Over the past two weeks, I have released a series on prepper relocation that completely changes the old conventional theories that drove prepper relocation strategies (See: http://www.lastminutesurvival.com/?s=prepper+relocation). The key takeaway you learned from the research is that you do not need to relocate to a remote region to survive. In fact, it is actually counterproductive to be too isolated. Now that you know relocation to a place like Idaho is no longer necessary and even counterproductive, where are the best places to relocate? The good news is that you have far greater options depending on what you are prepping for in light of the results of my research. In today’s conclusion to the five part series, I will introduce you to both domestic and international options that are readily available to anyone looking for a thorough, full spectrum relocation strategy that will work even under the most extreme situations. Read more
Archive for Earthquakes
I routinely read articles online where individuals pontificate about where the best places for preppers to live or relocate too are. What I don’t usually see is any real cognitive effort to do a realistic analysis and assessment. This should be a red flag. Selecting your relocation site is one of the most important decisions a prepper must make. It is too important to be made on hearsay and opinions. Therefore, I am going to question that contemporary prepper relocation logic. I am going to debunk common myths and offer better alternatives that will help you develop a personalized answer to what truly is you “best prepper place to relocate.” When this series is complete, you will be armed with critical information necessary for identifying your ideal relocation spot. Don’t be surprised if after this eye opening series your philosophy on how you previously evaluated and envisioned your relocation site looks completely different.
Most preparedness “experts” would define the common prepper relocation logic is to find a place as far as possible from other people in an area still suitable for an off-grid, self-sustaining lifestyle. This implies the location has ample water, good soil, and a good growing season. Add a couple wild card factors like being outside the blast radius and fallout pattern of a nuclear detonation and avoiding known earthquake prone areas and most preppers conclude that Idaho is the choice destination. James Wesley Rawles, a man well known and respected throughout the prepper community and a recognized expert on the field is a big advocate of this relocation option. In Rawles’ defense, Idaho may indeed be a good location for some preppers for some reasons. However, Rawles and many others are basing many of their primary assumptions on outdated information, obsolete tactics and techniques, and generally old school logic that when tested in real world scenarios, fails. I don’t take this indictment lightly. If we get this wrong, we die and that is why it is so important we first question some of the fundamental assumptions the conventional prepper relocation plan is based upon. Read more
-Seismic activity has markedly increased globally over the last few months and 2015 may prove to be an above average year. Major quakes have struck the Pacific Ring to include the disastrous quake in Nepal. Just yesterday evening a large quake struck northern Alaska. Further and I believe most likely related, volcanic activity is spiking globally. Just this week a volcano in Southern Japan literally exploded while volcanoes from Chile to Hawaii are again spewing lava and ash. These events tend to go in cycles as fault lines unzip and pressure is released. One can reasonable expect more events in the coming months and should be on high alert if they live near/on a fault line, near an active volcano, or along a coast vulnerable to tsunamis. Further, sustained volcanic activity will affect weather patterns and could lead to cooler than normal temperatures for months after the eruption. Currently, this is not an issue, but if other major eruptions occur this year and are sustained, this will certainly alter the Earth’s weather because the ash gets swept up into the high atmosphere where it spreads globally and reflects sunlight.
-ISIL still holds Ramadi contrary to US Secretary of State John Kerry’s stupid predictions last week. ISIL has now likely outmaneuvered the Iraqi counter attack claiming to have encircled “on 3 sides” the terrorist army. I am not sure how that translates to “encircled,” but whether or not there was a problem with the Arabic translation, in plain English that means ISIL has a flank wide open to reinforce or retreat through and they likely exploited this gap. The fact that we haven’t seen an outright retreat of ISIL from Ramadi, which the Iraqi government would quickly publicize, tells you everything you need to know about the facts on the ground. Further, as the Iraqi Army bears down on Ramadi, ISIL will no doubt maneuver its main element to attack where the Iraqi Army is not in strength. I would rate it highly likely that Fallujah, Hit, and areas of Baghdad will be attacked whether or not ISIL conducts a tactical withdrawal from Ramadi. This tactic has already demonstrated it is effective against the slow and unwieldy government forces. It wears them down, attrits their forces, and demoralizes the government. The war will only intensify and if ISIL is not dislodged from Ramadi within the next week, it will likely solidify and hold its gains making any future attempts to dislodge them extremely costly for the Iraqi military.
