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Welcome to The Porterville Post -- A Christian Conservative publication. In the coming months we will be covering news from the local area and eventually expand with additional articles, writers and columnists. A.L."LUCKY" Lucketta : Editor
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(Sept 21 2008) - An Interview with Mr. Andy Snyder - USGS
By Post Editor - A. L. "LUCKY" Lucketta

Last week the Post had a chance to interview geologist Andy Snyder, who works for the United States Geological Survey {USGS} - right in his own back yard, or better yet, right in the middle of earthquake territory - Parkfield California. Mr. Snyder was gracious enough to grant the Post an impromptu interview and shared some interesting, albeit, important information regarding earthquakes in this state.

Most folks, who live in California, know that sooner or later you will feel an earthquake. Hopefully the magnitude won't be that large or the epicenter won't be that close to where you live. But if it shows up anywhere in California, you can bet your last dollar that the USGS has instruments all over this state to tell you, when, where and how big.

"Back in the 70's, according to Mr. Snyder, the USGS started installing instruments that could measure earthquake activity. At first we rented a huge ranch house in Parkfield and people were coming from all over to set up their own instruments. But now that they are all set up we don't need that big a space because we're in the monitoring phase."

And yes, the Post asked Mr. Snyder about predicting the next earthquake, you know - the big one, and where will it hit. Helping us with our terminology, Mr. Snyder stated that the USGS does not predict earthquakes or use the word 'predict' in the phrasing of earthquake activity or earthquake cycles. Probability, describes their monitoring better, and much of the research data of earthquake cycles lends itself to probabilities, not predictions.

A few more questions from the Post :

Post : How would you describe to the public earthquake probabilities and cycles ?

Mr. Snyder : "California's earthquake areas not only have different cycles but different characteristics. In the northern and southern areas, these sections are classified as locked. Meaning ... that pressure and stress is building up in those areas all the time and it may take a little longer to release the stress because of the land and type of faults on that section of land. Some say these earthquake cycles occur over between 100 to 300 years and when they give way, the magnitude is historically larger.

Post : What about Central California ?

Mr. Snyder : "In the central area of California, from highway 46 up to San Juan Batista, that section is always creeping or sliding and is not locked. Their earthquake cycles are shorter {20 to 40 years} and are less in magnitude. That was the reason this earthquake network was set up in the 70's to try and catch earthquakes in human lifetime cycles. So when we had an earthquake(s) here {Parkfield} in 1857, 1881, 1901, 1922, 1934, 1966 and after 66, we thought this would be a great place to catch an earthquake. And the next anticipated earthquake was in September of 2004."

Post : Anticipated ... What do you mean by that ?

Mr. Snyder : "After we had all these earth quakes with a magnitude of 6 and after 1966 we would have one every 20-30 years so you'd take 30 years and add it on to the last earthquake in 1966 and you get a good idea {probability} when the next one might occur. Now the 2004 was a little late and we thought it would occur in the 90's when the last one hit."

Post : What happened in 1983 with the Coalinga earthquake ?

Mr. Snyder : "That one we think took some of the stress off of the San Andreas. And what happen in 2003 the San Simian earthquake ... so it might have reapplied the stress on the fault and 9 month later {2004} we had the Parkfield earthquake."

Post : Is the State of California Prepared ?

Mr. Snyder : "In November we are having what's called 'A Big Shake Out' because on the southern end of the San Andreas we have -- or we're going to have a big earthquake drill. And we're going to get all the emergency services and everybody in line so they can attack the aftermath of an earthquake. And that will take in FEMA, OES, USGS services, all the hospitals and everybody involved in emergency services. Because ... this southern section it last ruptured in 1857 {the Fort Tejon earthquake} and Fort Tejon was totally destroyed. Imagine if that repeats now, The timeline for the southern section is 100 to 300 years and it's been over 150 years already (1857). That's why L.A. is preparing."

Post : What about earthquake activity in Porterville ?

Mr. Snyder : "You don't see too much activity in Porterville, and the reason for that - {looking at the computer screen} - here's where you are, there's not much structure - {sides of mountain ranges} - there. And so occasionally you get a little earthquake. And last week you guys had one but it was pretty small {1.2} and odds are no one felt it."

Mr. Snyder : "You are in a less earthquake prone area. There's no history of devastating earthquakes. Although, you are not that far from the Garlock Fault and if there was a good size earthquake, Porterville would feel that one."

POST : How do we warn the community regarding possible earthquakes ?

Mr. Snyder : "We can't do that. There would be some sort of a panic and what you would see is an emergency evacuation that's similar to evacuating folks in hurricanes. The people who organize evacuations, however, are getting better at it. Many of the personnel they use are 'CALM' people. Like I said, we can't predict short term earthquakes, so basically you have to prepare ahead of time and take certain measure in your home. The most important measure is to make sure your ceiling diaphragm is attached to the walls, or it will collapse- especially masonry buildings. And know how to shut off your water, gas and electric."

Mr. Snyder : "We have a web service that displays what we upload and filters out for the public. And you can see on the web site some of the probabilities for the next 24 hours based on past information. People can look at the shake maps that are colorized to prepare as well. And the public can take and use measurements to retro-fit buildings and bridges, hospitals."

The Post, we wants the public to know, that another part of being prepared is to pray and ask GOD what He would have you do to prepare you, your family and yes, your neighborhood. All too often we wait until it's too late and then get before GOD. The Bible does say that in the last days we will see an increase in earthquakes, like never before. So get ready ... to be a Christian and serve those who need help.

The Post, after looking at a lot of scientific information and a lot of prayer, believes that we may not feel 'The Big One' but we are very sure that the Porterville area will be used by GOD in the last days ... possibly to help our brothers and sisters who may be evacuated to our small town.

So get ready ... and Praise The LORD ! BTW -- If you want to share your personal earthquake story with Mr. Andy Snyder, e-mail him at asnyder@usgs.gov.

A. L. "LUCKY" Lucketta - Editor

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