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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald (Newspaper) - February 14, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta 40 - THE UTHBR1DGE HERALD - Wednesday, February U, 1973------.....-----.______ Tomorrow or in 100 years? California is waiting for the big catastrophe CHARLES FOLEY | London Observer j LOS ANGELES - Califor-: nia's famous San Andreas fault,, one of the earth's major frac- j lures, is "locked" and building up tension for a violent unlocking. Dr. Darroll Wood, of the Na-1 tional Centre for Earthquake Research in Menlo Park, California, says: "The part of the state on the Pacific side of the fault is moving northwards; the plate on the other side is heading south. They've moved an incredible 700 miles In the past 20 million years." In another eight million years, Los Angeles should be next to San Francisco. | The fault is plainly visible i from the air, running from north of San Francisco all the way down'to the Gulf of Mexico. It passes through orange groves, displacing neat rows of trees, through roads and rivers and city sewers. Both at San Francisco and in the Los Angeles region, experts say, the rocks of the two sliding plates are jammed together, and no one can predict when the enormous pressure thus created may be released. They say it could have the force of a 100-megaton bomb. ALARM The devastation of Nicaragua's capital city, Managua, by an earthquake that left at least 10,000 dead, has sent alarm waves shuddering through California. Earthquakes, unlike that proverbial lightning, tend to strike twice In the same place. Managua had an earlier cataclysm in 1931. 'Hie Pacific Coast of the Americas, from Chile to Alaska, has been hit again and again. In the recorded history of California there have been three truly great quakes, measuring eight or more on the Richter scale: one in 1857. another in 1872 and the third, the notorious San Francisco disaster, in 1906. Some say the next big one is now overdue, others that it is still perhaps 100 years away. Optimists claim that the high-rise towers of Los Angeles and San Francisco will withstand an earthquake and that the death toll will not rise above a few hundred. They point to a striking disparity in the results of Managua's quake and the shock that hit Los Angeles in February 1971. Both measured 6.5 on the Richter scale; but Managua was razed, with great loss of life, while in Los Angeles only 64 people died. DECADES The reason: American residential homes are mainly wood - frame constructions, whereas poorly cemented stone and other heavy material is used in Latin America. And many of the tall U.S. buildings are mainly steel, as opposed to reinforced concrete south of the border. . 'The big quake could be decades away," says Dr. Robert Hamilton of the U.S. Geological Survey, "and it could be tomorrow." Dr. Hamilton and associates are engaged in studying the earth's structure to improve quake forecasting. He ! believes that an intensive research program is improving U.S. ability to predict quakes. "Eventually we'll be able to find signs of unusual build-up in stresses by measuring rock deformation in boreholes. Since a really bit quake affects regions of several hundred miles, we can recognize when conditions are ripe." Scientists at Menlo Park are now looking for other signs, like the rapid tilting of the earth, which might make it possible to predict the moment of an earthquake within days or weeks. An instrument which measiu-es minute tilting of the ground is seen as the best bet: tilt has turned out to be the easiest measurement to take and, in combination with other devices, it might produce the answer to the questions "When," "Where," and "How big." The role of computer technology will be immense, says Dr. Wood, in comparing historical data with current information and looking for trends. Some time ago. a 67-year-old Californian recluse named Reuben Greenspan, who had reportedly predicted earthquakes with surprising accuracy in the past, set some knees knocking by announcing a massive quake for Jan. 4. But prophets of doom are two-a-penny here. "We've become blase about all these predictions." says Joseph Armin, president of the Junior Chamber of Commerce, which had planned a "quake watch" cocktail party on the top floor of the 52-storey Bank of American, San Francisco's tallest building, at the hour' scheduled for the quake. 