By Jonathon Rowe
In an instant mother earth can transition from her finest and most elegant form to her darkest and most destructive form. The earth trembles and shakes while humanity embraces the destruction to come.
California happens to be earthquake country. That’s why it’s imperative that citizens stay prepared, say state officials.
Humboldt State University along with all major universities in California took the time on Oct. 18 to recognize the possibility of a major earthquake. The California Shakeout is an annual event that is designed to simulate a devastating earthquake — at exactly 10:18 a.m.
Last year more than 12.5 million people were registered in Shakeout drills worldwide. Participants are expected to drop, cover and hold on while also taking part in possible evacuation drills.
Head Geology Professor Susan Cashman discussed the importance of the drill as it pertains to Humboldt State.
“Humboldt County is in a very active fault zone, it is one of few places in the world with a triple fault junction,” said Cashman. “The Cascadia Subduction Zone has the power to produce a 9.0 magnitude shaker that could wreak havoc on Humboldt County.”
The Cascadia Subduction Zone itself is the plate boundary between the Juan de Fuca Plate and the North American Plate. It stretches all the way from British Columbia to the cold and desolate beaches of the Lost Coast.
Cashman expressed the importance of preparation in the event that such a catastrophe should occur. “Students need to be aware of the possible dangers that accompany living in a seismically active region,” said Cashman. “At any time all hell could break loose and the only preparation is knowledge along with knowing what to do in the situation.”
Most classrooms at Humboldt allowed students to get under their desks and simulate their reactions to a sudden earthquake.
Business major Mick Johnson, 21, discussed this experience during the drill.
“I was in one of my morning business classes when my professor told us to get under the desks,” said Johnson. “To be honest most students were screwing around and didn’t take it seriously which is unfortunate.”
Johnson explained his past experiences with earthquakes based on the region he lived in. “When I was younger there was an odd earthquake swarm where I lived in Reno, Nev.,” said Johnson.
“Reno is not really considered earthquake country but it took us all by surprise especially the state government which had no idea how to respond.”
Kinesiology major Danielle Gaumer, 19, discussed other methods for preparation within your own home.
“Have flash lights on hand and extra water in case the power goes out in the earthquake or the damage is really bad,” said Gaumer. “Know safety spots to hide in your house in the event of an earthquake.”
The Shakeout’s plan is simple; promote preparation while informing citizens of the right things to do during chaos. It is definitely a positive to promote awareness as well because most students do not take earthquakes seriously. In the end the ones who are most prepared will be the ones most likely to survive the disaster unscathed.