Why The Earthquake Near San Francisco Is Just The Start Of The Shaking In California

Tectonic Plates - WikipediaIf you thought that the earthquake that struck northern California on Sunday was something, just wait until you see what is coming in the years ahead.  As you will read about below, we live at a time when earthquake activity is dramatically increasing.  This is especially true of the “Ring of Fire” which runs roughly along the outer perimeter of the Pacific Ocean.  Approximately 81 percent of all big earthquakes occur along the Ring of Fire, and the entire west coast of the United States falls within the danger zone.  Over the past few years, we have seen huge earthquake after huge earthquake strike various areas along the Ring of Fire, but up until now the California coastline has mostly been spared.  However, there are indications that this may be about to change in a big way.

Early on Sunday, a 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck the heart of wine country.  It was the largest earthquake to hit northern California in 25 years.  More than 120 people were injured, scores of buildings were damaged and Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency.

It is being projected that the economic loss from this earthquake will exceed a billion dollars.  Since the initial quake, there have been more than 60 aftershocks, and residents are very much hoping that the worst is over.  The following is how the damage caused by the earthquake was described by CNN

“Everything and everyone in Napa was affected by the quake. My house, along with everybody else’s, is a disaster. It looks like somebody broke in and ravaged the place, room by room.” said CNN iReporter Malissa Koven, who was awakened by the shaking at about 3:20 a.m.

“Anything and everything that could fall, did,” she said.

The damage in Napa is “fairly significant,” said Glenn Pomeroy, the CEO of the California Earthquake Authority, who surveyed the area Sunday afternoon.

“The downtown area is hardest hit, probably because of the age of construction down there,” Pomeroy said. In the residential areas, he is “seeing a lot of chimneys that’ve come crashing down.”

That sounds pretty bad, right?

But remember, this was only a 6.1 magnitude earthquake.  As Wikipedia explains, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake would be many times more powerful…

The Richter magnitude scale (also Richter scale) assigns a magnitude number to quantify the energy released by an earthquake. The Richter scale is a base-10 logarithmic scale, which defines magnitude as the logarithm of the ratio of the amplitude of the seismic waves to an arbitrary, minor amplitude.

As measured with a seismometer, an earthquake that registers 5.0 on the Richter scale has a shaking amplitude 10 times greater than that of an earthquake that registered 4.0, and thus corresponds to a release of energy 31.6 times greater than that released by the lesser earthquake.

And the earthquake that happened on Sunday would not even be worth comparing to an 8.0 or a 9.0 quake.  In fact, one study concluded that a 9.0 magnitude earthquake along the Cascadia fault could potentially produce a giant tsunami that would “wash away coastal towns”…

If a 9.0 earthquake were to strike along California’s sparsely populated North Coast, it would have a catastrophic ripple effect.

A giant tsunami created by the quake would wash away coastal towns, destroy U.S. 101 and cause $70 billion in damage over a large swath of the Pacific coast. More than 100 bridges would be lost, power lines toppled and coastal towns isolated. Residents would have as few as 15 minutes notice to flee to higher ground, and as many as 10,000 would perish.

Scientists last year published this grim scenario for a massive rupture along the Cascadia fault system, which runs 700 miles off shore from Northern California to Vancouver Island.

And when we think about “the Big One” hitting California, most of the time we think about southern California.  The most famous fault line in southern California is the San Andreas fault, but the truth is that many experts are far more concerned about the Puente Hills fault line.  According to one seismologist, that is the fault that would be most likely to “eat L.A.” and cause hundreds of billions of dollars in economic damage…

Video simulations of a rupture on the Puente Hills fault system show how energy from a quake could erupt and be funneled toward L.A.’s densest neighborhoods, with the strongest waves rippling to the west and south across the Los Angeles Basin.

According to estimates by the USGS and Southern California Earthquake Center, a massive quake on the Puente Hills fault could kill from 3,000 to 18,000 people and cause up to $250 billion in damage. Under this worst-case scenario, people in as many as three-quarters of a million households would be left homeless.

