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Crosscurrents logo 2021

Seismic Fallout: What comes after the next 'Big One'?

Under CC license from Flickr user Boston Public Library. (https://www.flickr.com/photos/boston_public_library/13269647935)
Kilburn, B. W. (Benjamin West), 1827-1909 (photographer)
Amid the gray and blackened waste, great earthquake, San Francisco

The shift in landscape is inevitable, especially when you live on a fault-line, like many of us on the West Coast do. A recent report from the US Geological survey found that California’s earthquake map extends over a wider area than previously thought, raising hazard estimates for places like San Jose and Vallejo while reducing estimates in Oakland.

This raises questions about what life in the Bay Area would be like after a major earthquake, and how prepared we are to cope with it.

I sat down with journalist Ethan Watters to talk about his essay, “Shaken,” which explores what might happen after the next ‘Big One’ hits the Bay.

WATTERS: It turns out that the people that really study these things, that have looked at major disasters that have happened around the world, all come to the same conclusion, which is that people are in some ways, you know, our minds are bread for disaster… And the things that we do for each other after that moment, particularly in the first few days--first hours and first few days--are really remarkable.

For more seismic predictions from Ethan Watters, click here to check out his article "Shaken."