Life Moves On, the Path Changes

K bull calf - Old World Jersey

Life on the Farm

What a surprise… our journey has taken us from our sustainable farming adventure to big city life in an apartment. Like CRAZY. But again, it’s an education in what many people must deal with.

It, of course, is about following the money.  We were finally able to close on a foreclosed piece land that met the requirements we were looking for, for a future farm.

Dollar-Sign-101

Need Dollars

 

In order to get a construction loan to build on that 4 1/2 acres, someone had to have a formal job.  Thus Jim put out the “word” and got four serious offers back.  Amazing considering he is 64 (ancient wisdom & experience) within two weeks (in the Xmas holiday season, no less.

But none of the job offers were local. The closest (and most appealing because our youngest daughter was here) was San Diego.  We moved into a senior apartment complex in N San Diego, University City.

Instead of the gentle breezes and crickets in the distance, we are now serenaded with breakneck traffic, screaming sirens, and trucks lumbering down the road, shaking our windows day & night.  Our precious little patio is virtually unusable except on Sunday mornings, when the traffic load finally dies down.

I’m quite convinced that our brains and our psyche where never meant to endure the constant onslaught of noise & fumes that filter through the windows.

Interestingly, where there are jobs, there are fairly high rents. Not just a SF-Bay Area phenomenon.  There are many academic, science, medical, and high tech complexes. Very much a mini-silicon valley and toss in some of the most advanced medical facilities in the world (education, research, and patient care). Decent wages but the rents reflect that.

The only advantage we had in a senior complex, the deposit was minimal. We, at least, have a bit of green around us and some trees, plants, flowers, etc. compared to the SD ApartmentComplexhuge beehive complexes that are 5 – 15 stories high apartment complexes, packed shoulder to shoulder to each other. apartments

Depressing and claustrophobic.

But the rental rates are marching their way up to the stratosphere.  We started at $1900  (1,000 sq ft) and will be at $2300 -$2500 (depending on a 6 month lease or a 12 month lease) at our next renewal.  Sad that it is such a waste of monies we would rather put into building the farm. There goes any discretionary income… and I wonder how those raising a family can cope with the chipping away of the income they have while dealing with the increases in expenses just having kids, incurs.

Yes, you can get rents slightly cheaper… and then spend 1-3 hours a day commuting. Really.  Someone asked how far we live from the airport, “depends on the time of day. At the right time it’s only a 18 minute drive. At the wrong time, it’s at least an hour. Same 10 miles.”

We opted for a higher rent, biking to school and work, less commute hours in the car, and more quality home time. It’s all about trade offs.

Someone asked, “How do you like living in San Diego?”.  Well, it is true, the weather is wonderful.  The evenings are spectacular on the coast, rarely too cold & the dry heat is moderated by the ocean so that those living within 10 miles of the coastline live in 70-80 degree weather almost year round.  A lot of people like living here because of the

SD 4thofJulyBeach

the beach in San Diego, 2016 4th of July

weather… and I mean ALOT of people… as in San Diego is the 3rd largest city in California (I had no idea).  It’s now almost non-stop town between the cities of LA & San Diego. That’s a vision of the near future: LA and San Diego merging into one huge metro-complex.

San Diego county has enough water for 800,000 people, I’m told.  With a population of 3 MILLON water has to be “brought in”. Not just water, but food as well. Very little arable land to grow; good crops of boulders, rock and sand. Not enough water or food to support the population base in San Diego County, by a long shot.  If one could subsist on avocado’s, strawberries, and flowers one would do just fine.

Just pray that the “next really big one” is not down here in San Diego, as a significant earthquake would take the whole county down rather quickly. Any significant disruption of the transportation or water systems would bring it to it’s knees. transform_fault

The good part of an EQ in this part of the country; it’s two plates sliding past each other. San Diego is headed toward San Francisco. NOT the subduction type EQ that happened in Japan, where one plate is pushing beneath another (and triggering a tsunami).

Folks here live day-to-day, without a thought to what the future might bring; they just party on into the night.

But they do enjoy the weather, and we do as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The REALLY Big One

It was a silent tsunami in Japan that was the telltale sign of the ‘the really big one’, off the coast of the USA.   It was the beginning of the construction of a nuclear power plant that put things in motion.radioactivity-sign-nuclear-power-plant-19146173

Way back in the ancient days (1970’s I believe) when tectonic plate theory was firmly accepted, the Northwest Coast (Washington & Oregon) were assigned a low seismic rating because there had been no earthquakes in recorded history.  (Well, western recorded history!)

In the ’80’s construction was begun on building a nuclear power plant along south of Puget Sound, in the Coastal Range…  

Only, there was this law that said you had to do a hazard’s review.

