It's the crust's fault
Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter signed a proclamation Oct. 1, 2009, making October “Earthquake Awareness Month” in Idaho. Oct. 28 is the 27th anniversary of the magnitude 6.9 Borah Peak Earthquake. The 1983 earthquake still ranks as one of the strongest quakes in the lower 48 states during the past 50 years.
Ada County is outside of the Seismic Zone where this event was centered, but residents of the county could feel the earth tremble. The question that remains is, could Ada County experience such a powerful earthquake?
The Earth’s crust is made up of separate moving landmasses called tectonic plates. These plates grind and slide passed one another as a normal part of their movement. The edges of these plates are not smooth. As two adjacent plates move, the jagged edges of the plates will get stuck and pressure will build up along these portions of the two plates.
When the pressure becomes too great, the two plates will suddenly slip past one another. The surface where the slip takes place is called a fault or fault plane. The sudden movement or slip is an earthquake.
Squaw Creek Fault
Water Tank Fault
The Proverbial Pebble in the Pond
You don’t have to be anywhere near the epicenter to be affected. Computer estimates on the likely damage from an earthquake are exactly that, estimates. It is unknown what would actually happen to the developed areas of Ada County. Even if the buildings survive an earthquake with minimal damage that does not mean life will be unchanged.
Utilities, phone service, fuel, sewer and fresh water conveyance systems all could be damaged. Roads and bridges might be temporarily unuseable. Dams and canals could be damaged, adding flooding to the list of issues associated with the quake. Communications systems could go down making it extremely difficult to relay public needs to the first responders. Private citizens could be faced with temporary isolation and lack of normal services.
“Your future depends on many things, but mostly it depends on you.” - Frank Tyger
Earthquakes can cause injuries and isolate people from food and hygiene supplies, everyday amenities (fresh water, restrooms) and from one another. To overcome these difficulties one must plan and prepare ahead of time. There are seven steps to earthquake safety. They can be found inside the publication “Putting Down Roots In Earthquake Country.” To view the booklet go to: http://www.accem.org/pdf/eqcountry.pdf To view ACCEM's monthly bulletin visit the website.