So don’t get too excited about what happened on Sunday.  Scientists assure us that it is only a matter of time before “the Big One” hits California.

In fact, the 6.1 magnitude earthquake that hit northern California on Sunday was not even the largest earthquake along the Ring of Fire this weekend.  According to the U.S. Geological Survey, a 6.4 magnitude earthquake shook the area around Valparaiso, Chile on Saturday and a 6.9 magnitude earthquake struck Peru on Sunday.

As I mentioned above, we have moved into a time when seismic activity is steadily rising.  It has gotten to the point where even the mainstream media cannot ignore it anymore.  For example, just check out the following excerpt from a recent CBS News report…

The average rate of big earthquakes — those larger than magnitude 7 — has been 10 per year since 1979, the study reports. That rate rose to 12.5 per year starting in 1992, and then jumped to 16.7 per year starting in 2010 — a 65 percent increase compared to the rate since 1979. This increase accelerated in the first three months of 2014 to more than double the average since 1979, the researchers report.

Something is happening that scientists don’t understand, and that is a little scary.

As I wrote about the other day, earthquake activity seems to particularly be increasing in the United States.  While the west has been relatively quiet, the number of earthquakes in the central and eastern portions of the nation has quintupled over the past 30 years…

According to the USGS, the frequency of earthquakes in the central and eastern U.S. has quintupled, to an average of 100 a year during the 2011-2013 period, up from only 20 per year during the 30-year period to 2000.

Most of these quakes were minor, but research published by the USGS earlier this year demonstrated that a relatively minor magnitude 5.0 quake caused by wastewater injection after conventional oil drilling triggered a much bigger, 5.7 magnitude quake in Prague, Okla.

“We know the hazard has increased for small and moderate size earthquakes. We don’t know as well how much the hazard has increased for large earthquakes. Our suspicion is it has but we are working on understanding this,” said William Ellsworth, a scientist with the USGS.

What in the world could be causing this to happen?

Oklahoma, which used to rarely ever have significant earthquakes, has experienced over 2,300 earthquakes so far in 2014.

That is absolutely staggering.

And of course volcanic activity has been rising all over the planet as well.  In 2013, the number of eruptions around the globe set a new all-time high, and right now persistent rumbling under Iceland’s Bardarbunga volcano has much of Europe on alert

For more than a week the earth has been rumbling beneath Iceland’s looming Bardarbunga volcano. The almost continuous small earthquakes led the government to activate its National Crisis Coordination Centre this week and block off access to the largely uninhabited region around the Bardarbunga caldera.

Major airlines are making contingency plans for a potential eruption that could throw dust into the atmosphere and disrupt flight paths between North America and Europe.

Some scientists are saying that if that volcano erupts, it “could trigger Britain’s coldest winter ever“.

Clearly something is happening.

All over the world seismic activity is on the rise.

That means that the shaking in California (and in much of the rest of the world) may soon get a whole lot worse.

So what do you think is causing all of this?  Please share what you think by posting a comment below…

12 Signs That Something Big Is Happening To The Earth’s Crust Under North And South America

Earthquake Damage - Cracks In The Earth - Photo by Martin LuffWhy are fault lines and volcanoes all over North and South America suddenly waking up?  Are we moving into a time when major earthquakes and volcanic eruptions will become much more common?  For the past several decades, we have been extremely fortunate to have experienced a period of extremely low seismic activity along the west coast of the United States.  You see, the west coast lies right along the infamous Ring of Fire.  Approximately 75 percent of all the volcanoes in the world are on the Ring of Fire, and approximately 90 percent of all global earthquakes occur along the Ring of Fire.  Scientists tell us that it is inevitable that “the Big One” will hit California someday, but people have gotten very apathetic about this because things have been so quiet out there for so many years.  Well, now it appears that things are changing in a big way – and not just along the California coast.  The following are 12 signs that something big is happening to the earth’s crust under North and South America…

#1 The 5.1 earthquake that shook Los Angeles on Friday was the worst earthquake that the city had seen in many years.

