California is overdue for a massive earthquake

In the US state of California, a violent earthquake woke people up. There was massive damage and there were injuries. There were also tremors in Chile. Is the feared big quake coming now?

severe earthquake in California

In the US state of California, a violent earthquake woke people up. There was massive damage and there were injuries. There were also tremors in Chile. Is the feared big quake coming now?

By Gabriele Chwallek

San Francisco - A major earthquake north of the Californian metropolis of San Francisco injured at least 87 people - three of them seriously. Most of them suffered cuts or bruises and were discharged from the hospital after treatment, reported the Los Angeles Times. Numerous buildings were destroyed and tens of thousands of households were without electricity. The 6.0 magnitude quake is said to have been the worst in the region in 25 years. California Governor Jerry Brown declared the Napa area a state of emergency, according to CNN.

The center was six kilometers southwest of the Napa wine region, about 75 kilometers from San Francisco and more than 80 kilometers from Sacramento, as the US earthquake control reported. Around 100,000 people were affected by the quake early Sunday morning (local time). Around 60 minor aftershocks were measured, one with a magnitude of 3.6. The television station CNN showed pictures of severely damaged buildings, and fires broke out again and again. Eyewitnesses said some homes in downtown Napa were completely destroyed. The broadcaster KTVU reported that a church tower had collapsed in the village of Vallejo.

The entire west of the American continent lies on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, which is particularly active seismically. It was only on Saturday evening that an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.2 shook the region around the Chilean port city of Valparaíso.

Several people were trapped in their homes, according to the California Fire Department. The "Los Angeles Times" reported that power lines were torn down. More than 42,000 households in Napa and neighboring districts are said to be cut off from the power supply. “It was like a roller coaster,” said an eyewitness.

“I thought it was The Big One‘, ”Craig Chan told CNN. “I've lived in San Francisco my entire life and whenever it shakes for more than ten seconds, you think: Now it's time.” For generations, people in California have feared “The Big One” - the long-overdue earthquake. According to several media reports, the quake on Sunday morning was the worst quake in the region since the Loma Prieta quake near San Francisco in 1989 with a magnitude of 6.9. At that time 63 people were killed.

Seismologists have been warning for years that a severe tremor could soon be expected in Northern California. Authorities are trying to sensitize residents with exercises. After a major incident in 2005, almost eight million people took part. The emergency was rehearsed in schools, offices and shops. But the good intentions are often quickly forgotten.

According to a survey in 2006 - it was the hundredth anniversary of the Great Quake and everyone was talking about the catastrophe - only nine percent of Californians “often worry” about earthquakes. Representatives of the rescue services urge the residents of the west coast city again and again that they are sitting on a powder keg. "Those who are lucky enough to survive the severe earthquake have to be prepared to cope with the first three days on their own," preached one of the leaders. The scenario after the looming “Big One” could even exceed the extent of the devastation caused by Hurricane “Katrina” in the southern states. Up to 5,000 dead, 225,000 homeless, destroyed city districts, streets and bridges, is the forecast. However, not everyone follows the advice to get an "earthquake kit" with water, emergency provisions, medication, batteries and a flashlight. "We all know that 'The Big One' is coming up here too," says a Californian, "but then it's easy to forget."