-The US admits Obama’s ISL “strategy” is not working. Reports also are trickling out of major dissent within the Pentagon. Further, as predicted, airstrikes have proved of limited value and now the military is saying it needs to commit more troops. I warned of this predictable escalation back to a full scale war in the Middle East. Humility truly is a virtue so I take no please in saying once again, “I told you so.” In fact, last year, I was so disgusted with even the mere use of the term “strategy,” that I wrote an entire piece blasting the Administration and its completely idiotic, non-strategy, that was predestined to failure. If you truly want to understand why we are failing and Iraq and why it will only get worse as I verbatim described in my analysis, you need to read and share: http://www.blackboxwire.com/2014/10/11/islamic-extremism-and-what-lies-ahead-part-ii-the-war-on-isis-and-syria/. You can then read the short follow-up to the above article at:
The five minutes you spend reading these two articles will serve as one of the best primers to understanding the escalating crisis in Iraq and the greater Middle East and why we are getting it wrong. Rather than just calling out incompetents/incompetence in the government, I am going to simply name key individuals that have legitimate influence and ask them to take notes. Perhaps 99% will never see the article or read it, but if even 1% takes the time to skim the article, progress is being made. Today, I want to challenge @Phil_Gaskin, who most likely finds my anti-leftist statements blasphemy, but I want to give him the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps he is the sole voice of reason in the Administration…I don’t know. What I do know is he is smart enough to read my articles and understand that by adopting what I am recommending would save everyone a lot of heartache and inject some professionalism into what, to date, has been a never ending policy amateur hour of disaster after disaster. So to you Phil Gaskin, I challenge you to have a sit down discussion about what a real ISIL strategy should be.
-The draconian anti-“Patriot Act” is due to sunset this weekend. Americans that still value their civil liberties would celebrate this law expiring, but have little optimism anything will change. In fact, it is likely that President Obama will illegally continue the unconstitutional domestic spy programs with or without faux legal authority. Not only is this extremely hypocritical of a president that ran on returning our civil liberties and ending the spy state, but it will prove just how lawless our nation has become. Even after the courts and anyone with basic sense determined that what the Patriot Act was being used to justify was utterly unconstitutional; (Specifically, total collection of electronic records without probable cause or a search warrant.) power hungry and/or bought politicians still are trying to make a case for why this law is needed. I would immediately point out to anyone to be on guard for the “all or nothing” spin. The Administration is trying to scare people into believing if the illegal data collection is stopped, we will suddenly become vulnerable. This is absurd. First of all, NSA’s domestic collection has to date stopped zero terrorists. Second, if the Administration was actually worried about US security, they would immediately stop importing Muslims to the US from around the world and particularly, from places like Somalia where everyone and their brother seems to be connected to Al Shabaab. Finally, NSA will continue to operate in its legitimate mission to protect Americans by returning to foreign collection. It isn’t as if NSA will cease to function and not have a job if they are no longer targeting Americans. In fact, they may actually become more effective, efficient, and actually gain some victories over foreign enemies of the state.
