Two Quakes Shake SoCal Over 4th of July, is the Big One Next?

As the Huffington Post wrote this past weekend, “California was hit by back-to-back earthquakes over the Fourth of July holiday. On Thursday, a 6.4 magnitude quake struck near a small, rural town in Southern California called Ridgecrest, about 150 miles from Los Angeles. The next day, a larger 7.1 magnitude temblor hit the same area and was felt by millions across the region, from Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles down to Mexico and eastward to Las Vegas.”Is the Big One Next?: Scientists say not so fast. The 6.4 and 7.1 magnitude earthquakes last week were not related and not precursors to the Big One.

What’s At Fault? In California, the San Andreas fault line is the primary fault line that runs the length of the state and forms the tectonic boundary between the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate (faults around Ridgecrest are part of the larger San Andreas system). As the New York Times explained, the San Andreas runs near heavily populated areas and is considered the biggest seismic threat to California. Related cracks in the earth, like the Hayward fault that runs through Oakland and Berkeley in the San Francisco Bay Area, are also considered major threats.”

How to Prepare: If you live along the West Coast (or plan on visiting) make sure you know what to do if a big quake occurs. Additionally, as CNN reported, earlier this year, KPCC, a public radio station in Southern California, released a new podcast titled “The Big One: Your Survival Guide,” aimed at coaching Californians to prepare for a potentially devastating earthquake.

Also, important to note, while the city of Los Angeles does have a public app that’s supposed to warn residents of impending earthquakes, ShakeAlert didn’t manage to send out any early warnings for the two recent quakes.

Why This Matters: The New York Times put it best, “navigating life in California means making peace with Mother Nature. Wildfires and mudslides are yearly events, made worse in recent years amid climate change. But Californians live in constant awareness, if not outright fear, of the possibility of a devastating earthquake — the “Big One,” as everyone says.” Growing up my (Miro’s) classmates were generally too young to remember big quakes like Loma Prieta or Northridge in detail but the anecdotes were passed along to us to instill a healthy sense of fear and spur preparedness. Earthquakes are terrifying because humans have no control over them, no means to truly predict them or stop them and for folks living near fault lines, they live their lives in anticipation of an impending natural disaster which scientists say is almost certain to occur.

Up Next

WWF Report Finds Accelerating Destruction of Great Plains Grasslands

WWF Report Finds Accelerating Destruction of Great Plains Grasslands

By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor Today, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) released its 2021 Plowprint Report, which tracks the amount of grasslands lost to plow-up each year. This year’s study found that plow-up across the Great Plains has only continued to accelerate, releasing exorbitant amounts of carbon into the atmosphere. The report concludes that […]

Continue Reading 462 words
Changing Climate, Changing Cropland 

Changing Climate, Changing Cropland 


By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer With global temperatures rising and rainfall patterns changing, global agriculture is shifting too — with big changes projected. Places like Siberia and northern Canada that have been too frigid for farming in centuries past are expected to become cropland by the end of the century. But it’s not a […]

Continue Reading 392 words
Half of Denali National Park Closes Early Due to Landslides

Half of Denali National Park Closes Early Due to Landslides

By Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer The National Park Service has closed down a large swathe of Alaska’s Denali National Park after excessive permafrost thawing caused landslide activity near the park’s only access road. The access road is now closed, blocking entry to about half of the park. Park officials say that although there have been landslides in […]

Continue Reading 480 words

Want the planet in your inbox?

Subscribe to the email that top lawmakers, renowned scientists, and thousands of concerned citizens turn to each morning for the latest environmental news and analysis.