Now the Washington Public Power Supply System (WPPSS, pronounced Whoops!), knowing that there was a sub-duction zone 30-60 miles off shore,  claimed it did not have dangerous earthquakes, it had “creeps”. Micro-earthquakes that took the pressure off the fault line.

The review was dropped into the lap of Thomas Heaton of the USGS, who had no idea of what the risks might be (he was located in Southern California).  He decided, in something this big (a nuclear power plant), he needed to play the devil’s advocate… and actually LOOK for previous earthquakes, before the 200 years of recorded western history.

We humans are such funny creatures, as we consider ourselves to be incredibly intelligent, and yet we insist on believing the world we live in right now is how it was and will be, negating natures ongoing attempt to disillusion us from that fantasty.

THE RING OF FIRE

ringNow the largest known earthquake EVER recorded, 9.5 occurred in Chile in 1960, devastating 600 miles of the coast frontage (5700 people died). This was the equivalent area, only below the equator, as Oregon/Washington fault zone, along the ring of fire.

Four years later, a 9.2 hit Anchorage Alaska area, above the Oregon/Washington fault zone. Between the two area, a silent zone that expelled it’s energy via “creeps” instead of “quakes”, at least according to WPPSS. This was where they wanted to build their nuclear plant. The arrow points to the zone in the ring of fire that was supposedly “different & quiet”.

FAULT ZONE LOCKED

In actuality, research showed Heaton, the creeps were not even occurring.  Heaton was concerned that the “zone” might actually be locked up, and instead building  pressures toward a huge release.  Had it ever happened in the past? i.e. geologic past (decades, centuries ?) Where to look?

First, indigenous peoples… what stories did their oral histories record. YES, they did tell of a time when the waters retreated for four days, and then returned to submerge the Cape & the surrounding high areas, until only the mountain tops were above water. It was days for the waters to retreat.  Tribal members who had canoes where able to escape the rising waters but were carried for away, according to the story.stortell

Estimated dates ~ time frame for the oral story to have occurred:

1657-1777 “…there was a big flood shortly before the white man’s time, ….a huge tidal wave that struck the Oregon coast not too far back in time… the ocean rose up and huge waves swept and surged across the land.  Trees were uprooted and villages were swept away.  Indians said they tied their canoes to the top of the trees, and some canoes were torn loose and swept away… After the tidal wave, the Indians told of tree tops filled with limbs and trash and of finding strange canoes in the woods.  The Indians said the big flood and tidal wave tore up the land and change the rivers.  Nobody knows how many Indians died.  Beverly Ward, recounting stories told to her around 1930 by Susan Ned, born in 1842.

1640-1740  “These are stories from my grandfather’s father (born c. f800) about events that took place four generations before his time… over 200 years ago” “…the land shook… a big wave smashed into the beach.” Chief Louis Nookmis, age 84 in 1964

1690-1715 “My grandfather saw one of the old women (survivors) who had been left alive.  She had been hung up on a tree, and the limbs of that tree were too high up.  So she took her pack line and tied it to a limb, and then when she wanted to go down by means of that, she fell; she was just a girl when she fell from it.  Her back was broken from it (she had a humpback thereafter).  That is what she told about the raised water.”  Annie Miner Petersen, age 73 in 1913

To document the reality, digging was begun, to look at the soil structure beneath the surface.  Sure enough, several feet down beneath the soil was a layer of sand that extended several feet down. Below that, there was a sharp delineation line where a layer of pure black peat was found.

What did that mean? Sand brought in by a tsunami and below that, the black peat was the coastal terrain/swampy area that was above water before the incident. Sharp line means it happened quickly.

TAKING A CLOSE LOOK 

Brian Atwater (USGS) took over the search and more extensive research was done.  An excellent review can be found in Chapter 1 of “The Earth in Turmoil”, by Atwater written in 1999.earth

Researchers found similar layers almost wherever they looked, up and down the coast.  While the earthquakes may not travel far in distance side to side (to the east), they did travel north/south!  Just how big were these quakes?

Land research was followed by core samples from the seabed just offshore, the continental  slope, to look for “debris” patterns indicative of earthquakes/tsunamis.  Six such patterns were identified quite quickly, indicating a history of significant earthquakes with tsunamis. The last one, close to 300 years ago.  The exact date?  They went to Japan, who of course, kept excellent records for a much longer period of time than the newcomer westerners knew of.

Searching the records, Kenji Satake revealed a “silent tsunami”. A tsunami that occurred without an accompanying earthquake, which matched the data from the Cascadian Quake timeframe. The tusnami that occurred equated to the date of January 26, 1700 around 9pm in the evening, in the range of a 9.0 earthquake along the Cascadian Fault line.

By now the idea of building a nuclear power plant had gone by the wayside.