Continuing with our series of area specific bug out planning, we focus on Southern California (SoCal) where a host of unique challenges will face anyone attempting to bug out. First of all, Los Angeles (LA) and the surrounding region of SoCal contains over 22 million people densely packed at a density of over 5,000 people per square mile in many areas. This makes it one of the most populous regions of the United States. If you have to bug out of LA and its surrounding areas, you better be one step ahead of everyone else. Second, the most densely populated areas of SoCal are locked between the Pacific Ocean to the west and the towering Sierra Nevada mountains to the east creating a serious geographical bottleneck. To the north are more mountains, the Great Valley, and more densely populated areas. To the south is Mexico. If you choose to go east and got across the mountains, then you are faced with surviving in one of the hottest and driest locations in the US, Death Valley and the surrounding desert. If you go west, you need a boat fully sea worthy and supplied with everything you will need for a long duration voyage. Going north or south just runs you into more people fleeing disaster and won’t help your situation. Third, SoCal plays host to regular earthquakes and at any given time the “Big One” could hit. Further, being coastal, much of the SoCal coastline is vulnerable to the effects of a major tsunami. Finally, but by no means all inclusive, SoCal also has some very precarious infrastructure such as the leaking San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station that may be permanently shut down and Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant, which straddles two active faults. Without doubt, the challenges of ‘getting out of town’ are mile high in this part of California, but with simple planning, you and your loved can safely and effectively bug and stay alive.
Optimally, you are using all of your resources to remain situational aware and bug out before the mob. However, events like major earthquakes, tsunamis, and grid collapses happen with little or no warning. As a typical SoCal citizen you drive 20+ miles per workday and use multiple high volume interstates and or state highways. As such, there is a high likelihood of being put into a position where your bug out begins during a commute. Do to this likely event; we begin our bug out discussion in rush hour traffic and discuss one of the more likely bug out scenarios, a major quake.
Your day begins as most in SoCal. It is sunny and warm and you are looking forward to getting home from work. You begin your commute as any other day and are quickly weaving through traffic when disaster strikes. A major earthquake strikes SoCal damaging nuclear reactors, severing communications, destroying infrastructure, and sparking massive fires as gas pipe lines are ruptured. You pull over and get out of your car until the major shaking has ceased. At this point, you know there has been a major quake, but you don’t know the extent. You get back into your car and try to continue to your home as the radio begins to broadcast a steady stream of damage reports. As you continue, traffic grinds to a halt on the major highways, which have sustained massive damage. You attempt to call your wife on your cell phone, but the few operable towers are overwhelmed and you have no service. Nonetheless, you immediately type out a text message with critical information and hit send hoping to slip the message out across some free bandwidth.
Now, having previously memorized alternative routes through various neighborhoods, you opt for the side streets as your only available option. These roads maze you through inner city neighborhoods, downtown areas, and residential zones. These locations can pose a threat just as dangerous as getting stuck on the 101. Specifically, you may come across many individuals on foot. The random man or woman crossing a street ahead of you may not be an issue, but that mob of 15+ men at an ad hoc roadblock with bats can certainly be a serious threat if you are forced from your vehicle. Keep the LA riots of the past in mind.
As you slowly make your way toward your home, it is clear the damage is getting more serious. Buildings have been turned to rubble, the road is impassible, fires are burning out of control, and people are in the streets. As you try to progress, your drivable routes are closed off. Now with no chance to back out of the gridlock and no way to go forward, you notice tempers flaring and panic setting into the public. Someone passes your vehicle and starts demanding a ride, you hear glass break to your rear, then suddenly you hear unnerving pops some distance ahead of you. You have no choice but to abandon your vehicle and continue on foot. Thankfully, even though your car’s GPS is no longer useful and can’t go with you, it isn’t a problem because you kept a good map in your vehicle bug out kit.
Grabbing your vehicle bug out kit, you make your way to your rendezvous point with your family, resupply, and assess your situation. The area is utterly destroyed, looting is already rampant, fires are raging unchecked, thousands are dead or injured, there is word one of the nuclear reactors may be leaking radiation, phones are not working, and all utilities are down. Seeing no good options for bugging in, you make the decision to bug out. Now let’s look at the challenges you will face and the preps you will need to make in order to be a Last Minute Survivor.
