Monday, October 4, 2010

East Coast Residents Should Anticipate Large Earthquakes

By Michael Bednarsky
Arts & Entertainment Editor

The Atlantic Northeast might one day be an infamous victim of Mother Nature.
Courtesy of

We live in the New York metropolitan region. Most of us are ignorant of the different routines of those who are far away, certainly with weather. When we think of California, for instance, the idea conjured up consists of beautiful girls, beaches, medical cannabis, and earthquakes.

Be sure to ponder that last one: earthquakes. There are several scientific studies regarding California's literal connection to the remainder of the United States; one day it will separate, and plate tectonics are mainly to blame.

A lot of people around here will go about their day at the usual rushed pace without much thought about earthquakes, but they would have to think again. We are overdue for an earthquake: a damaging, malevolent, and terrain-rearranging earthquake. Not “we” as in Bridgeport, or even the state of Connecticut. “We” as in the entire East Coast, combining New England, the Tri-State Area and even Canada.

Last June, a minor earthquake occurred between Ontario and Quebec, which trickled down into upstate New York, reaching all five boroughs of New York City. According the NY1 News Channel, the earthquake lasted for only thirty seconds, with a magnitude of 5.5. For some, this brought fears connected to their memories of 9/11.

Clearly, we are not impenetrable, but my how fortunate we have been with earthquakes! On the other hand, we have had our run-ins with hurricanes. The most-destructive hurricane for us was the “Long Island Express” hurricane (also known as the “Great New England Hurricane”), back in 1938. Places like the aforementioned California deal with natural disasters frequently, and midwestern states like Kansas take pride in the weather dilemmas that formed their history.

We, however, have a slate that has been sparsely tarnished. In 2008, New York Magazine announced that is it only a matter time before we have another issue, noting that New York's worst earthquake was near the Rockaway Peninsula, in the borough of Queens. This was in 1884, with a magnitude of 5. Another dilemma like this, especially in Manhattan, would cause financial setbacks that would deteriorate the environment and universal image of the location for some time.

We are less likely to be attacked by Mother Nature through earthquakes mainly because of the landscape. There's a reason why Western states are more prone to being hit. Earthquakes are caused by tectonic plates rubbing against each other, which perpetuate pressure, and the eventual split of the Earth's surface.

Parts of California are located on either the Pacific plate or the North American plate; the whole state is exposed to a fault line (the infamous San Andreas fault), making the ground a larger threat than in other areas. Los Angeles, one of California's many legendary cities, is about only fifty kilometers from the San Andreas fault, with smaller fault lines through the metropolis as well. After absorbing these details, it's obvious why the West Coast has a surplus of earthquake events.

It is near-impossible to guarantee when another earthquake will take place on the East Coast. A journalist is not well-equipped enough to predict it, unless there's a heavy interest and experience with weather present. With me, this is not the case; I am only delivering a cautionary announcement of what is to come.

Do not fear the future, though. When a state like California can work through natural disasters with ease, there is no reason why we cannot follow suit.

Any thing that happens will be worth talking about, and if an intense earthquake here is in my lifetime, the first thing I will remember will be writing of this article. Until then, I will enjoy or at least tolerate the weather near my residence, and patiently wait for the potential headline news.

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