ESTIMATED M9.0 EQ

mms

The estimated 8.9-9.2 Earthquake was slightly smaller than the Chilean Eq of 1960 & the Alaskan EQ of 1964, but in the expected range & comparable to past EQ’s. Further research showed there have been at least 12 giant EQ’s in the last 7700 years, occurring on average between 230-700 years apart. Not exactly an everyday occurrence, but nothing to ignore either!

Another tidbit that came out was that the Cascadia Fault Zone seemed to trigger off the San Andreas Fault as well. EXCEPT for the 1906 SF EQ, the major EQ’s along the Cascadian Fault appear to trigger EQ’s along the San Andreas Fault Line.  Hmmm, nice to know.

The Cascadian Fault zone runs from Vancouver B.C. all they way down to N California @ Cape Mendicino, 1000km (630 miles).

Below that is the beginning of the San Andreas Fault line that runs the length of California.090827.Juan.de.Fuca.EQ

The Cascadian Fault Zone is where the Juan De Fuca Plate (JDFP)  is subducting (which lies just west of the west coast) under the North American Plate… It will eventually disappear completely under the continent, as the Pacific Ocean is shrinking. The Pacific Ocean Plate will then meet up with the North American Plate. Juan de Fuca Plate is a remnant part of the once-vast Farallon Plate, which is now largely subducted underneath the North American Plate.

We have a few islands, called the Farallon Islands named after that disappearing plate, just west of the Golden Gate Bridge entrance. On a clear day you can see them in the distance. They used to be the mountains on the coast to the west of the San Francisco; coast line around 10,000 yrs ago, now submerged with only the peaks showing as islands today.

The Farallon Plate has almost completely subducted beneath the western portion of the North American Plate leaving that part of the North American Plate in contact with the Pacific Plate as the San Andreas Fault. But the two plates are shifting past each other, instead of the ocean plate being sub-ducted under the continental plate as it is in Oregon/Washington.

SUB-DUCTION VRS TRANSFORM FAULT

Cascadia Fault: subduction means one plate is being forced under another & can trigger tsunamis; creates active volcanoes, mountains (Cascades)

San Andreas Fault: transform fault means two plates are sliding along side each other , also called strike-slip, they don’t make or take away land, they just shift positions (north-south). Thus tend to do much less damage unless, of course, you build a major city right smack on top of the fault line!

Yes, LA will move up next door to SF, some day… talk about a crowded neighborhood!

I vote to move away from the actual fault line (remember California EQ’s damp out really, really fast)…. and localize resources so that disruptions in transportation will not cripple one.

TAKE HOME POINT

The next “big” one in terms of distance & destruction ~ EQ & Tsunami will probably be based off of the Cascadia Fault Zone and trigger the San Andreas Fault.  If it just triggers a segment of the zone instead of the whole fault line, we may get off light with just an M8.0 EQ, unless it affect highly populated areas. 

The Hayward Fault in Berkeley-Hayward is long overdue, but while disastrous, will be relatively localized.  Heavily populated with people & businesses it will, still, have far reaching effects.

“Civilization exists by geological consent, subject to change without notice.”   Will Durant (1946).  How true…

rf2-cascadia-subduction-zone-usgs

Oregon/Washington Cascade Range (mountains) & active Volcanoes are a result of the          JDF plate being sub-ducted under the North American Plate.

Rockin’ & Rolling California Style known as: 6.0 EarthQuake

I LOVE California Earthquakes… all except for that gut-wrenching panic fight-or-flight instinct that kicks in after the first 5-10 seconds. Mind you, most EQ’s here don’t last all that long; a bump, a jog, a shift.  Heck, when the washer would kick in the spin cycle, in my mom & dad’s fancy travel RV shaking the trailer, I’d have an automatic panic reaction thinking we were having an earthquake… then I’d realize what was going on.  Perhaps that has de-sensitized me a bit.

That and having experienced the ’89 SF EQcypress2 in which part of a double decker freeway & a segment of the Bay Bridge collapsed. 36 seconds of undulating concrete walls and rippling pillars in the hospital dungeon where I was working (in the basement L&D unit).

As bad as it was, we just had some cracks in the wall, some supply carts that dumped their goods. My husband, a patient in the hospital, went for a ride in his hospital bed as it rolled back & forth, post surgery.

We were only 25 miles away from where some of the major collapses occurred, a 6.9 EQ (officially known as the Loma Prieta EQ). Basically, very minor damage.

OTOH, after that experience, when I went back to college as an older adult to update myself, first thing I took was a class on Earthquakes & Volcanoes. Being a transplant from Texas which deals with floods, droughts, dust storms, and hurricanes; I figured a better handle on more likely california disasters would be useful. Us nurse types like to be prepared!

Here is a question for you. Where has the most serious earthquakes occurred in the USA? The REST of the story….

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