How Do You Survive An Earthquake
When I was researching for this post on Earthquake Survival Tips, I came across this blurb from a news article: ” The Ridgecrest earthquakes of 2019 might have increased the chances of a big temblor along the San Andreas fault in the next 12 months, according to a study published in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.” So how do you survive an earthquake?
An earthquake is very much survivable by being aware of where you live and having the proper knowledge of how to react when threatened by one and having the proper survival supplies and a plan as to what happens during and after the crisis.
Make sure to understand where exactly you can hold onto for cover. Run safety drills to make sure everyone in your family can operate smoothly in a disaster. Know where your routes and supplies are.
#1 Earthquakes Survival Tip: Prepare Now
Earthquake Survival Pack
Food: You need at least 3 days’ worth of non-perishable canned food that is ready for consumption. Do your research about different ration foods and about your community’s disaster preparedness. In some places, rescue efforts can be relied upon to arrive soon. In other places, you need to store more food and water. You need to be able to prepare that food with no running water or any electricity.
First aid kits: Keep these items in a toolbox that is easy to carry and protected from water. Inspect it routinely and check the expirations dates in case you need to restock. Most medical prescriptions can be stored in the refrigerator.
1. Hydrogen peroxide for disinfection
2. Antibiotic ointment
3. Alcohol swabs
4. Your individual prescriptions
5. Bandages and other dressings
6. Light and compact first aid book
9. Needle and thread
10. Splints and cold packs for sprains and broken bones
11. Bug out bags for you and your family.
Insurance: Your regular insurance doesn’t cover earthquakes. Make sure you are insured.
Earthquakes And Tsunamis Facts
Tsunamis are basically much bigger waves but what causes them is very different. Waves are primarily created by winds and the gravitational pull of the sun and moon. The Earthquakes and Tsunamis facts, on the other hand, are caused by volcanoes, marine landslides, and most often, earthquakes underwater on the ocean floor.
Something very dangerous happens when earthquakes happen underwater. Off the eastern coast of Japan, two plates are pushing up against one another on the ocean’s floor.
One tries to push against the other, causing it to bend. When the bending reaches a point where it surpasses the force of friction between the two, the bending plate suddenly snaps back up. This releases a dangerous amount of energy into the water. The water will be pushed and rise much higher than the sea level, but the earth’s gravitational pull will attempt to bring it back down and flatten the sudden spike.
This pushes the wave in all directions horizontally, dispersing the force. A tsunami is born and ready to destroy any human town or city that is unlucky enough to be close to the coast.
At a distance from the shore, the movement is barely noticeable on the ocean’s surface because the energy is being released at all levels of depth in the ocean. But as it gets closer, it climbs the ocean’s gradually rising floor and the energy reaches shallower waters.
This makes the energy more compact and compressed as it now has to move through less water. This is when the horrible face of tsunamis shows itself. At first, the tides pull back and get very low, sometimes misleading people. But soon after, the wave rises to full view, getting slower and rising higher in the air.
It can be very devastating for about at least a mile in the dry land, especially for places with lower altitudes. In 2004, the great Indian Ocean tsunami with the magnitude of 9.1-9.3 has been known as one of the deadliest natural disasters in our history, killing an estimated 227,898 people in 14 countries around the south Asian countries.
In 2011, a magnitude 9-9.1 tsunami triggered the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, killing an estimated 15,897 number of people.
Surviving Tsunamis: Prepare Now
Prepping for Tsunamis is similar to our earthquake survival tips that we have been talking about. Understand your situation and prepare now. During and after a crisis is too late.
1. Other than moving to a risk-free area, there is no way to completely guarantee your safety.
2. It is a very good idea to prepare for such an event by educating yourself about the tsunami risks of your area. Also, you should have maps of evacuation zones and routes on hand. Ask about your community’s plans.
3. Learn the natural signs and be aware of loud roars coming from the ocean, strange behavior of the tides like sudden rising or draining. As we have learned, the ocean levels drop before a tsunami is about to occur.
4. Practice evacuating from your usual home, work, or play venues. You should have a good awareness of nearby high areas that are distant from the coastline.
5. Sign up for your region’s warning systems to make sure you receive the warning when it comes.
6. Consider getting your property tsunami insurance which is probably not covered by your normal insurance.
Tsunamis: Survival Tips
1. In a tsunami area, you will practice your earthquake survival tips and knowledge. You need to first survive that event. So you must drop to a crawl and attempt to take cover in nearby solid places. Hold on to solid and sturdy objects until the shaking stops.
2. When the shaking stops, you should act fast to evacuate the area. Move further and higher inland and away from the shoreline. You should listen to authorities’ warnings to evacuate but never wait for them. Be proactive.
3. If caught by the water, grab onto floating objects such as doors, rafts, tree trunks, or etc.
4. If you are in a boat out in the ocean, your best bet is to go further towards the ocean and away from the shoreline. Unless if you’re close to the harbor, by the time you reach the waves, they will not be too threatening.
5. Some parts of the water are deeper than they appear so you should avoid walking and wading in it.
6. Stay away from damaged roads, bridges, buildings, and electrical equipment. Some electrical power lines can charge water. Beware the risks of electrocution in wet environments.
7. Ideally, use text messaging as communication systems are very often out of service or busy during and after a disaster.
