Preparedness and Water

When reviewing the FEMA independent study information it discussed Individual and home preparedness. Most people believe that the government will be there to help right away. This is obviously incorrect. We have taken some small steps to help us be better prepared in our home.

Living in southern California we face the real threat of a major earthquake. Water is moved (stolen) from Northern California and our neighboring states and moved through massive aqueducts down to southern California across the San Andres fault (SAF).   It is estimated that 70% of Californians will be out of water should a 8.0 earthquake strike along the San Andres fault.  That means 22 million people are one earthquake away from being totally cut off from a domestic water supply.  In 1857  a earthquake caused a surface rupture near Fort Tejon California ( Just north of LA) that moved the surface nearly 30′ in 120 seconds.  As you could imaging this would cause complete dissection of any aqueduct.

So… I chose to add to our emergency water storage.  We had one 55 gal and 30 gal water barrel. I added a second 55 gal water barrel nearly doubling our supply. I got the barrel at a local tack and feed store where they cut used barrels to make in to feed bins. The barrels have been previously used to hold commercial food products. The barrel stored low sodium soy sauce in it previous life.

They come well washed but  we wash them with a little dish soap and bleach water solution then a sponge screwed to a dowel.  After rinsing it out well we moved it in place next to the first one and filled it up.  We added unscented household bleach to keep the water sanitized as per the FEMA  and CDC recommendation.

FEMA recommended 1 gal per person per day in the home. This was for drinking. So we are counting on 3 gal per person per day. This included drinking, dishes, and personal hygiene.  There are 5 of us in our home so this will give us a little over 9 days of water.  Not much I know but its better than nothing. I think my goal will be to double my storage again to have two weeks worth of water.


And a cool article I found why researching earthquakes and water supply’s. 

Resources Describing Human Impact of September 19th 2017 Mexico City – Puebla EQ

I felt like all the articles linked above  were powerful, especially the images in some.  Deciding which is my favorite was difficult between the Lake Bed Geology article (NY Times) and “Hours after an earthquake drill in Mexico City, the real thing struck” (CNN).

The Lake Bed Geology article I ended up finding to be slightly more informative because it explains how human caused changes were detrimental hundreds of years later during this earthquake. In the 1600’s there was a lake where Mexico City is today. However frequent flooding caused early Spanish settlers in the area to drain the lake over the following centuries beginning in the mid 1600’s to solve the flooding problem. However, they created an ecological nightmare as the vegetation dissipated in the arid climate and the water table dropped.  Little did they know that by draining the lake and building a city, liquefaction from earthquakes was going to be a major problem. This shows how humans impacted the earthquake  and how the earthquake impacted humans back.


Image above shows outline of former lake. (NY Times)

September 19th 2017 Mexico City – Puebla Earthquake

On September 19th, 2017, the 32nd anniversary of the infamous 1985 Mexico City earthquake, a 7.1 moment magnitude earthquake occurred in the Mexican state of Puebla. Near the metro areas of Mexico City and Puebla, it affected also affected the state of Morelos.

Very similar to the Juan de Fuca plate, the Cocos plate is a microplate in the Pacific Ocean off the west coast of North America that is subducting itself under the North American and Caribbean plates. However, the event that occurred on September 19th, 2017 was not a subduction mega quake, but an earthquake cause by a local normal fault within the Cocos plate.  Occurring at ~50km in depth, the tremor falls within the boundaries of the subducting slab, but the fact that the focal mechanism of the earthquake is normal-faulting, it suggests it doesn’t have to do with the megathrust boundary contact.

What I  found interesting about this event is that it coincidentally occurred on the anniversary of the 1985 Mexico City earthquake, the metro area does an annual earthquake preparedness drill on September 19th to avoid casualties on the scale of 1985’s event. This emergency response drill occurred at 11:00am local time, just 2 hours before the 7.1M earthquake that occurred at 1:14pm local time. Having this event coincidentally fall on the 32nd anniversary of the 1985 event, just after a metro-wide drill, left Mexico City very prepared for 2017’s tremor. However, the earthquake still resulted in ~250 fatalities and thousands of damaged buildings.

One important thing to know about Mexico city is that the majority of the city is built on a dry lake bed that was drained beginning in the 1600’s. The soft lake sediments remaining in the valley undergo liquefaction during earthquakes, which amplifies the motion of the seismic waves. Due to the liquefaction of the soft sediments, the city experiences significant damage and casualties during earthquakes in the region.

Human impact on the  2011 Tohoku, Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

In looking for resources for my blog post this week in regards to the human impact on the  2011 Tohoku, Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, which preamble the Fukushima nuclear disaster. I noticed most updated news articles were five years after the events. The Japanese commemorated the anniversary with most news media outlets in Japan covering countless personal stories, depicting how things have changed since the triple blow, most of these stories were hard to read. I must admit, I myself feel a bit of guilt. But first, a few facts; The Japanese government previously declared the first five years after the disaster as a “Concentrated Reconstruction Period” with $220 billion poured in for reconstruction. The next five years have been designated a “Reconstruction and Revitalization Period” $58 billion has been allocated. $150 billion. In comparison, the costliest hurricane ever in US history (Katrina) was $150 billion, almost half of what Japan will spend.