#2 Following that earthquake, there were more than 100 aftershocks.

#3 A 4.1 earthquake shook Los Angeles on Saturday.  Scientists are hoping that this earthquake swarm in southern California will end soon.

#4 Earlier this month, a 4.4 earthquake rattled Los Angeles so badly that it caused news anchors to dive under their desks.

#5 A 6.9 earthquake just off the coast of northern California in early March was the largest earthquake to hit the west coast of the United States since 2010.

#6 Up in Oregon, Mt. Hood recently experienced more than 100 earthquakes over the course of just a few days.

#7 During the past month, there have also been some other very unusual geologic events that have been happening up in Oregon

  • Two large landslides – one in the Columbia River Gorge dumped about 2,000 cubic yards of rock and debris on highway I84 just 3 miles west of the Hood River, and another blocked US30 near Portland.
  • Loud booms and ground shaking reported by people from Lincoln to Tillamook Counties; some reported hearing a rumble, as well (No earthquakes recorded by the USGS in the area at the time.)
  • A 20 ft. deep sinkhole swallowed a woman and her dog in her Portland backyard.

#8 A 4.8 earthquake rattled Yellowstone National Park on Sunday, and there have been at least 25 earthquakes at Yellowstone since Thursday.

#9 Scientists recently discovered that the Yellowstone supervolcano is now releasing far more helium gas than they had anticipated.

#10 Over the past month, there have been more than 130 earthquakes in the state of Oklahoma.  This is highly unusual.

#11 There have been several dozen earthquakes in Peru over the past month, including a 6.3 earthquake that made headlines all over the globe.

#12 Earlier this month, the northern coast of Chile was hit by more than 300 earthquakes in a seven day stretch.  41 of those earthquakes were stronger than magnitude 4.5.

Fortunately, the quake that hit Los Angeles on Friday did not cause too much lasting injury.  But it sure did shake people up.  The following is how the Los Angeles Times described the damage…

The quake, centered near La Habra, caused furniture to tumble, pictures to fall off walls and glass to break. Merchandise fell off store shelves, and there were reports of plate glass windows shattered.

In Brea, several people suffered minor injuries during a rock slide that overturned their car. Fullerton reported seven water main breaks. Carbon Canyon Road was closed.

Residents across Orange and Los Angeles counties and the Inland Empire reported swinging chandeliers, fireplaces dislodging from walls and lots of rattled nerves. The shake caused a rock slide in Carbon Canyon, causing a car to overturn, according to the Brea Police Department.

Why this particular earthquake is of such concern is because it occurred along the Puente Hills fault line.  According to one seismologist, this is the fault line that would be most likely to “eat L.A.”

Experts said that the earthquakes occurred on the Puente Hills thrust fault, which stretches from the San Gabriel Valley to downtown Los Angeles.

Last night’s quake was shallow, which ‘means the shaking is very concentrated in a small area,’ said Caltech seismologist Egill Hauksson.

Hauksson revealed that the earthquake was unusual because the 5.1 quake was preceded by the weaker foreshock.

Scientists such as Hauksson are very concerned about the Puente Hills fault because it runs directly under downtown Los Angeles.

This is the fault that could eat L.A.,’ seismologist Sue Hough told The LA Times in 2003.

The fact that this fault appears to be waking up is really bad news.

According to seismologists, a major earthquake along this fault line could cause hundreds of billions of dollars of damage

Video simulations of a rupture on the Puente Hills fault system show how energy from a quake could erupt and be funneled toward L.A.’s densest neighborhoods, with the strongest waves rippling to the west and south across the Los Angeles Basin.

According to estimates by the USGS and Southern California Earthquake Center, a massive quake on the Puente Hills fault could kill from 3,000 to 18,000 people and cause up to $250 billion in damage. Under this worst-case scenario, people in as many as three-quarters of a million households would be left homeless.

For years, we have watched as the rest of the Ring of Fire has been absolutely ravaged by major seismic events.

We all remember the earthquakes that caused the Indonesian tsunami of 2004 and the Japanese tsunami of 2011.

