Wednesday, June 21, 2017

NASA Timing for the Big One in California #Science

We're all clear the Big One will make a wasteland out of Southern California and that will likely result in tremendous loss of life plus it will bring hell down on the economy in general.  In case you need a refresher on that aspect of it and why the earthquake will be so destructive, there's a discussion at  Signs of past California 'mega-quakes' show danger of the Big One on San Andreas Fault

Ruins from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, remembered as one of the worst natural disasters in United States history. 

Credit: Public Domain

One of the most dire scenarios geologists have studied is a quake that begins at the Salton Sea. Such a quake would be particularly dangerous because the fault's shape points shaking energy toward Los Angeles.

Southern California has not seen an earthquake like this since humans started recording history here. But the geological evidence of such quakes is all around us.

- PO

You have been around and don't need the whole three-course We Are Screwed dinner selection but it's there if you like and one of the specific recommendations is to improve building standards since they're not particularly high, even in L.A.  In fact, Chile builds to higher standards.

But Jones is critical of minimum building standards for new construction in California, which she said allow for a 10 percent chance of new buildings collapsing and killing people in an earthquake.

Jones says new buildings are stronger, for example, in Chile. That's because the country makes those who build new buildings responsible if the structure suffers earthquake damage in the first decade after it is completed.

As a result, owners have insisted on strong construction, Jones said. And the country rode out a recent magnitude 8.8 earthquake well.

- PO

There's something you can do about it if you don't take your first choice of getting far away from California.

Our interest is when and NASA made a highly-pointed observation almost two years ago which announced emphatically that it's coming in two years.  I no longer have that citation but I'm hopeful Kannafoot remembers since we reviewed it that time.  The science looked credible and for all kinds of beefy reasons but Kannafoot said he has seen many predictions but none have yielded much.

From that I concluded, ok, I'm going to track this one.  Usually with fortune tellers and clairvoyants such as Jeanne Dixon, their lists of ridiculous prophesies from the start of the year are forgotten by the end of it so it doesn't matter what she says and she could and did make up another list for the next year to the great excitement of all.

Ed:  just like an elephant, you remembered

Well, I did remember but I do not drink water through my nose or at least not often so I'm not much like an elephant.

Ed:  thanks for that roaring laugh

(takes a humble bow)

The NASA prediction falls due in October this year and this is no jinx for California since I don't know any more than anyone in the state whether this estimation is accurate.  However, there was great certitude about it so I thought, ok, I'll track this to see what happens.

Don't read any sense of spectator's glee into this since we loathe people who go to automobile races to watch the crashes.  The carnage from such a thing is unpredictable and unimaginable.

The specific reason for tracking is exactly as above:  NASA predicted this with high certainty so now it's almost due and that invites observation if only to call them on it if, hopefully, they are wrong.

If NASA is correct in their prediction, it will take everyone in the country to put things back together again.  The country is capable of doing that but hopefully it's not needed until well into the future.


Kannafoot said...

I do recall the conversation as well, however I didn't save the link from two-years ago. My interest in the accuracy of the prediction is two-fold. First, if it's indeed accurate, then the implication is that our understanding of the mechanics that produce earthquakes has improved to the point where a working model is now viable. Second, again if it's accurate, then reliable early warning systems may be developed that will ultimately save lives, if not necessarily infrastructure.

So I'm interested in this, as well. Granted, a "within 2-year" time frame is not yet accurate enough for my second point to become a reality, but that's still a major step in that direction.

Naturally, I'm still very skeptical. I've not yet seen any indication that the science of plate tectonics has progressed to that level.

Peas InOurThyme said...

I'm skeptical as well and that's a large part of why I have tried to keep in focus. They were so highly confident of the accuracy I decided, ok, let's watch to discover how accurate it really is.

There's goodness if they're right but such a major hammer to validate it since the appalling catastrophe behind it probably can't even be realistically visualized but it seems no other way and nothing will change in any substantive way between now and October anyway so now we observe.

I also noticed people are going berserk of the Yellowstone volcano again but I noticed a similar pattern of earthquakes has been observed every two years going back about ten years and the others were larger in terms of the number of earthquakes. Eventually that one blows but no-one seems to have a tiny idea of a prediction on that although the probability of it being soon doesn't seem particularly high.

Kannafoot said...

Oh, I've seen the doomsday flapping about the Yellowstone Volcano as well. Here's the NPS FAQ on it:

Aside from all the populist misconceptions about the term "supervolcano", the fact is that there are no signs at all that a major eruption is building. I wouldn't change any weekend plans on the off chance that it happens.

What I find very interesting, though, is that there have been three major eruptions in the last 2.5 million years. Now, if "2.5 million years" sounds familiar, it is only because that matches the start of the current ice age. (Yes, we're still in an ice age, by definition.)

The three major eruptions also appear to coincide with the start of three periods of glacial advance within the ice age. It does beg the question of whether the cyclical cooling periods we've experienced following each inter-glacial period (such as the one we have been in for approximately 20,000 years) are the direct result of these major eruptions.

That correlation is definitely worthy of more research.

Peas InOurThyme said...

My favorite for the effects of massive vulcanism is when it results in giant swings in the planet's weather with one event culminating in the Snowball Earth and each caused widespread extinctions. This volcano in Yellowstone is part of a larger complex but I don't believe it's as large as the one which started the biggest of the events which, I think, was in the general area of Siberia but continents move and blah, blah about that.

Interglacial periods have become the periods between Ice Ages in pop news but you know already that's rubbish and the cycles run much longer.

Kannafoot said...

Part of the problem, here, is popular improper usage of terms. People typically refer to "the last ice age" as an example, when what they really mean is "the last glacial advance."

An ice age, by definition, is in effect as long as there is year-round ice at the poles. Our current ice age started about 2.5 million years ago, and it continues through the present. We're still in an ice age.

There have been at least five periods of glacial advance followed by interglacial periods in the current ice age. The last glacial advance started about 150,000 years ago, and ended between 20,000 and 16,000 years ago. (The coastline we know today in New England and the mid-Atlantic states was carved by this glacial retreat.)

What's interesting is the cyclical nature of each interglacial period. With the exception of the period two cycles ago, which was a very cool cycle, the others all experience the same progression of temperature, CO2, and water vapor, followed by an abrupt decline in all three leading to the glacial advance. (That's the reason I don't accept human caused "climate change." The CO2, temperature, and water vapor levels we experience today are virtually identical to this same period in 3 of the last 4 interglacial periods and the rate of change also matches those other periods. The only conclusion I can reach is that it's a natural cycle, not influenced by man.)

Peas InOurThyme said...

There's no argument on the cyclic nature but there is regarding any impact from man and that's more likely determined via the delta change over 'x' period of time rather than the overall quantity of this or that at any given moment. Their concerns revolve largely around the rate of change which they compute to be substantially quicker than in previous events and they've got the big honking computers to validate it so logic dictates.