Quaking in their flip flops

When my relatives from Oklahoma used to come visit us here in California, they’d always be nervous about earthquakes. I’d always point out that earthquakes are really so rare, whereas they actually have to deal with tornados and whatnot. Remember the movie Twister? How ’bout Wizard of Oz?

I’ll stick with my cozy home on the San Andreas fault, thanks.
Now I am rethinking that. We’ve had two earthquakes down here in the past couple of days. On Sunday night, Los Angeles was hit by a ridiculously long earthquake. S-E-V-E-N-T-E-E-N–S-E-C-O-N-D-S long, which is like, F-O-R-E-V-E-R. It was a 4.7 which means the TV stations pretty much had to knock the bottles off shelves themselves to get any footage. We had another 4.0 today which felt like just one huge jolt, as if a truck crashed into the building. I didn’t even stop my phone conversation.

I guess I should be worried that earthquakes are becoming run-of-the-mill for me. After all, there are states that have remained absolutely still for the past 30 years…Wisconsin. North Dakota. Even dodgy Florida!
I seem to have a predilection for seismically unstable places however. I lived through quite a few terremotos and temblores light in Mexico City while I was there. It’s kind of becoming like the boy who cried wolf. I’ll undoubtably be laughing and continuing to watch TV as the plaster rains down upon me when the actual big one comes.

Years ago, I took a weekend conference on urban planning and assessing the seismic/major natural calamity risk of various places. Our map overlays showed pretty clearly that most of the world’s urban centers are basically located on the Ring of Fire (*not the one to which Johnny Cash referred, let’s hope). Tokyo, LA, San Francisco… all built on some of the world’s shakiest ground. And not likely to move anytime soon.

So let’s hope the man in black isn’t just being prescient when he sings these lines:

I fell in to a burning ring of fire
I went down,down,down
and the flames went higher.
And it burns,burns,burns
the ring of fire
the ring of fire.

The 1997 movie Volcano in which a volcano mysteriously erupts in LA was absolutely horrible, but the real thing might actually be worse. Well, at least I’ve already got the soundtrack to the apocalypse cued up:


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