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Oct 28 / USGS Newsroom

Earthquakes? Don’t Freak Out – ShakeOut!

What if you knew that a magnitude 7.8 earthquake would happen in less than three weeks? In a new video interview, USGS earthquake scientist Dr. Lucy Jones explains that millions of Southern Californians will be preparing as if they do know, thanks to the Great Southern California ShakeOut.

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Earthquakes? Don’t Freak—Out ShakeOut!

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The ShakeOut, which takes place in Southern California on Nov. 13, 2008, will be the largest earthquake drill in United States history. It’s based on a scenario that the USGS created along with emergency responders, power, water and transportation departments, social scientists, engineers and many others.

“We wanted to understand not just what this would physically do, but what this would do to our society,” said Dr. Jones. “By putting that picture together, we’ve created something that’s a lot more useful because it matters to people.”

In the scenario, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake occurs on the southern San Andreas Fault, striking much of Southern California. This is roughly the same magnitude as earthquakes that struck California in 1857 and 1906,”

“A big San Andreas earthquake is inevitable, and it’s something every Southern Californian should be ready for,” said Dr. Jones.

The earthquake in this scenario would lead to 1,800 deaths and more than $200 billion in losses.

The ShakeOut is a great science application and tool for decision makers, but it’s also a chance for the public to make a difference.

“You have an individual responsibility for your own earthquake safety, but you’re also part of a bigger community,” said Jones. “What each of us do or don’t do to prepare for a big earthquake affects what all of our lives will be like after one, so do your part.”

You can check out the interview in episode 70 of CoreCast at

Nearly five million people have already signed up to take part in the ShakeOut. Don’t be left out, sign up for ShakeOut at Read the ShakeOut Scenario, and get up-to-the-minute, worldwide earthquake information at

[Via USGS]

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