California Earthquake Risk – What Are the Threats?

Posted August 26, 2021, under Blog

California is known for its beautiful landscape … and its active fault lines. So what earthquake risk does our Golden State really have? The L.A. Times broke down a few of the biggest threats facing California if a major earthquake were to strike.

Check out their list below:

  1. Utilities fail: One of the most immediate issues Californians would face after a major earthquake is the failure of vital utilities like power, gas, and water. One of the most vulnerable regions in Southern California is the Cajon pass which runs parallel to the 15 Interstate, north of San Bernadino. If a major quake occurred along that region of the San Andreas fault line, it could intersect with natural gas and petroleum pipelines, electrical transmission lines, train tracks and the 15 freeway. A massive earthquake would be capable of moving one side of the fault as far as 30 feet from the other which could rupture these flammable pipelines and lead to a giant explosion, creating a massive crater.

Such an explosion could create massive, uncontainable wildfires in the region spanning across the San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountains. In order to prevent a scenario like this, California would need to install shutoff valves on both sides of the San Andreas fault on the petroleum and natural gas pipelines.

Other utilities affected could be California’s water supply. Burst water pipes could leave many Southern Californians without running water for six months. While retrofitting all of California’s water pipelines would be far too big of an undertaking, some retrofitting measures need to be taken in order to protect the states water supply in an event like this.

  1. Buildings collapse/destroyed: While residents and building owners have started to retrofit weak structures, there are still a number of vulnerable buildings in the state. In Southern California, “brittle concrete towers” makeup large districts in Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and on Wilshire and Ventura Boulevards. There are still a number of soft story apartment structures in Los Angeles (which accounted for the death of 16 people during the Northridge quake) and steel skyscrapers that would not be able to withstand the shaking from a massive temblor.

In fact, according to the USGS there are 50 brittle concrete buildings in Los Angeles (housing 7,500 people) that are at risk of completely or partially collapsing during a 7.8 earthquake or greater. There are also at least five high-rise steel buildings that hold roughly 5,000 people that are also at risk of collapse during a large seismic event.

  1. Foundations crumble: While single-story homes are considered much safer than soft story structures or unreinforced masonry buildings, there still an estimated 1.2 million homes in California that are lacking modern structural reinforcements to withstand a large earthquake. These deficiencies can render a property unlivable. Homes that were built before 1980 – and especially those before 1940 – need either foundation repair or foundation replacement. These homes haven’t been properly braced and bolted to the foundation, which means the walls and wood beams that keep the house off of the ground haven’t been correctly secured to withstand intense shaking. If a major earthquake were to strike Los Angeles, these homes would slide right off their foundations which would cause the structure to buckle.

If you think your home is in need of foundation repair, foundation replacement and/or earthquake retrofitting, contact Julian Construction today and we will send one of our foundation specialists out to conduct a free, thorough inspection with a quote for repair.

We have extensive experience serving our Los Angeles community and nearby regions. In fact, Julian Construction has inspected over 30,000 structures in the area!

Julian Construction was formed in 1994 and our focus has always been on building foundations, doing foundation repair and replacement, earthquake retrofitting, and house leveling.

When you work with Julian Construction, you get the principles of the company and the workers of Julian Construction under your home.

And in order to keep foundation repair affordable for our customers, we offer a price guarantee — because we know our quote for repair will represent your very best value.

Give us a call at (323) 733-3377 to schedule your free inspection or complete the inspection request form.

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