Wednesday, January 04, 2006

A Series of 6 Magnitude Plus Earthquakes Shake the Earth

By Elaine Meinel Supkis

Two days ago, there were no significant earthquakes. I have noticed that since the Great Boxing Day Quake, whenever the earth is still, it means it will have a series of large quakes in unison very soon. In this case, it happened again. Three significant quakes in 24 hrs, all on important faultlines, one at the roots of the San Andreas.

Click here to see minute by minute earthquake map of the earth.
Antarctica, the Atlas Shrugging Off Ice, led the way with a big 7.3 blow out in the southern Atlantic. This occured in the ocean so no one noticed except geologists and fans of geological processes such as myself. Then, as usual, Australia, the errant child of Antarctica, kicked the Pacific Plate at the sharp point where the Fuji Islands are. This was a 7.1, still quite significant.

Then a few hours later, the rift zone of the Gulf of California had an onimous 10.0 kilometer series of quakes, starting at some mag 4s and then blasting out a 6.7 and is still shaking as I type, another group of 4+s. The Great Boxing Day Quake was exactly 10 kilometers under, too. The most devastating quakes seem to be at this depth. Going through the data, one notices when there is going to be a significant alteration of the landscape, quakes at the 10 km level seem to occur most frequently. The earth rumbles at various levels, the crust being a very complex entity, but the ones humans should worry about the most are the 10 km level quakes.

Scientists have been wondering about Mt. St. Helens. She has been erupting lately and a new lava flow path is forming, evidently. Like when one squeezes a sponge, water comes out of various places, so it is with volcanos. The Pacific Plate has been shoved good and hard by Australia especially since the rift off the coast of Indonesia has opened. Geologists know that pressure builds before an earthquake and we all know that the pressure on the American Continent is now tremendous. Each day that we have no significant 5+ quakes in California, the worse it is, not the better!

People want to imagine they are dodging the bullet. They are not.

Instead, each month, the bullet gets bigger. It goes from a .45 to a .50 caliber to artillery shells to bunker busters to nuclear bomb size. Getting ready for this inevitability, one has to think about many things including water and food. Storing water and cycling it through containers set in a place they can't fall down, namely on the floor, is very important, for getting water after a great quake will be very difficult since most water systems will be disrupted.

Electricity will be disrupted, too, and storing batteries and having a generator is a good thing. I have all that, myself. People living on the bottom stories of buildings in earthquake zones are in the most danger. This is why Japan has very strict internal construction codes. California has strengthened their codes, too, but only in a laggard fashion and certainly they are weakest in the area of domestic construction. For example, I doubt they require triangulation of all corners and joints plus steel strapping! My house has this, since I built it myself. All houses should have this!

Yet this is what I see, to my horror, at a USA government website: From official gov webpage:
Advanced house framing, sometimes called Optimum Value Engineering (OVE), refers to a variety of techniques designed to reduce the amount of lumber used and waste generated in the construction of a wood-framed house. These techniques also improve a home's energy efficiency.

Advanced framing techniques create a structurally sound home with lower material and labor costs than a conventionally framed house. Additional construction cost savings result from reduced waste disposal, which also helps the environment.

Advanced framing actually replaces lumber with insulation material and maximizes the wall that's insulated, which improves the whole-wall thermal resistance or R-value.
You should look at the diagrams at this place! Amazingly STUPID! Gah!

Want to live in a house built like cards? Follow these instructions! No interior wall will be physically anchored to anything stronger than SHEETROCK? Insane. Totally insane. When high winds hit, the interior walls form at least some sort of triangulation to soak up all the energy of the wind's force. And earthquakes! Imagine having all your interior walls collapsing simultaneously? Goodbye, life.

I can't believe this is being peddled as good construction, all to save a measly 4 Rs insulation value! Hanging a blanket over a window saves more R value! All intersections of walls and exterior in my house are double studded. Namely, I used more than the usual wood and they are bound together with steel strapping which is screwed into the wood. Then I have the real wood exterior, not chipboard which they use on most houses these days and outside of that isn't cheap plastic siding but real wood, in my case, a lot of oak 1 5/8"x4" boards. But then, oaks grow on my property and I have a woodmill. I know it is very expensive but...This is what works, in the long run.

The modern open house plan many people want these days are energy inefficient but worse, very dangerous in earthquakes. As we saw this week in Germany with the collapse of the roof of a skating rink during an icestorm, vaulting can give way if the exterior walls push outwards. Another reason to have interior walls that are very tightly anchored to exterior walls!
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