Wednesday, April 02, 2014

USGS Warns On Fake Earthquake Alert


Earthquake Hoax warning from the USGS




With a couple of medium-sized temblors in Los Angeles in recent weeks, an ongoing swarm of quakes in Oklahoma, and another medium-sized temblor last week in Yellowstone, I guess it was inevitable that the prognosticators of perpetual doom on the internet would begin to predict that California was about to fall into the Pacific, or that the Yellowstone Supervolcano would destroy the North American continent.


These are always popular memes on the internet, and are aided and abetted by disastertainment cable-TV `documentaries’  like Doomsday Preppers, and Mega-Disasters.


Most people are savvy enough to discount these predictions as having no scientific merit, but when they come on what purports to be a USGS letterhead, they are more likely to be taken seriously. 


And that, unfortunately, is exactly what has happened over the past few days as a fake USGS warning has been emailed (and no doubt breathlessly forwarded) predicting a impending major earthquake in California.


Fake Earthquake Warning 


As far as predicting earthquakes, the USGS has this to say:


Can you predict earthquakes?

No. Neither the USGS nor any other scientists have ever predicted a major earthquake. They do not know how, and they do not expect to know how any time in the foreseeable future. However based on scientific data, probabilities can be calculated for potential future earthquakes. For example, scientists estimate that over the next 30 years the probability of a major EQ occurring in the San Francisco Bay area is 67% and 60% in Southern California.The USGS focuses their efforts on the long-term mitigation of earthquake hazards by helping to improve the safety of structures, rather than by trying to accomplish short-term predictions.

Learn more: Earthquake Prediction


While short term predictions such as the one in the hoax letter are best ignored, the reality is that earthquakes can and do happen, and those who live in seismically active regions need to be prepared to deal with them.  

This from California’s Earthquake Preparedness Website:


April is Earthquake Preparedness Month, it has been recognized since the April 1906 San Francisco earthquake and continues to be supported by the state assembly urging all Californians and government agencies to engage in education, evaluation of seismic hazards, mitigation, safety activities, and the exchange of information related to earthquake preparedness with other states and nations.

Surprisingly, many Californians don't consider themselves at risk unless they live on or near the line of a well-known fault, such as the San Andreas or Hayward Fault. This misconception leaves millions of Californians unprepared for an earthquake.

Quick Facts:

  • Major earthquakes registering magnitudes between 6.3 and 8.3 have occurred in California every 5.4 years, on average, for the past 200 years.
  • The United States Geological Survey estimates that there is a 90 percent chance that a major earthquake will strike an urban area in California within the next 30 years.
  • The majority of Californians live within 20 miles of a major earthquake fault.
  • Being prepared could save your life!

While California is a world leader in emergency response and recovery capabilities, our responders can't do it alone. It is the responsibility of every individual to take action, get informed, and get actively involved in emergency preparedness.

(Continue . . .)

For more information I would encourage you to visit:




A few of my (many) blogs on disaster preparedness include:

  • In An Emergency, Who Has Your Back?
  • When 72 Hours Isn’t Enough
  • When Evacuation Is The Better Part Of Valor