'We laugh at them; but if we do go, we might as well go with a martini glass in our hand." HOW TO SPOT AN EARTHQUAKE BEFORE IT HITS For Nicaragua worst crisis still to come NIGEL HAWKES London Observer j LONDON - An early warn- ! ing system for predicting earth- \ quakes several days before \ they happen has been devel-! oped by two teams of geol-1 ogists, in the United States and ; in the Soviet Union. The method has not yet been j j tested in the world's major I ; earthquake zones, but if it j | woi'ks as well there as it does ;in New York State and the Garm region in Central Asia it could be used tor preventing loss of life in disasters such as the Managua earthquake. The method should give both j an i n d i c a t i on of the likely I strength of the earthquake and sufficient warning of its arrival to allow evacuation of the ; population. It involves the care-; ful observation of the many small earth tremors which often travel through the earth's crust and can be detected by instruments. The seismic waves come in two varieties which travel through the earth at different speeds. In general, the waves caused by compression of rocks travel almost twice as fast as those caused by shear -when rocks are split apart. INDICATOR By themselves the waves tell j one little. But four geologists at the Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory of New York's Columbia University have shown that if the veloci- c MACLEODS RED TAG SPECTACULAR Coronado by brother Lightweight Zig Zag Sewing Machine with Automatic S-T-R-E-T-C-H [ ties of the two different kinds j of waves are compared they ' can provide an indicator of | forthcoming earthquakes. This result, they say in a recent edition of NATURE, confirms work done several years ago in the Soviet Union. For most of the time, the ratio between the velocities of compression and shear waves varies little. But several days before a large earthquake it appears to dip quite noticeably, then increase again to i.s previous value just before the earthquake begins. The longer this clip in the velocity ratio persists the more violent the eventual earthquake. An earthquake occurring 10 days after the dip began would be of magnitude 3 to' 4 on the Richter Scale - a fairly substantial earthquake. Really disastrous earthquakes, oi magr.aude sevaa or more, would occur only if the dip in the velocity ratio persisted for very much longer. Both the Americans and Soviet geologists worked in regions where large earthquakes were preceded by smaller tremors. Unfortunately, this is not true of all earthquake regions: some big quakes happen without any advance warning. But the geologists from Columbia suggest that where natural tremor* do noi oc^ur. artificial ones could be created by detonating small explosions and creating seismic disturbance. So far neither team has come up with an explanation why seismic wave velocities should vary before earthquakes. One possfoility is that cracks opened up in the earth's crust would affect the rate of propagation of seismic waves. In that case the method amounts to a means of monitoring these pre-earthquake changes in the crust. Whatever the precise mechanism, it seems worthwhile to try to extend the method to regions where earthquakes are a real hazard. Feb. 15th, 16th, 17th Just Say "Charge It" on your GAMBLE'S Charge Card � Everything you ever wanted  lightweight - die east head  Rugged and durable - built to lost  True stretch stitch  Fingertip touch tension  Twin needle sewing  Sews on all fabrics Many Other Model* Available CABINETS Priced from 36.9$ to 69,95 MISS ANNA RETZLAFF Will demonstrate to you all the fine features of this brother Sewing Machine and other models. She will also help you with all your sewing needs. Available Only at . . . MACLEODS DBS WILSON London Observer MANAGUA - The relief planes, many of the emergency teams, the official fact-finders, the reporters and cameramen have departed, and �the stunned people of Nicaragua are left virtually alone to tot up the real cost of the earthquake that in a few minutes on Christmas Eve demolished the 27 square kilometers of the capital city that had been the head and heart of the nation. The first emergency is over, the 10,000 "known dead" have been buried, and diseases such as cholera and typhoid have been avoided. No-one knows exactly how many died. Many bodies remain under the rubble, and every day the radio broadcasts pathetic appeals for lost relatives. The 20,000 injured have been treated. The 250,000 homeless have been temporarily sheltered in "tent cities," in impromptu shacks, or with friends and relatives scattered all over the country. HARDSHIP But even the people who lost family and friends now realize that the real crisis is yet to come for the loss to this relatively poor country of its capita] means not only the few hours of horror at Christmas, but years of' hardship. Even before the earthquake the country faced a disaster, for drought caused widespread hunger and more than 100,000 were already dependent on State help. Now that number has been increased until it represents a quarter of the nation. This problem has to be tackled despite the lass of 40 per cent of the gross national product in a few minu.es. the loss of the whole governmental apparatus, most of the country's small businesses, and nearly a million square metres of commercial buildings, facto ries and offices, from where much of the nation's income has pre-\ viously come. I It is estimated that $1,000 i million will have to be granted ' or loaned to the country to replace