By JENNIFER PRESTON
March 31, 2014
As my colleague Adam Nagourney reported, the new mayor of Los Angeles and his top adviser on earthquake planning are hoping that the back-to-back earthquakes Friday night will create a sense of urgency to address concerns about the city’s lack of preparedness for a major earthquake.
Mayor Eric M. Garcetti and the seismologist Lucile M. Jones have been arguing that Los Angeles needs to do much more to minimize earthquake casualties. On Friday night, two weeks after a 4.4 earthquake, Twitter exploded with photos and posts describing the tremors and damage from the earthquake in La Habra, about 30 miles east of Los Angeles. The first, smaller earthquake was followed by a 5.1 jolt, the first time the area had been shaken by an earthquake in excess of 5.0 magnitude since 1997.
“When you have damage, it’s a lot easier to talk to people about what you need to do to avoid damage,” Ms. Jones said. “We absolutely know that there are buildings that will kill people when they collapse.”
#LaHabraQuake: Towngate Beauty Supply http://t.co/RMVDCSPhdP
For more than two decades, Ms. Jones, a seismologist with the United States Geological Survey, has been one of the most well-known, highly regarded and visible experts in Southern California on earthquake preparation, often quoted in television and other news media reports.
After the earthquakes Friday night, she opened a Twitter account on Saturday to amplify her message, starting with a first post discussing aftershocks.
It’s an aftershock because it is very close to the mainshock. This one is about 3 miles to the northeast. http://t.co/hHZzjnixzr
The actor William Shatner was among those who welcomed Ms. Jones to Twitter. By Monday, Ms. Jones had more than 4,000 followers.
@heykim @DrLucyJones @USGS I love Dr. Lucy! She always gives us no nonsense info on quakes and dismisses crazy reporter questions with ease.
Ms. Jones has been using Twitter to explain aftershocks, answer questions and remind people of the need to be prepared right now.
No. of aftershocks: 9-12pm Fri. = 51 EQs, 9-12pm on Sat.=12 EQs, 9-12 pm on Sun. = 3. This is normal – probably we will feel more this week
On Sunday, Ms. Jones was asked on Twitter to explain how the magnitude is felt at the surface.
@DrLucyJones @KTLA @Miss_Joanne_F How does depth of earthquake effect the magnitude felt at surface? Is there a value on that?
In response, Ms. Jones explained that magnitude is the intensity.
.@cwjaccount magnitude isn’t what you feel. Its total energy. Intensity is what you feel. If EQ is deep, it is farther away so you feel less