4 things to know about California’s strange earthquake drought

Near Hiroshima, Japan eyes opportunities for innovations in recovery and resilience

Last summer, for nearly two weeks, heavy rains battered southwestern Japan, from the hundreds of small, rocky islands off the coast to car company Mazda’s headquarters and main factory in inland Hiroshima City. The downpour triggered flash flooding and landslides throughout the region, followed by a weeks-long heat wave, shutting down roads, transportation systems and power — and impeding emergency response teams from immediately reaching the most affected areas and people.

As the record torrential rains slowed, emergency workers continued search-and-rescue operations, bringing fresh water, food and resources to houses and community centers that had been deluged. Drone operators flew the aerial devices over forests and ravines to canvass the damage to infrastructure. And officials tried to take stock of the reports coming in to get things “back to normal” as soon as possible….


4 things to know about California’s strange earthquake drought

san andreas
The San Andreas fault running through Southern California. Image source: mage: Shutterstock / Aerial-i

A compelling new report authored by two U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) researchers found that three powerful California faults have been strangely — almost impossibly — quiet for the last 100 years. Digging into the soil around these faults, Glenn Biasi and Kate Scharer found that big, ground-rupturing earthquakes have been a regular occurrence in the temblor-prone land over the last 1000 years.

That’s what makes the last 100 years so unusual.  “We should not see gaps of 100 years,” Biasi said.

This study, published in Seismological Research Letters, is valuable to consider, not just for what it says about the region’s past, but what it could mean for California’s shaky future. Here are the big takeaways…


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