And the world mourned when major earthquakes devastated New Zealand, Chile, Peru, Japan and the Philippines.

Scientists assured us that it was only a matter of time before the west coast started to become seismically active again, and now it is happening.

If you live on the west coast, I hope that you will consider these things very carefully.

Just because the earth under your feet has been relatively quiet for a very long time does not mean that it will always be that way.

Something big appears to be happening to the earth’s crust, and you won’t want to be in the “danger zone” when things finally break loose.

The Number One Catastrophic Event That Americans Worry About: Economic Collapse

Can you guess what the number one catastrophic event that Americans worry about is?  There are certainly many to choose from.  Many Americans are deathly afraid of a major terrorist attack.  Others live in constant fear of natural disasters such as earthquakes, volcanoes and hurricanes.  Still others are incredibly concerned that a massive pandemic will break out at any time or that World War III will erupt in the Middle East.  Yes, there are certainly a lot of potential catastrophic events that one can worry about in the times in which we live, but the number one catastrophic event that Americans worry about is actually “economic collapse”.  At least that is what a recent survey conducted by Leiflin Inc. for the EcoHealth Alliance found.  But this goes along with what so many other polls have found over the past few years.  Over and over again, opinion polls have found that the number one issue that American voters are concerned about is the economy.  The truth is that average Americans are deeply, deeply concerned about unemployment, debt, the housing crash and the steady decline in the standard of living.  It has been years since the U.S. economy has operated at a “normal” level, and many Americans are afraid that things could soon get a whole lot worse.

In the new survey mentioned above, those contacted were asked to select the top three potential catastrophes that worry them the most.

The following results come directly from the survey….

Economic Collapse: 63%
Natural Disaster: 46%
Terrorist Attack: 44%
Global Disease Outbreak: 33%
Global War: 27%
Nuclear Accident: 25%
Global Warming: 22%
Fuel Shortage: 15%
Cyber War: 8%
Famine: 8%
Oil Spill: 6%
Industrial Accident: 5%

As you can see, “economic collapse” was the winner by a wide margin.

So are there good reasons for the American people to be concerned about an economic collapse?

Of course there are.

Back in 2008, a financial crisis that began on Wall Street was felt in the farthest corners of the globe.

This time, ground zero for the financial crisis is going to be in Europe.  As I have written about previously, the European financial system is rapidly coming apart at the seams.  The euro continues to drop like a rock, and banking stocks continue their long-term decline.

Many people expect a “financial collapse” to happen on a particular day.  But that is not how it happens usually.  Instead, it is often like a snowball that starts rolling downhill very slowly at first but that eventually become a huge avalanche.

Right now, we are seeing the financial world come apart in slow motion.  A recent article posted on Automatic Earth included a list of the year-to-date performance of some of the most prominent global banking stocks.  These numbers are absolutely staggering….

  • BofA: -60.38%
  • Citi: -44.76%
  • Goldman Sachs: -46.41%
  • JPMorgan: -23.03%
  • Morgan Stanley: -45.24%
  • RBS: -50%
  • Barclays: -34.32%
  • Lloyds: -63.02%
  • UBS: -29.33%
  • Deutsche Bank: -28,55%
  • Crédit Agricole: -56.04%
  • BNP Paribas: -37.67%
  • Société Générale: -59.57%

But because these numbers happened over the course of a year and not on a single day it doesn’t feel quite as much like a “collapse”.

Unfortunately, things are about to get a whole lot worse.  Global credit markets are really freezing up – especially in Europe.

Considering the fact that the entire global financial system is based on credit and debt, that is a very bad thing.

Our system simply does not work when banks do not want to lend money to each other or to businesses.

Just yesterday there was an article in the Guardian that talked about how it looks like the credit crunch may be getting even worse….

“If European banks are still this concerned, it’s not a good sign,” said Karl Schamotta, senior markets strategist with Western Union Business Solutions. “That underlines the possibility that this liquidity crunch is getting worse and will continue into the new year.”

