California faces earthquake threat, emergency drills in progress

The Bay Area is most likely to be hit by an earthquake as the major fault line passes through it.

Students of the Francisco Menendez National Institute prepare to participate in a national earthquake...
Picture for representation Reuters

A massive fault line in the California region is giving seismologists nightmares about a major earthquake that has high chances to hit the US state. It is believed that the earthquake will be a "big one", measuring at least magnitude seven on the Richter scale. Experts have said that there is a 72% chance of a large tremor in the next 30 years.

A slew of earthquakes has been tormenting the Pacific regions, igniting fear for California residents. Earthquake Track has reported that in the past 30 days, California has been struck 671 times. The strongest of them was the one in South California's Ferndale, measuring 5.7 on the Richter scale, according to geologist for US Geological Survey David Schwartz, reported the Daily Star. The region near Hayward Fault records a 7.4 million population, raising the need for safety drills and emergency preparedness.

Southern California Earthquake Center is conducting earthquake drills across the state on Thursday, October 19. Residents must be prepared for the most dangerous outcome, for which "Drop, Cover and Hold On" drills will take place in schools, colleges, businesses and community groups across the state.

"The State is very responsible when it comes to the safety of the residents. Drills and emergency awareness programs keep being conducted around us, which makes us feel safe," said Sudeshna Sengupta, an Indian-born California resident, to IBTimes Singapore. "I have a four-month-old son, and I want to be aware of the correct way to deal with such emergencies. I don't want anything to happen to him due to my ignorance," she added.

The drill, called the Great ShakeOut, has been recommended for everyone by safety experts, to learn to deal with such a situation. More than 54.9 million people around the world are participating in the Great ShakeOut Drills in 2017. The ShakeOut website mentions that 10.4 million people in the California have registered for the upcoming drill.

"Everyone, everywhere should know how to protect themselves in an earthquake," said Mark Benthien, Global ShakeOut coordinator at the Southern California Earthquake Center, to the Daily Star. The National History Museum in Los Angeles' Expo Park will also host an earthquake drill, response exercise, press conference, and demonstration area.

The earthquake alert comes soon after the US was hit repeatedly by cyclones in the past two months, starting from Hurricane Harvey. Recently, the Mexico earthquakes have ravaged the nation, sparking a global discussion about natural disasters and climate change.

The Bay Area of San Francisco was struck by a major 6.9 magnitude earthquake about 30 years ago, after which it has seen an unusually less amount of tectonic activity, said Schwartz. Seismologists are wondering if this is the calm before a storm. In either case, it is always better to be safe than sorry.