ShakeAlertLA Works, but Residents Want Even More Notice

(TNS) — More than 500,000 people have downloaded Los Angeles County’s new ShakeAlertLA app to warn them of impending earthquakes.

So when the two strongest earthquakes in almost two decades hit Southern California this month, those residents were surprised by what they saw on their smartphones: nothing.

Officials were quick to explain to outraged app users that the shaking in the county wasn’t strong enough to trigger an alert.

Southern California Quakes Raise Interest in West Coast Warning System

The powerful Mojave Desert earthquakes that rocked California ended a years-long lull in major seismic activity and raised new interest in an early warning system being developed for the West Coast.

The ShakeAlert system is substantially built in California and overall is about 55% complete, with much of the remaining installation of seismic sensor stations to be done in the Pacific Northwest, said Robert de Groot of the U.S. Geological Survey.

An Earthquake’s Impact Can Be Predicted – But Only After it Hits

Over the next week, Southern California has only a 27% chance of experiencing a third earthquake greater than magnitude 6, but a 96% chance of going through a tremor of magnitude 5 or higher.

Those precise probabilities were generated by scientists at the United States Geological Survey (USGS), using models based on longstanding principles of seismic behavior and decades of data on aftershocks from earthquakes.

No Deaths Reported After 7.1 Earthquake in Southern California

(TNS) - For the second consecutive day, a major earthquake shook Southern California and was felt far beyond, stopping the NBA’s Summer League games in Las Vegas, forcing the evacuation of rides at Disneyland in Anaheim, and reminding residents that the state is always on unstable ground and destined for more.

It registered a magnitude of 7.1 on Friday night and was the strongest earthquake to hit the state in two decades, causing fires in the small town of Ridgecrest (population 29,000), and sending shock waves felt more than 300 miles away in all directions – Sacramento, Phoenix, Mexico.

Southern California Begins Assessing Damage From Largest Earthquake in 20 Years

RIDGECREST, Calif. — Crews in Southern California assessed damage to cracked and burned buildings, broken roads, leaking water and gas lines and other infrastructure Saturday after the largest earthquake the region has seen in nearly 20 years jolted an area from Sacramento to Las Vegas to Mexico.

No fatalities or major injuries were reported after Friday night’s 7.1-magnitude earthquake. But warnings by seismologists that large aftershocks were expected to continue for days — if not weeks — prompted further precautions.

Oregon Agency Charged with Earthquake Study and Preparation Could Be Abolished

The state agency in charge of earthquake study and preparation, as well as monitoring mining efforts in Oregon, could be shut down after going over budget for the second time in four years.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports the Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, widely known as DOGAMI, will lose three staff members and the Governor’s office is considering whether the agency should continue to exist in its current form given its financial issues.

Sea Level Rise Plus Modern Storms Equals Devastation in California

Sea level rise, and its perils, is often associated with the East Coast. But California communities along the coast that don’t prepare for what’s ahead could be inviting disasters of the magnitude not yet seen in the state.

A report by the United States Geological Survey Climate Impacts and Coastal Processes Team suggests that future sea level rise, in combination with major storms like the ones the state is experiencing now, could cause more damage than wildfires and earthquakes.

This is the first study that looks not just at sea level rise in California, but also sea level rise, along with a major storm to assess total risk to coastal communities.

Earthquake Law Could Financially Strain California Hospitals

(TNS) — California’s hospitals are scrambling to retrofit their buildings before “The Big One” hits, an effort that will cost tens of billions dollars and could jeopardize health-care access, according to a newly released study.

The state’s 418 hospitals have a deadline from the state, too. They’re racing to meet seismic safety standards set by a California law that was inspired by the deadly 1994 Northridge earthquake, which damaged 11 hospitals and forced evacuations at eight of them.

By 2020, hospitals must reduce the risk of collapse. By 2030, they must be able to remain in operation after a major earthquake.

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