history of earthquakes in the region stretches back to 1769, when an expedition about 30 miles from L.A. felt four strong shocks. Forty-three years later, four people were killed when a quake demolished a church at San Juan Capistrano, and an 1857 quake in Fort Tejon was an incredible magnitude 7.9 — and was felt all the way to Las Vegas!
Over the next half-century, earthquakes killed almost 50 people and destroyed hundreds of buildings across California. The Great 1906 San Francisco Earthquake killed at least 700 people, opened a 296-mile rupture in the San Andreas Fault, and caused more than $500 million in damage. And, of course, L.A.’s 6.7-magnitude Northridge Earthquake killed 57, injured more than 800, and displaced 20,000 residents, causing $20 billion in damage.
From 1769 to today, more than 200 earthquakes have rocked SoCal – and that’s just counting magnitude 5.2 and higher.
That’s a lot of shaking and quaking and it’s all centered around one area: The California-Nevada Fault and its many offshoots, some of which run right through L.A.
Sounds a lot scarier than Mike Tyson, right? When you build a major metropolitan area along a huge fault line that’s constantly shifting, quake damage is bound to be a concern. Given Southern California’s long, earthquake-filled history, it’s no surprise that high-tech study after high-tech study confirms what many seismologists have long predicted: The Los Angeles area is long overdue for a massive earthquake.
Scientists have found that major earthquakes occur every 88 years or so. It’s been about 150 years since the last monster quake hit, making the probability of a large quake extremely likely. Even worse, predictions indicate that this quake may be as strong as 8.1 on the Richter Scale — with the potential to release more than 100 times the energy as the Northridge quake! Recent concerns about fracking in L.A. have intensified fears of a major quake.
As if that isn’t terrifying enough, scientists project that an earthquake that large could cause between 2,000 and 50,000 deaths and billions of dollars in damage in L.A., Anaheim and San Diego.
How can residents prepare themselves? Experts recommend building up stores of food, water and supplies, establishing an emergency plan, and safeguarding possessions in advance. In addition, earthquake insurance protects your family from loss, helping you to get back on your feet after the disaster is over. Get the hint, talk to one of our licensed agents about Earthquake Insurance today.
So the next time you wake up to shaking walls, cross your fingers and hope that it’s just Mike Tyson!
Karl Susman, Agent