To begin, any plan to bug out of SoCal has to take into account your ever present enemy… CARRMAGEDON! Imagine the vehicle madness of the I-405 and US-101 intersection at a standstill. Then apply the same sea of gridlocked cars and trucks to all the major roadways between Santa Monica and Redlands. The end result is a highway system that is overloaded and frozen. In the panic following the event that initiated your bug out, there will be countless auto accidents, gridlock, and cars abandoned after running out of gas while idling in stalled traffic. These events will combine to turn SoCal into one giant multilane roadblock. If your plan includes the need to drive anywhere, be it home from work or to the marina, you must plan to be stuck in this sea of angry, afraid, and possibly violent drivers. So what’s the solution? It’s actually basic. You need to know of another way home and drive it enough to commit the route and neighborhoods to memory because you may need to hike it by foot. Keep in mind that your daytime commute will look drastically different if you travel it at night or vice versa. Further, make sure you have a good map of the area in the event GPS is not working. You may also opt for adding a mountain bike to your vehicle bug out bag, which would allow you to continue quickly along jammed highways. It is nice to have a small, fuel efficient car to zip around the city, but the ability of your vehicle to get over typical obstacles will be critical during a disaster. In the event of an earthquake, obstacles can range from fallen telephone poles and debris like bricks to buckled streets to curbs, medians, and other vehicles. Would your car be able to drive down the side slope of an intestate or highway or jump the median to do a U-turn? You might have to. A basic Jeep Wrangler can do this and get over the said obstacles, but your sedan with its low clearance and two wheel drive will get stuck. Getting stuck brings us to the next problem…If you have to abandon your vehicle, pull it well off the road and try to park it in a secure location that is less visible from the main road. Make sure nothing is visible that would draw the attention of a thief. Further, disable your car by disconnecting your battery cables at minimum. Critical to your vehicle bug out kit will be appropriate seasonal attire to include good shoes, water, a water purifier, and something to carry a minimum of two quarts of water per person in your car. For SoCal, in addition to our standard items we recommend in your bug out kit (See: http://www.lastminutesurvival.com/2014/10/13/location-specific-bug-out-bags-part-i/), you should also include the following items:
- Potassium Iodide tablets (http://www.bt.cdc.gov/radiation/ki.asp)
- Additional means of carrying water on the go such as a backpack with an integral hydration bladder
- Fire extinguisher (capable of extinguishing chemical fires)
- Climbing rope, harness/seat, carabiners, leather gloves, Figure 8 or other descender device
- Low profile body armor capable of stopping handgun rounds
- Fishing tackle
- Addition of anti-nausea medication to your first aid kit if you plan to escape via the Pacific Ocean
As you progress with your bug out, you will likely have to ditch your car and make your way by foot or other means, you may well be confronted by and angry mob. So, what to do about a violent mob ahead of you? Go the opposite way quickly and avoid them if at all possible. It is better to add time and distance to your route than to be beaten and robbed by a mob or gang. I caution against a gun fight unless it is a last resort. Mobs carry guns, maybe even many guns, so even with your superior shooting skills, you could be outgunned in a close gunfight. If you have to shoot it out, get as much distance as you can from your threat to maximize your marksmanship, get behind cover that will stop a bullet, and return well aimed fire at the most pressing threats first. Further, if you face multiple threats, try to maneuver them so they are “stacked” in a line, which allows you to take them on one at a time versus all at once. If you can’t carry or are unwilling to arm yourself then your best bet is a heavy duty can of pepper spray for bears, a good pair of running shoes, and a walking stick that doubles as a club.
If you can effectively avoid the mob, your next big challenge will not be what is missing from your bug out bag, but your physical condition. The military wouldn’t waste time to conduct daily physical training if it wasn’t essential, yet all too many preppers forego this most basic and essential of preps. Are you in decent enough shape to walk home with a moderate load on your back? Most Americans are not. That 20 mile/40 minute commute that you have to walk might as well be Mount Everest if you get tired after one block of walking. Stack the odds in your favor. Go for more walks, try short hikes with friends or family, and consider a lighter “Get Home Bag” for this situation. One thing I’ve taken from my hiking experience is an admiration for ‘ultra-light’ hikers. They buy lighter gear, carry less gear, and therefore have the option of covering more terrain with greater ease. You don’t have to be an ultra-marathon champion, but you should be able to cover at least 20 miles on foot with your gear and not die of a heart attack. Mentally and physically preparing yourself for this will put you one step ahead, no pun intended.