My favorite post: Five years after 3.11- the struggles of Fukushima’s farmers continue, summed up in my understanding that as bad as the earthquake was, most in the Tohoku region lost their family and friends from the tsunami, and their livelihood from the Fukushima disaster. As you may well know Fukushima’s fresh produce and seafood still carries a stigma that seriously affects the livelihood of the many in the agricultural and fishing industry, tens of thousands of whom are still living in temporary shelters six years later. This is where my guilt comes in, like most environmentally conscious fish lovers living on the west coast of our continent, I was, and still am aware of our beloved, radioactive, Pacific Ocean. Would I buy a fish from the east coast of Japan? Not in a half-life! But Japan seems not to be like us when it comes to helping thy neighbor, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, “the number of people whose main occupation is agriculture has decreased from 3.5 million in 1985 to 2.4 million in 2000 and 1.9 million in 2011, with the percentage of farmers who are 65 years or older increasing from 19.5% to 51.2% to 59.1% respectively. In Fukushima, the disaster has accelerated this trend. “  So it seems the struggle will go on for the thousands of children orphaned by the over 20,000 killed, as well as many thousands of life-long agricultural and fishing families in the region.

Human Impact of Landers Quake

Reinhold, R. “Most Powerful Quake in 40 Years Hits California”.  The New York Times. Jun. 29, 1992. Accessed Mar. 30, 2018.

“Two big quakes rock California”. Published 2009. Accessed Mar. 30, 2018.

Moore, S. “Landers Earthquake: Days of fear and unity”. Hi-Desert Star. Jun. 30, 2017. Accessed Mar. 30, 2018.

Edgell, P/ “Woman remembers Landers earthquake as ‘scariest thing’ ever experienced”. Jun. 28, 2017. Accessed Mar. 30, 2018.

“Landers Earthquake: Days of fear and unity”

This is by far the best article I found on the human impact felt by locals during the repercussions of the 1992 Landers Earthquake. Although the article was written in 2017, it captures the hardships felt by the small desert communities. The 3 year old that died from a chimney collapse, how 40% of residents had no water due to ruptured pipes, how the middle school I attended growing up became a shelter, and much more. It also talks about how local volunteers banded together to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries for the residents who had to put their lives on hold for the emergency. This is the all about the human impact of the earthquake, and also includes a timeline and key events by the U.S.G.S.

Human Impacts

  1. Stockton, Riley, “1960 Chile Earthquake’s Exponential Effects.” 2014.
  2. Nadeem, Asnan. “Impacts of the 1960 Chile Earthquake.” 2015.
  3. Bhalotra, Sonia et al. “Long-term economic consequences of the 1960 Chile earthquake.” 2011.
  4. “The Social, Political, and Economic Aftershocks of the Chilean Earthquake.” 2010.

My favorite resource is the second article. This article has both the author’s opinion and facts. Asnan discusses social impacts, economical impacts, and environmental impacts. I thought that this was a very interesting article that had a lot of useful information on aftermath of the Chilean Earthquake.

Case study 2 week 2

I played the stop disaster game for earthquakes but failed the three times I played. I want to say that something is wrong with the game. I met the objectives all three times but it said I still failed. I found it better to build new than to retrofit the old homes. the price of building new vs retrofitting was only $200 different and I could house more people in a newer home.


I don’t know how others did but my best score was a 0! I don’t think that’s very good for living in the earthquake-prone state of California.

Case Study 2 Hazard Post

The figures that I found for the 1960 Valdivia earthquake were based mainly on post hoc analysis since seismology technology hadn’t been developed yet. The first map that I found was a map depicting the epicenter of the earthquake. This map includes the fault, epicenter, and subduction zone involved with this earthquake. The second map that I found was a map of the tsunami generated by the earthquake. This map shows the epicenter of the earthquake and the travel time in hours of the wave front of the tsunami. The third map that I found shows the rupture areas of both the 1960 earthquake and the 2010 earthquake. All of these maps are extremely easy to read. Everything is clearly labeled and well laid out. I feel that people who lived in the region would definitely find these maps useful because they would be able to look at the location of the subduction and rupture zone that caused the earthquake as well as where a tsunami would travel and how long it would take to reach different locations.


Disaster Game

I like the earthquake disaster game much more compared to the other disaster game that I played for my previous case study. The game allowed plenty of time to prepare for the disaster, so you didn’t feel too rushed. I do wish that the budget was larger though because they ask you to do a lot of things with it. I ran out of money the second time I played the game. Both times I ended up failing and had a lot of casualties, so I had a hard time trying to figure out how to “pass” the game.

Mitigation for the 2011 Tohoku, Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

The EEW system can detect the approximate source and magnitude of an earthquake and send out public alerts via TV, radio, and cellphone–all in less than a minute of a quake’s start. It also transmits signals that can automatically shut down computers, stop elevators at the nearest floor, and halt factory production lines.


The EEW gave about 10 seconds notice to those close to the coast, and up to one minute to the northern population.

While this is the world’s most sophisticated earthquake early-warning system, 10 seconds is far from enough time to exit an apartment building, or completely stop a bullet train, but given the unpredictability of earthquakes, it’s a step in the right direction. And another benefit would be that earthquakes with an epicenter further away from populated areas would give much more time to react to an EEW message, though likely with other mitigation programs worldwide financial allocations are not used in unpopulated areas as much as they would benefit. Though as seen with Alaska’s last large earthquake, some are leading the way by investing in large scale mitigation, and I’m proud of Alaska for that!!