Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

New Maps Show Earthquake Hazards

The new California Geologic Survey’s map of LA earthquake faults, fault zones and liquefaction zones.

Thursday’s shaker in the Channel Islands was a good reminder that big quakes do happen, will happen, and that we are quite overdue for a really big one.  So we thought it might be useful to pass along links to some handy maps that show potential earthquake hazards in our area, and which may indicate the relative safety of our neighborhoods and the buildings in them.

First, the California Geological Survey recently released an updated interactive map of the state’s earthquake faults, fault zones and liquefaction zones.  As the slice above indicates, our portion of Los Angeles does not sit directly atop any of these major hazard areas.  That’s good news.

As the map shows, however, there are faults and fault zones to our north, east, west and south, so – as those of us who have lived here a while know – we can and do feel shaking when quakes happen around us.  And that shaking can still be dangerously intense in big quakes.

That’s where another handy map – this one released by the LA Times in 2016 – comes in.  The Times map (also interactive) shows “soft story” apartment buildings throughout the city that are still in need of earthquake retrofits.  (Soft story buildings, according to Wikipedia, are multi-story structures “in which one or more floors have windows, wide doors, large unobstructed commercial spaces, or other openings in places where a shear wall would normally be required for stability as a matter of earthquake engineering design.”)

Once again, many of our local neighborhoods have very few entries on the map…but there are several areas, in the denser areas along the eastern portion of the Buzz’s readership area between Wilton and Western, where many buildings have not yet received the legally-mandated updates and  may be at greater risk than others for damage during a big quake.  (To see if your building is among them, click on the map section below, which will take you to the interactive version on the Times website.)

Despite the comparatively low incidence of direct earthquake hazards in our area, however, potential for serious damage does exist, and preparation for the inevitable is still essential.  So it’s always a good idea to stock up on supplies, and to take advantage of local preparedness resources.  For example, the LAFD’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program provides free disaster preparedness and response training for community members…and the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council will hold an earthquake preparedness event later this spring.  (The date is still TBD, but we’ll have more information about it as soon as it’s available.)

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Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN but has lived in LA since 1991 - with deep roots in both the Sycamore Square and West Adams Heights-Sugar Hill neighborhoods. She spent 10 years with the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, volunteers at Wilshire Crest Elementary School, and has been writing for the Buzz since 2015.

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