What is likely to go wrong after setting off on your long walk home? Although we have discussed this issue previously, it is worth repeating because it is so important. Don’t be in a position where you look down at your penny loafers or two inch heels and saying ‘oh crap.’ The solution is again simple. At minimum, put some running shoes or lightweight hiking boots in your car and leave them there. Beware of buying expensive combat boots or stiff hiking boots for this purpose. If you haven’t broken them in before that long walk it will cause painful blisters that could get infected and slow or stop your movement. Further, you will need boots that can handle steep mountains, keep out sand, protect your feet from thorns, and still let your feet breath. There are a variety of shoes and boots that can meet these requirements so find a pair that works for you and make sure you are wearing them or have them with you.
If things really go sour you will have less than a day to get home before we all start turning into metaphorical zombies and chasing you down the street. You don’t want to be the person caught on the street that starts attracting unwanted attention. Get to where you are going before people start to realize you have gear they need. The scenarios are endless and point to one main point. Get up, get moving, and don’t stop. Here’s why, American grocery stores operate on a system long ago borrowed from Japan called “Just in time.” This eliminates a grocer’s need to store large amounts of perishables that will expire and cause a financial loss if not sold. As such, stores don’t stock more than three days’ worth of food at any time. The semi-trucks we see are critical to that logistics supply chain. In the event of a crisis, we have witnessed over and over that once the trucks stop rolling, the three days of supplies disappear within about one to two hours. If the crisis persists and is wide spread, unprepared people we will grow hungry. That’s when mom says to dad, “little Joe is hungry and so am I.” Mom and pop will hold back from theft and other crimes for a while, but will eventually do what they must to stay alive. Situations like this happened when Katrina hit New Orleans, and it can happen anywhere. Your job is to get out before this happens.
As discussed, getting out of the SoCal area won’t be a walk in the park but can be done. From the beginning though, you need to have identified and prepped for where you will go. If you don’t have a destination then you are wandering and likely to become another statistic. Having a PRE-planned destination is vital, see the bug out of DC article for more details (http://www.lastminutesurvival.com/2014/10/17/bug-out-bags-part-ii-washington-dc/). The most difficult area to bug out of is the concrete and asphalt triangle covering all of the area within Santa Monica to Pasadena to Anaheim. Options out to the North are US-101 aka the “101” and I-5. Everyone and their brother will likely be on those roads so expect pain and misery. These two roads are literally the main entrances to the LA area and will be no easy task to navigate. Another option out towards the North is Highway-1 along the Malibu coast where your ocean views will be great, but the narrow road could easily become jammed, cutoff, or destroyed by rock/mudslides in the event of a quake. It would also be vulnerable to a tsunami and radiation from a damaged coastal reactor. Remember that bugging out doesn’t require a paved road. If you can make it to Burbank you can drive along the rail road at Burbank Town Center and follow it to Chatsworth, but don’t be stupid and get smacked by a train. From there you have easier access to Highway 118 and can easily reach Simi Valley, Moorpark, Santa Paula, and Ventura via back roads (if you have a map). Note, the railroad that gets you to Burbank also connects to Union Station in LA.
Getting out of town to the Northeast is similarly challenging. They are Highway-14 towards Palmdale, I-15 towards Barstow, and the “2” through Angeles National Forest if you are alright with ultra-winding roads and contending with Bigfoot and his keepers. Keep in mind that the ‘High Desert’ between the “14” and I-15 is not a friendly environment. It’s a desert…therefore, it is hot, it is dry, it gets cold at night, the plants stick you and the animals bite you. It is unforgiving and if you are not prepared for it, it is best to be avoided if you are on foot or could end up on foot. It’s also home to a relatively conservative population, an armed population. Criminals beware. Those of us amongst the liberal crowd would likely be better suited taking the 101 towards lovely Santa Barbara and San Francisco.