its capital - not only the parks that affect the economy,-but the 50,000 demolished homes and the 24,000 that have been extensively damaged, the 956 schools, and the four main hospitals comprising 40 per cent of the bed capacity of the country. HELP So the nation's appeal to the world changes from one for medical .supplies, tents, blankets and other emergency aid, to one for money to help to clear seven million cubic metres of debris and rebuild the capital. It has asked relevant world agencies such as the United Nations and the World Bank, to treat it as one of the world's least developed countries - a claim that would have been unjustified five weeks ago but now seems more than fair. A food-for-work program has been launched to back up the massive public works that need to be undertaken, first in the towns and provinces where the former Managua dwellers now live, and where previously poor services are now totally inadequate, and secondly in the reconstruction of the city itself. It is hoped that the work will also boost the people's morale. "1973 - year of hope and reconstruction," the posters say, and the people are urged not to become apathetic or too dependent on handouts. The most affected by the earthquake are the middle income families. The rich lived outside the centre and their homes were nearly all untouched. They may have lost businesses, but they could afford to be insured. The poor had little to lose anyway, and, ironically, their wooden shacks on the outskirts took the blow like punchdrunk boxers and just refused to fall down. WIPED OUT But the middle income families were hit twice: their homes were most vulnerable to the earthquake and collapsed in their thousands. Nearly all their businesses - as much as 95 per cent - were wiped out. shops, offices, factories and warehouses destroyed. Few were insured, and 'few had saved money. Years of industry had made them comfortable - now they are the nation's most dispirited poor. Solis Morales, his brothers and their families, are flow In three tents near Masaya. The whole fabric of their lives is in ruins. Senor Morales, at 62, has known it all before. He was neariy killed in the 1931 earthquake and can still describ* it vividly. He and his .wife, Sara, who also remembers the 1931 disaster, have worked 25 years to build up a prosperous supermarket and had a car, a television set, and all the trappings of middle income. They lived above the shop. A brother's electrical workshop, the product of 18 years' i woi k. was nest door. When fcha : earthquake struck they were all trapped under crumbling walls and had to be dug out. They have lost everything. Uninsured and without savings, Senor Morales admits: "My spirit is broken. I can't and won't try to do it again. We will never go back." The man who runs the whole, country like a cross between a family business and political dictatorship, General Anastasio Somoza, saw me for 30 minutes in the room of his suburban house where all the decisions, from the purchase of a prefabricated house to the priorities for rebuilding the nation, are taken. He has recovered from the initial shock of seeing his power base temporarily destroyed and once more exudes the supreme assurance that comes with his kind of ealth and power. Indeed, the nation's new problem has made him more powerful. Despite much evidence the blandly denies that his soldiers shot at or killed pillagers. He defends the decision to rebuild Managua on or near a site where it has been hit by major earthquakes three times - the land, he poiints out equally blandly, is worth up to $400 million (he does not mention the value he puts on lost lives.) General Somoza says that this time Managua will be built to higher standards. (An experienced LnteiT.'ational engineer told me that 80 per cent of the devastation was caused by bad building.) He says he wants to decentralize much of the small business and commerce, and build a smaller capital. ITS HARD TO KEEP YOUR MM) ON THE ROAD WHEN TOUR BACK IS KILLING \OU VMj spent 11 years designing and refining the \blvo so you won't be fed up with it in 2 or 3. , y- ,,'And among the things that will keep you I footiijgetting tired of a Volvo are our bucket seats. \ ^ ,They don't just sit there like living-room -''sofas: I ney actually do things to keep you alert 'and relaxed. THe small of yojtirback gets special attention, because that s where pain often starts. Note-the five steel \vires in the back of the seat. At the twist of a knob, ybu can tune them to '� give you firm or soft support, ' A lever controls the angle of the back from bolt upright to reclining. / ; So to Volvo's long list of sane standard ?'< 'features (like four-wheel disc brakes, two different ^bjandereoatings and a rear window defroster) Ipjjrpu can add yet another: '**� And if your car doesn't fit right, you can't PHONE 327-4240 CENTRE VILLAGE MALL 8 ci*?* VOtvO 6tV*B� CfD, OVSMBM OILtVf �V AVAIUILC SHORT STOP AUTO LTD., 538 6th Street South, Lethbridge 328-6586 ;