Scientist admits that Los Angeles could be at imminent threat from an earthquake
There's no doubt that we are currently living in very difficult times. Nuclear war and climate change are now very real threats and it seems like with each day, there is a real danger of the world as we know it being destroyed. Whether it is the flexing of nuclear muscles by Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, or the constant barrage of natural disasters, the world is certainly going through a difficult period.
Over the last week, we have seen two earthquakes hit Mexico, causing huge amounts of destruction and killing more than 200 people in the country's capital. On top of this, there has been two more tremors felt in New Zealand, with the damage (thankfully) being significantly less than what happened in South America.
However, Ekbal Hussain, who is a research scientist at the University of Leeds has called for calm, saying that the freak incidents should be treated as coincidental. He said:
"We should not be worried, earthquakes are random. The increasing concern for us is that big cities that are growing in earthquake-prone regions.
"We can't stop earthquakes, but we can understand how buildings and people respond to them. Particularly in central Asia, where there are huge mega-cities with populations of more than 10 million people. When you get a big earthquake in those regions it can cause a lot of damage and kill a lot of people."
"From an engineer's point of view, we understand how to live with earthquakes pretty well. They are good at designing buildings and bridges to withstand shaking.
"We don't need to predict earthquakes to live with them. We need to have proper governance, proper building plans and proper risk management in place. Then we can live with them.
"Japan has more than 600 earthquakes every year and very few people die in them. That's mainly because they have good plans, good buildings and good governance in place. If you have 600 earthquakes in places that don't have that, that's when many die, and they don't need to."
Mexico resides on one of the most active plate boundaries in the world and The British Geological Survey has found that there have been 20 earthquakes in the past 10 years that have had a magnitude of 6.5 or above within 20 km of Mexico City.
Ekbal claims that the earthquakes in New Zealand and Mexico were random as they both sit on different plates, so the release of seismic energy at the same time is purely a matter of coincidence.
"When this tension reaches critical point, it releases all that energy in what we know as an earthquake," Ekbal explained. "We don't like the word predictions because it has all manner of negative connotations, but we are comfortable with the word forecasting and early warnings."
Yet according to Ekbal, once place that should be concerned about the threat of an Earthquake is Los Angeles:
"The Americans are very concerned about the San Andreas fault because a large portion of it, particularly to the south, near Los Angeles, hasn't ruptured in quite a long time.
"We don't like to use the word overdue, but there hasn't been one there in a long time, and it's due to rupture soon."
"There is going to be an earthquake there soon, we don't know when. Obviously, people in America are very concerned and what makes LA more vulnerable is that it sits on loose sediment, and most of the city is built on this. In an earthquake, like sand, it increases the shaking of a building.
"They have strict building codes and they are aware of the problem, and hopefully they are preparing for it, because it could happen.
"It could happen today, tomorrow, 10 years from now, 50 years from now. We just know that the energy is being stored along the fault and it must be released, you can't not release it.
"They are sitting on a loaded spring, waiting to go."
While an earthquake in Los Angeles is seemingly inevitable, lets just hope it doesn't cause the same amount of destruction as we have seen in Mexico over the past few days.