so much more to learn

(AP Photo)

This article in the Washington Post shows something that we already know but have yet to fully absorb: we have so much more to learn when it comes to earthquakes – what causes them, their short- and long-term effects are, what we can and cannot predict.

The Virginia earthquake was only 5.8 magnitude, but still was much higher than expected. And it WAS expected . . .by scientists at least. Like most of us, the public had heard something about earthquake risks but filed that information away in the “worry about later” portion of their memory. Residents were caught unprepared and damages to buildings are estimated at $200-$300 million.

“The Virginia earthquake suggests that what we’ve seen in the past is not as bad as what we could potentially see in the future,” said John Ebel, a Boston College geophysicist who spoke with reporters in a conference call Wednesday from a meeting of the Seismological Society of America in San Diego.

We should use these findings as motivation to think critically about our own state of preparedness: how will we take care of our families and help our neighbors for the days or weeks it takes of power to be restored? We need to encourage ourselves, our friends, and our leaders to take the steps – to over prepare – so when a quake strikes, we’re not caught without a plan.

One thought on “so much more to learn

  • The biggest surprise to me, someone who is somewhat an expert in the field, is the distance strong vibrations were felt. The article touches on this a bit. I'd assume that since Virginia (and the US East Coast) are in the middle of a plate, there would be less to 'buffer' the vibrations (through loosened soils/faults from past activity). While we still don't expect any significant quakes in the East like the West (which is expecting a quake roughly 25,000 times the strength), it still is something to take caution for. As the East learned last summer, the general population didn't know many of the basic steps to take during an earthquake.

Comments are closed.