On October 18th, in the early hours of the morning, Compton was rocked by a 3.7 earthquake. This magnitude is not enough to cause any substantial damage, thankfully. But the earthquake serves as a reminder that everyone in the San Fernando Valley should be prepared. If you haven’t begun your retrofit now is the time to hire one of the many retrofit companies in Los Angeles.
According to the US Geological Survey, the early morning tremor was centered in Compton but felt all the way to Orange County. The center occurred just two miles from a known strand of the Newport-Inglewood fault. Back in 1933, this same fault ruptured causing a 6.4 earthquake that resulted in 120 deaths.
Over the years, advances in technology have improved the way geologists and scientists record and predict earthquakes. They can take data collected over months and years and use it to create simulations that help them predict when the next quake is likely to strike and how much damage can be expected. New technology has also helped in locating and mapping new fault lines.
5 Major Fault Lines in or near Los Angeles
Literally 100’s of fault lines run below the city of Los Angeles. And for all of the ones that have been mapped, there are likely even more that haven’t been found yet. The fault line responsible for the Northridge Earthquake of 1994 was one that was unknown. Over the last couple of years, so many new faults have been discovered that the state of California is now mandating new fault maps be created.
These new maps will have a direct impact on new construction in the city. All earthquake retrofit contractors in Los Angeles need to get their hands on these new maps. Many of these new fault lines could have a direct impact on the retrofit projects that are ongoing as part of LA’s mandatory seismic ordinances. Currently, five major fault lines have been identified that are likely to erupt in the near future.
San Andreas Fault
The most well-known fault line in all of Southern California is the San Andreas. For years folks have been predicting a major earthquake from this fault that will cause California to fall into the ocean. Hollywood has even made plenty of movies and TV shows about it happening. Experts all agree that it is highly unlikely the San Andreas can generate an earthquake large enough to separate the state from the continent.
The last big earthquake generated by the San Andreas was 162 years ago. Recent research shows the fault line is due for a major rupture on the southern end. But predicting exactly when an earthquake will happen is tricky. The average interval between quakes on the San Andreas range from 44 – 305 years. A simulation was done in 2017 and estimated that an earthquake on this fault of 7.8 could result in $200 billion in damage, 50,000 injuries, and 2,000 deaths.
Puente Hills Thrust
The Puente Hills Thrust was located in 1999 and is believed by many experts to be the most dangerous fault in LA. This fault runs through the heart of the city beneath Downtown and Hollywood. Unlike many of the other faults known as slip-strikes, which move horizontally, the Puente Hills Thrust moves at a diagonal angle. A major quake on this fault would disrupt, if not completely halt, all city government agencies. Both City Hall and the Emergency Operation Center lie on this fault.
The Newport-Inglewood fault is also considered to be more dangerous than the San Andreas. It runs directly beneath many cities in Southern California. So far it has been mapped from the Westside of Los Angeles all the way to Long Beach on the Orange County coast. Geologists think it may also be connected to the Rose Canyon fault that runs down to San Diego.
In a 2017 simulation, geologists determined that the Newport-Inglewood fault is likely to rupture in connection with the Rose Canyon fault. Working together, these two faults could generate an earthquake of 7.5 that would impact a trail of gas and oil facilities across the county. Major facilities, such as the Inglewood Oil Field and the fuel storage for LAX could be affected.
If this were to happen, fuel supplies would be hard hit. Owners of electric vehicles would be spared, but commercial truck drivers, residents and major airlines may be limited by this lack of gas. For this reason, Los Angeles has the largest fleet of electric-powered vehicles in the country. Lack of fuel could also impact the work being done by the many retrofit companies in Los Angeles.
Palos Verdes Fault
Running along the coastline from Orange County to the Port of Los Angeles is the Palos Verdes Fault. The US Geological Survey reported in 2017, that a quake measuring 7.3, or larger, could decimate the port. This devastation would have a direct impact on the flow of goods, food and medical supplies across the country. Of all the goods imported to the US, about 20% comes through the Port of LA.
That same simulation shows an estimate of just over 2,000 buildings that will be damaged and the possibility of 200 people that may be killed. As part of the city’s plan to create a more resilient city, the port is undergoing a seismic retrofit. One way that earthquake contractors in Los Angeles are doing this is by adding more cement below the port’s most vulnerable areas.
Santa Monica Fault
During the past year, many of the new maps made of fault lines show that the Santa Monica Fault is longer than previously believed. This longer fault brings with it the potential to generate a larger earthquake than geologists originally thought.
The fault is now shown to extend from Santa Monica past the UCLA medical center and ending very close to the Cedars Sinai complex. A large earthquake on this fault could seriously impact patients in the medical centers, along with making it difficult for anyone injured in the earthquake to be able to get care.
The Hollywood Fault is one of the new faults that were mapped this year. It runs underneath some highly residential neighborhoods into the Hollywood Hills. A major earthquake on this fault line could result in millions of dollars in property damage and thousands of injuries.
Many of the neighborhoods on this fault line are high landslide risks. If the ground gives way during an earthquake, residents could by trapped due to collapsed driveways and canyon roads that are cut off and impassable for vehicles of any kind. Experts recommend that residents in these types of neighborhoods have a plan in place for how to evacuate or navigate around obstacles when a disaster strikes.
Retrofit Companies Los Angeles
If you haven’t hired a company for your retrofit project yet, what are you waiting for? This month’s quake should be an indication to you that time could be running out. Not only is the deadline for the LA soft-story retrofit program quickly approaching, but no one knows when a major earthquake is likely to happen. What all the experts can agree on is that it will happen.
Since the seismic program was rolled out in 2015, numerous retrofit companies have popped up all over the city. When it comes time you hire one for your property take the time to find a reliable one. Many of these newcomers will offer you a great price but don’t necessarily deliver a great retrofit.
Getting your property ready for a major earthquake should be at the top of your preparedness list. Not only is it necessary for LA residents and property owners, but an earthquake retrofit can also save you hundreds of dollars in repairs later and save the lives of the people you love. One of the leading companies in the area is RetroFitting 360.
Who we are
RetroFitting 360 is one of the leading retrofit companies in Los Angeles. Our professionally trained contractors have been improving the vulnerability of many apartment complexes and soft-story structures throughout the city. We offer a free initial consultation to get you started. Once that is complete, we will provide you with a detailed work plan that includes retrofit options for your property, an estimated cost of the work, and a timeframe for when it will be completed.
We know that the retrofitting process can be confusing and quite long. We will work with you every step of the way. We handle the retrofit design, the application for the construction permit, filling out and filing the THP, and even contacting the city inspector at the end of the job. If you have any questions, please give us a call today.