8. Take photos of your damaged property if you are able and safe. It will come in handy when you contact your insurance company.
If you act fast you might be able to even quickly run to safety. You must go as high up and far away from the coast as you can as soon when a tsunami warning is issued. About 100 feet above the sea level or 2 miles from the tsunami is a safe distance. Perhaps moving there as a precaution can save you the trouble and risk.
Earthquake Survival Depends On Knowledge
One of the best ways to have an understanding of earthquake survival tips and their implications is to first have an understanding of what is going on right under your own feet.
Earthquakes happen because of the sudden release of the pent-up pressure by two blocks of earth and they slip past one another. There are many ways this could happen. But first, let’s take a deeper look at why exactly it happens.
These massive blocks of the earth are what we call tectonic plates. These very heavy plates move very slowly, and they make up the crust of the earth, which is the name of the thin outer layer where we live on.
When these plates suddenly slip past one another, we call the sliding surface area fault or fault plane. The point of the earthquake that starts underwater is called the Hypocenter. The Epicenter is the point right above that on top of the surface of the earth. These are the most dangerous areas in the event of an earthquake.
Sometimes a big earthquake can result in a few smaller earthquakes happen, before or after it The ones that happen before it are called fore-shocks and the ones that happen of the main-shock are the after-shock, which always accompanies them.
Why do they move? Well, that has to do with the relationship between the earth’s crust and its deeper molten layer, the mantle.
You see, the crust has places where it is thicker, denser, and heavier, and it has places where it is thinner and lighter. In the mantle below the material is hot and lighter than the material above. So it pushes up with enough force to break some of those easier to break surfaces. Sometimes this means volcanoes. Other times, this means pulling the tectonic plates apart and creating new surfaces.
This is what happens on the ocean floor of the Atlantic. The magma rises to the floor and pushes the plates apart, then it reaches the water, cools down, fuses the plates shut, and becomes the new floor before being broken open again. In other places along this border, this activity creates land as it rises out of the ocean.
That’s the story of Iceland which is right in line with the mid-Atlantic ocean. Weak but daily earthquakes grow the island by 5cm per year. Because it breaks apart easily, it happens frequently and doesn’t let the pressure build-up, which can be dangerous. Other places are not lucky.
Now, this new floor pushes the plate away to make space. This causes a complex system of movement for every plate. In some places they pull apart, others go under another and sometimes they pass by each other.
The country known as India was once a land mass separate from the Eurasian plate. The plate of India drifted north and hit the Eurasian plate. This is where a lot more devastating earthquakes happen. In April of 2015, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked Nepal and caused the death of 9000 people. This left many villages in ruins.
Tension builds up and eventually releases itself in massive earthquakes. Because the Indian tectonic plate is heavier, it went under the other. Although, some of the Indian crust had buckled, folded, and created huge rock formations that jut out towards the sky, which continue to rise. This formed the Himalayan mountains. The rest of the Indian block goes under and melts in the hot mantle.
This molten material then slowly gets lower until it rises up one day and bursts through the crust. That’s a simplistic way of explaining the convection cycle. Geologists believe that molten rocks travel down towards the core in their semi-liquid state, and once they’ve become superheated and less dense, they rise back up towards the surface as light magma. This path is called the convection current.
Hopefully, now you understand the reason behind the movement of the tectonic plates. You know where the floor disappears and reappears to make new floors. This cycle is thought to be driven by the earth’s need to dispel its inner pressure and heat into the atmosphere and the surrounding space. Gradually, the earth will cool down by this process, but don’t start panicking yet. At this rate, it will take around 91 billion years to reach 0 kelvin.
Surviving The Powder Keg of the San Andreas Fault
Two tectonic plates brushing past one another can also be very dangerous. On the west coast of the United States of America, the sliding boundary between the North American Plate and the Pacific Plate is slowly moving.
At least that’s how it should move.
At the moment, it has stopped, causing many geologists to believe that it is jammed.
Tectonic movements are not always smooth and sometimes very big movements get stuck on one point. This causes tensions to rise to a dangerously high level until it overcomes the force of friction.
Geologists say that the region is sitting on a powder keg.
How Are Earthquakes Measured?
Earthquakes Richter Scale
There is a device scientists use to measure the earthquake called a seismograph. It has a base that is embedded in the ground and accurately receives the shocks.
There is another part that doesn’t and that’s a hanging weight which is suspended by a string or spring that doesn’t receive those shocks and can be reasonably still while the base shakes back and forth. On a piece of moving paper, this hanging weight seems to rock back and forth, drawing a graph that accurately measures the disruptions. Scientists then, use many ways to measure the magnitude and intensity of the earthquake. Many seismographs are needed to locate an epicenter and to accurately calculate the shocks.
Measures Taken Against Tsunamis
In some places, people have tried to stop tsunamis by building seawalls and floodgates or to reduce its impact by redirecting the water using channels. They are good against weaker waves but not against all tsunamis. The Fukushima disaster is a perfect example of this. The 2011 tsunami passed over the flood walls of Fukushima and caused three nuclear meltdowns and three hydrogen explosions among others.
Nowadays, scientist, researchers, and policymakers have shifted their attention to early detection and evacuation as a preventative measure.