Other options to the Northeast and East can be considered but have many cons. The “18” towards Big Bear takes you into gorgeous countryside, but rumors indicate local residents plan on blockading inbound roads to keep the rest of us out. I don’t blame them. The same can be assumed of isolated communities throughout the region. The “38”east of Redlands is a good option into the San Bernardino National Forest if you need to go that way. I’ve personally hiked this area and know it contains various creeks to keep your water topped off. Interstate-10 is the main way out eastbound. Its extra lanes East of Banning would facilitate your exit, but take you into miserable terrain as does the I-15 into the Mojave Desert. Again, if you aren’t familiar with the desert, stay far away from the Mojave. If you must go into the desert, have plenty of water and make sure you have marked all the natural springs on your map and checked them out ahead of time. Some of them are hot springs, some are seasonal, and some have water not safe to drink due to mining contaminants like mercury. Further, if you are on foot, travel between the hours just before sunset to just after sun rise when temperatures are the coolest. During the day you should seek shade and shelter from the sun. Rock outcroppings are good for this, but also play host to a lot of venomous snakes so be cautious. Keep as cool as you can and never waste water or energy during the heat of the day. Getting above or below the ground will be where it stays the coolest. Wear loose fitting, light colored clothes, a wide brim hat, and sunglasses. Sunscreen is good for your face, neck, and ears, but covering up with clothing is far better. Remember, distances in the desert are very deceiving. What looks like only a short walk could be 20 or more miles.
If you plan to head east and tackle the mountains, you will also need to know what you are doing to survive. Any attempt to cross the Sierra’s will dictate a bug out plan by foot that has been well rehearsed. Just like the desert, the mountains are brutal and unforgiving. You must be prepared for extremely cold, wet, and windy weather if you plan on successfully crossing or holding out in the Sierras. Blizzard conditions even in the summer at altitude are not uncommon. Further, you have avalanches, rock slides, raging streams, cliffs, high altitude, lightening, ice fields and crevasses, cougars, and well-armed locals to contend with. If you are not in peak physical condition, properly trained, or in possession of the right equipment for the alpine environment, the mountains will prove insurmountable; especially, at high altitude. During the winter, crossing the mountains simply may not be an option due to the deep snow and brutal storms, even for experienced mountaineers. Winter storms above the treeline can drop temperatures below zero, pack hurricane force winds, and diminish visibility to zero. However, in the summer, the extremely rugged terrain gives the experienced climber and mountaineer the advantage of being able to go where the masses can’t or won’t. If you do select the mountains as your bug out location, you will have ample water, will not have to contend with as many people, and can find many hide spots suitable to overnight and longer term bugging out. Nonetheless, your kit will be heavier and must have the right equipment to include crampons, ice axe, climbing rope and gear, extreme cold weather gear, mountain rated sleeping bag and pad, mountaineering/4-season tent, tough hiking boots, backpacking stove (for areas of no vegetation above the treeline), maps and compass, and possibly snowshoes. If you read the specialized gear list and said, “What’s that?” and or haven’t been trained to use that gear, going into the alpine region could be lethal for you and should be avoided. In the interim, use your time to get familiar with the gear, take some classes, and become comfortable operating in the alpine region because you may just get forced into it.
I don’t recommend a southbound bug out because of the likely mass migration from Mexico during a grid-down all out national catastrophe. The current and common place violence just across the border is likely to spill over when the “troubles” begin. I wouldn’t expect our border guards to work for free and forsake their families at home; therefore, the border may end up “open” and precipitate a population surge along the border. Further, an area with a large population density isn’t in concert with my bug out philosophy. The saving grace for those of us in the San Diego and Oceanside is just East. The area between Palomar Mountain State Park and the Cleveland National Forest would make a great initial bug out retreat, which is in close proximity. Its various lakes, available game, and lower population density make it very bug out attractive. However, like the Poconos for New Yorkers, many people will also plan to head to this area so it is less attractive as a long term bug out site unless you have land and a developed, defendable retreat in that area.
