Monday, June 30, 2008

SoCal Shakeout 2008


When I TA'd introductory geology for my adviser, he'd always have an assignment early in the course that focused on earthquake safety. My graduate school was in Northern California (read "the chosen land"), in an area that straddles one of the most famous faults in the world, and has experienced many destructive historical earthquakes. The assignment was simple; he told the students to go back to their dorm room and do one thing that would make them safer during the next earthquake. They didn't have to turn anything in, but after a week he'd ask for a show of hands to see how many people followed through. Participation was minimal, to say the least. Those people that did raise their hands put in less-than-impressive effort. No one made an earthquake kit (bottled water, batteries, non-perishable food, diet coke, etc..), and just a few removed heavy things from above their bed or double checked their emergency exits. I was even surprised how few graduate students, fellow geologists had proper earthquake kits. I had one, never had to use it, but it took a total of 20 minutes and about $10 to put together.

This is all a preamble to advertise what appears to be a fantastic earthquake preparedness event that I was told about this afternoon. It is called the Great Southern California ShakeOut. The ShakeOut is a series of events that focus on preparing Southern Californians (read "heartless water-stealers") for the inevitable; the next big quake. The ShakeOut has both a blog and official website, and culminates in the largest planned earthquake drill ever in the history of the known universe, on November 13th 2008 at 10 am. Now, I proudly hail from the cultural, intellectual, and political capital of California. I spent graduate school in Northern California, where folks in L.A.L.A.Land get most of their water. Needless to say I have many beefs with the ne'er-do-well neighbors to the south, but I can give the ShakeOut event nothing but support. Contrary to some reports, Southern California is not all bad, and the fact that they are putting so much effort and energy into what is essentially geoscience education and public outreach can make me even [temporarily] forget the 2002 NBA playoffs (also here and here). They also have a great motto on the blog, "because shift happens."

So check out the sites, and if you live in Southern California, get ready for the Big One!

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'll laugh loudly when you get your faculty position at UCLA or USC.

Thermochronic said...

I think the faculty and administration at UCLA/USC will also laugh loudly when they realize that they have awarded a faculty position to me by mistake!

If I am so lucky, I promise to only steal water from the Colorado River. or switch to an all-Diet Coke and Reeds Ginger Brew diet.

Silver Fox said...

Just as long as when the rains and floods come in the midst of a drought, you don't go on TV complaining about lawn-watering schedules!

hypocentre said...

My earthquake kit consists of a clean shirt, tie and jacket - ready for the media onslaught,

See emergency interview wardrobe.

Anonymous said...

Now, now, let's have none of that self-deprecating humor. You went to a very presitgious grad school, and you have a good postdoc situation as well (with the right connections for UCLA).

Unfortunately, the recent switch of many campuses to Pepsi sponsorship will make your plan difficult. That and the terrible taste of pasta boiled in cola.

dza said...

come to so cal thermoch, with the next quake we'll secede from norcal and become our own island.

Dry Dingo said...

Sounds like your advisor was a very wise man. Did he ever use a "laser" for anything?

Anonymous said...

Hey Thermochronic, turns out radioactive decay might not be so uniform as once thought...

http://arxivblog.com/?p=596

Read more:
http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/08/29/1227239

Anonymous said...

i have a question, what the meaning n function apparent dip at the field??