When banks cut back on lending, that causes the money supply to shrink.  When the money supply shrinks substantially, it is almost impossible to avoid a recession.  A recent article by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard detailed how the money supply in many eurozone nations is shrinking at a very rapid pace right now….

Simon Ward from Henderson Global Investors said “narrow” M1 money – which includes cash and overnight deposits, and signals short-term spending plans – shows an alarming split between North and South.

While real M1 deposits are still holding up in the German bloc, the rate of fall over the last six months (annualised) has been 20.7pc in Greece, 16.3pc in Portugal, 11.8pc in Ireland, and 8.1pc in Spain, and 6.7pc in Italy. The pace of decline in Italy has been accelerating, partly due to capital flight. “This rate of contraction is greater than in early 2008 and implies an even deeper recession, both for Italy and the whole periphery,” said Mr Ward.

Those are very, very frightening numbers.

About the only thing propping up European banks right now is the fact that the European Central Bank is loaning them gigantic piles of cheap money.

But there is a big problem.

European banks are running out of collateral for those loans as an article in the Wall Street Journal recently noted….

Even after the European Central Bank doled out nearly half a trillion euros of loans to cash-strapped banks last week, fears about potential financial problems are still stalking the sector. One big reason: concerns about collateral.

The only way European banks can now convince anyone—institutional investors, fellow banks or the ECB—to lend them money is if they pledge high-quality assets as collateral.

Now some regulators and bankers are becoming nervous that some lenders’ supplies of such assets, which include European government bonds and investment-grade non-government debt, are running low.

So what happens when banks all over Europe start running out of collateral and can’t get any more loans?

The answer should be obvious.

As I detailed a few days ago, many prominent voices in the financial world now believe that we could be looking at a financial crisis that will be even worse than 2008.

If you want to see what happens when a collapse happens and a depression begins, just look at what is happening in Greece….

*100,000 businesses have been closed since the beginning of the crisis.

*About a third of the nation is now living in poverty.

*The unemployment rate for those under the age of 24 is 39 percent.

*The number of suicides has increased by 40 percent in the past year.

*Thefts and burglaries nearly doubled between 2007 and 2009.

Things have gotten so bad that hundreds of families in Greece are abandoning their children.

Some are taking their children to charitable institutions and others are handing them directly over to the government.

The following sad story of one Greek family comes from an article in the Guardian….

“Psychologically we were all in a bit of a mess,” said Gasparinatos. “We were sleeping on mattresses on the floor, the rent hadn’t been paid for months, something had to be done.”

And so, with Christmas approaching, the 42-year-old took the decision to put in an official request for three of his boys and one daughter to be taken into care.

“The crisis had killed us. I am ashamed to say but it had got to the point where I couldn’t even afford the €2 needed to buy bread,” he told the Guardian. “We didn’t want to break up the family but we did think it would be easier for them if four of my children were sent to an institution for maybe two or three years.”

Does that seem shocking to you?

Well, all of this is coming to America eventually.

Someday we will see American parents abandoning their children because they cannot take care of them anymore.

Someday we will see suicides absolutely skyrocket in America because people have lost all hope.

Someday we will see thefts and burglaries soar to unprecedented heights as millions of desperate people attempt to try to find some way to survive.

It is all coming.

The federal government cannot pile up a trillion dollars of additional debt every year indefinitely.

We cannot afford to see an average of 23 manufacturing facilities a day in the United States shut down.  Eventually there won’t be anymore factories to shut down.

We cannot afford to keep putting millions more Americans on welfare.  At this point the government is feeding 46 million Americans a month.  Will the government eventually be feeding most of us?

The U.S. economy is getting weaker and weaker and weaker.  All of the long-term trends are absolutely nightmarish.  We are accumulating debt faster than ever, and our ability to produce wealth is diminishing faster than ever.

There is no way that things are going to be okay if we stay on the path that we are currently on.

So the truth is that Americans should be very concerned about an economic collapse.

It is coming and it is going to be very painful.

The Economic Collapse