Finally, there is the westerly option known as a boat. Certainly, this option isn’t available to many of us, but if your connections or finances allow for it, an escape by sea is one of your better options for SoCal. The Pacific Ocean can certainly become a refuge if you have a stocked boat that is accessible, sea worthy, and you are a capable captain. Even if you do not have a large ocean worthy boat, using a smaller boat and hugging the coastline will allow you to travel a significant distance from the immediate danger, insulate yourself from the chaos on land, and even bug out to another country if necessary. If the seas get to rough, you can bring your ship into a sheltered inlet or even dock it and continue by land from a preplanned rendezvous location. Make sure that you add anti-nausea medication to your kit if you plan to head out to sea. Even if you have never been motion sick before, presented with the right conditions, you could become incapacitated with nausea and vomiting during rough seas. The sea also provides you with ample food in the form of fish if you are prepared to catch them. Make sure you have fishing tackle to include nets if you head to sea and practice with it. A decent fisherman will be able to provide long term sustenance in a bug out by boat scenario. Also, with the right equipment, you can desalinate water to provide long term critical hydration. If your boat is capable of running under sail, you also have an indefinite range.
All considered SoCal doesn’t have a host of good options for bugging out. Your best bet is to be prepared and ready to act. This puts you ahead of the zombie masses and makes your chances of a successful bug out far higher. However, even if you are the first out of the immediate metropolitan areas, you still will be faced with some very technical survival environments that include rugged mountains, scorching hot deserts, or the vast ocean. As such, it is critical to plan, prepare, and rehearse your bug out ahead of time. For example, if you plan to head to the hills, spend your weekends hiking the trails, familiarizing yourself to the terrain, acquiring any necessary specialized gear, and learning the skills necessary to thrive in that environment. Success in SoCal demands you put in the time so start now and be a Last Minute Survivor.
By Guiles Hendrik and Sgt G.
December 1, 2014
For Part II in our series on bug out kits, I will look at some specifics for planning your kit if you happen to live in or around the nation’s capital. I chose to address DC first, because it is a city where the conditions that trigger bugging out are likely to occur and it offers some very specific challenges that are applicable to many urban centers across the US. Hopefully, you have had a chance to read my intro post on building your bug out kit. If not, first review thin information we posted at: http://www.lastminutesurvival.com/2014/10/13/location-specific-bug-out-bags-part-i/.
Why would you worry about having to bug out if you live in DC? Read more
As the worst drought in living memory persists in California, more evidence has arisen supporting my previously published theory on earthquakes from December 2013 http://www.lastminutesurvival.com/2013/12/17/earthquakes-on-the-rise-in-oklahoma-a-new-theory-to-explain-seismic-activity-in-areas-once-considered-geologically-stable/
Specifically, scientists are now beginning to bandwagon on the idea that as aquifers are drawn down, the earth will simultaneously sink and rebound causing quakes. I outlined this theory as a probable mechanism to explain why quakes in areas such as Charlottesville, Virginia and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, where quakes were very rare, were suddenly occurring. I was able to conclude that there was a close correlation to quake activity in regions centered over confined, lake-like aquifers that have been heavily drawn down in recent years. Both Oklahoma City and Charlottesville have seen significant population increases over the last decade and have significantly drawn down their aquifers, which I believe has resulted in the occurrence of earthquakes. This conclusion better explains what I believe is a generally flawed belief that hydraulic fracking has caused quakes, specifically around Oklahoma. I dismissed fracking in my theory because the occurrence of quakes simply did not correspond well with high fracking activity. For example, if quakes were caused by fracking alone, then West Virginia and Pennsylvania should be experiencing a large number of quakes. This is not the case and when accounting for naturally occurring fault lines and other “known” causes of quakes, one must conclude that something other than fracking is at work. As stated, I have theorized that aquifer depletion is at the root of this quake activity and have been publishing on it since before the mainstream scientific community even considered the possibility.
