The Northridge California Earthquake

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Hazards pose risk to everyone. Our acceptance of the risks associated with hazards dictates where and how we live. As humans, we accept a certain amount of risk when choosing to live our daily lives. From time to time, a hazard becomes an emergent situation. Tornadoes in the Midwest, hurricanes along the Gulf Coast or earthquakes in California are all hazards that residents in those regions accept and live with. This paper will examine one hazard that caused a disaster requiring a response from emergency management personnel. Specifically, the hazard more closely examined here is an earthquake. With the recent twenty year anniversary covered by many media outlets, the January 17, 1994, Northridge, California earthquake to date is the most expensive earthquake in American history.
Before examining the Northridge event, understanding the naturally occurring hazard that is an earthquake will help to better understand exactly what happened and why it was such an important geological event. With four distinct layers, two layers, the crust and upper portion of the mantle, compose the skin that is the surface layer of the Earth. The crust is not a single, continuous piece. It is actually several different pieces, or plates, that come together to form the puzzle that comprises the surface of the Earth. These plates are in constant motion rubbing against one another. These areas, known as fault lines, where the plates rub up against one another have spots where one plate ”gets stuck while the rest of the plate keeps moving. When the plate has moved far enough, the edges unstick and is how most of the earthquakes around the world occur” (Wald, 2012). The energy stored from the friction of the two plate...

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...e earthquake: 1994 quake still fresh in Los Angeles minds after 20 years. Retrieved from
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Oskin, B. (2013). Foreshocks announce future earthquakes on some faults. Retrieved from
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