Karen Fratti
November 10, 2017 8:07 am
Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

If you were in the Los Angeles area last night, you might have woken up around 1:25 a.m. and wondered what the heck was going on. A 3.2 earthquake hit L.A., and people are pretty unsettled. It was a shallow quake, and according to the Los Angeles Times, its epicenter was two miles from Lennox and another two miles from Willowbrook — right around the meeting place of the 101 and 105 freeways.

Thankfully, there are currently no major reports of damage, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t scary. Tremors like these are a reminder that a major earthquake could happen at some point, much like it did in January 1994, when a 6.7 magnitude quake hit the city.

In September, two deadly quakes hit Mexico, one after the other, which led many to worry about what they meant for California. Another small earthquake also struck in the L.A. area that month. Mark Schlaich, vice president of engineering at Los Angeles-based Alpha Structural Inc., told CNN at the time that it was a stark reminder that another “big one” is coming. Schlach said, “Every 20-25 years, Los Angeles has been hit by a major earthquake. Statistically, it’s coming.”

Thomas Jordan, director of the Southern California Earthquake Centre, told The Independent, “Any time there is significant seismic activity in the vicinity of the San Andreas fault, we seismologists get nervous. We recognize that the probability of having a large earthquake goes up.”

In 2015, to prepare for the next “big one,” California passed a law to retrofit structures so that buildings could withstand a large quake, marking one of the most extensive earthquake preparation plans ever. Researchers found in 2008 that there is a 99 percent chance of a 6.7 magnitude earthquake happening in the next 30 years.

Hopefully, the next “big one” holds out long enough for the state to prepare for any potential damage. Last night’s quake was small, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be prepared.

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