The “so what” factor for our readers is apparent when it comes to my quake activity theory. If you live in an area that draws on a confined aquifer and has a high population density, preparing for earthquake activity would be smart. As the drought in the South West persists, demand on ground water resources will continue to grow. The increased demand will unleash a number of small quakes that may or may not be capable of damaging homes and infrastructure. What is not known is if these quakes could disturb the stability of the ground so much that the aquifer reductions could trigger secondary and much larger quakes along known fault lines. I theorize that in the event an isolated aquifer is heavily drawn down and is collocated with a known fault, it could indeed trigger much larger and unpredicted quakes than previously thought possible. Now don’t say you didn’t see it coming!
By Guiles Hendrik
August 13, 2014
All rights reserved.
Earthquakes on the Rise in Oklahoma: A new theory to explain seismic activity in areas once considered geologically stable.
Many of our readers have noticed and been tracking an uptick in the number of earthquakes in areas previously not known for seismic activity. Oklahoma, in particular the Oklahoma City area, has been experiencing an unusually high number of quakes in recent years. Many have speculated that fracking is causing these quakes. However, fracking alone doesn’t appear to be a viable explanation because the quakes often happen where there is no fracking and where there is fracking no quakes occur. Correlation isn’t necessarily causation, but in the case of fracking the evidence seems to directly contradict claims it causes earthquakes. Seismologists agree that fracking can for the most part be ruled out as a cause of the quakes. Nonetheless, scientists have been baffled by seismic activity in places like Oklahoma and are at a loss to explain what is going on.
After reviewing the information, I would like to propose an admittedly anecdotal theory. Empirically speaking, it seems that there is a strong correlation between the quake concentrations and the Central Oklahoma aquifer, which has been significantly drawn down over the last few decades. Theoretically speaking, major quakes have occurred along the New Madrid Fault due to the Earth’s crust rebounding after the glaciers receded in the last ice age. Using this as a rough corollary, it is conceivable that as a major aquifer is emptied, a similar action may be occurring. In fact, these quakes may be the result of the earth settling into voids created when the water is removed combined with the fact that billions of tons of water pressure have also been removed as the water has been pumped from the ground. The combined effect has created tensions (or more specifically, released tensions) in the crust great enough to cause quakes as the crust resettles.
To further test this theory, one must look to other areas that have begun to recently experience seismic activity where historically it has been rare to nonexistent. The recent 2011 DC earthquake centered near Charlottesville, Virginia may have also been due to similar causal mechanisms even though there are known faults that run through the area that have been quiet for centuries. A closer look at the geology around the fast growing city of Charlottesville (much like the population of Oklahoma City) shows that its water is fed from a central aquifer not directly associated with other larger aquifers. Like the Central Oklahoma Aquifer, Charlottesville seems to be sitting on more of an isolated underground lake than a river. As such, both can be drawn down considerably with heavy water usage. In fact, a reduction in the water level of Charlottesville may have also caused the large and unforeseen quake that shook much of Virginia and Washington, DC. Note that this theory is not targeted at areas that are known for seismic activity due to other known causes such as volcanism and active faults. It is however an attempt to explain why certain areas are suddenly having seismic activity.
Considering the above, one should ask the “so what” question. Your answer to why you should care is that much of the construction in the United States is built to codes that do not take into account major seismic events due to the low frequency of their occurrence. However, as we have briefly discussed, more and more areas are now experiencing earthquakes where none had previously occurred to any great scale. This means that you may be living and working or your kids may be attending a school in a structure that isn’t designed to survive an earthquake. If my theory is correct, more and more cities drawing directly from concentrated lake-like aquifers may experience new and continued quakes that could potentially damage and or destroy structures not designed to withstand the shaking of an earthquake. If you have any concern, access the US Geological Survey’s aquifer maps online to determine if you do in fact live in one of these areas. If so, earthquake preparedness may be something you want to consider more seriously.
By Guiles Hendrik
December 17, 2013
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