Earthquakes rattle the SMC community

In the last month the ground beneath our feet has been stirring. Students were awakened from their rare slumber and frightened pets scrambled across the southland.

During the month of March, a total of four earthquakes have occurred in California. Magnitudes ranging from 3.6 magnitude earthquake on March 29 to the 6.8 magnitude in Ferndale on March 10 have shook up the state.

The sudden rise in seismic activity is raising, once again, the issue of earthquake preparedness.

As a result, earthquake awareness has reached such a level that an anonymous hoaxer attempted an April’s Fool prank by sending out a letter warning Southern California residents of a supposed upcoming 7.4 magnitude earthquake.

Though the letter appeared to be written on official United States Geological Survery letterhead, the organization denied the authenticity of the letter stating, “USGS does not predict earthquakes,” in an official statement posted on the organization’s Facebook page.

While the letter was not received humorously, it stirred a debate amongst Santa Monica College students whether or not the “Big One,” may be close.

SMC student London Tran was asleep when the 4.4 earthquake on March 17 occurred, but it only took him a quarter of a second to recognize the signs of an earthquake.

“I am concerned that the big earthquake will come soon,” he shared. “Scientists suggest that there is a 99 percent chance that it will happen within the next 30 years. But which of those years will be the unlucky winner?”

However, not every student is terrified of a looming “Big One.”

Student Andres Mourelo adapted to the frequent earthquakes in his native Costa Rica where they are a more common occurrence.

I have found earthquakes to be fun and funny. I do worry about the infrastructure of certain buildings, but in the end, we can't fear the possibility of the 'Big-One', since we have the knowledge that California is prone to having earthquakes,” Mourelo said.

One major issue that students face in the event of an earthquake is where they could go to safely ride out the tremors.

Student Brenda Cruz said that if caught in the quad she would find a safe space in the Organic Learning Garden.

Mourelo, on the other hand, would ride out the earthquake where he stood.

“Moving when the ground is shaking is silly. I am already in open space, I would remain calm, and let mama-earth do what it needs to do,” he said.

James PowelComment