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Los Angeles Isn't Waiting For The Next 'Big One'

Meet Dr. Lucy Jones, LA’s new earthquake advisor and hear how she’s preparing the city for the Big One. Plus: San Francisco misses a chance to plan for a denser urban future.

Lucy Jones, a USGS seismologist talks during a news conference at Caltech in Pasadena, Calif, on Monday, March 17, 2014. The pre-dawn quake rolled across the Los Angeles basin on Monday, rattling residents from the San Fernando Valley to Long Beach but causing no reported damage. (AP)

Lucy Jones, a USGS seismologist talks during a news conference at Caltech in Pasadena, Calif, on Monday, March 17, 2014. The pre-dawn quake rolled across the Los Angeles basin on Monday, rattling residents from the San Fernando Valley to Long Beach but causing no reported damage. (AP)

Historically, southern California, on the San Andreas fault, has a huge earthquake every 150 years.  Now it’s been 300 years.  Los Angeles is due, in seismic terms for the Big One.  Big ones can permanently change cities, change history.  Before San Francisco’s last Big One in 1906, it was the New York of the West Coast.  Then it wasn’t.  Seismologist Lucile Jones is planning for LA’s Big One.  Imagining the destruction.  Trying to get the city to prepare for it.  So it’s not a full apocalypse.  This hour On Point:  seismologist, survivalist Lucile Jones on the next Big One and LA.

— Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Lucile Jones, science adviser for seismic safety for the mayor of Los Angeles. Science Advisor for Risk Reduction for the US Geological Survey. (@DrLucyJones)

Rosanna Xia, earthquake safety reporter for the Los Angeles Times. (@RosannaXia)

John Coté, city hall reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle. (@johnwcote)

From Tom’s Reading List

USGS: The ShakeOut Earthquake Scenario – A Story That Southern Californians Are Writing — “The question is not if but when southern California will be hit by a major earthquake — one so damaging that it will permanently change lives and livelihoods in the region. How severe the changes will be depends on the actions that individuals, schools, businesses, organizations, communities, and governments take to get ready.”

Smithsonian Magazine: Meet Lucy Jones, “the Earthquake Lady” — “Jones is among the world’s most influential seismologists—and perhaps the most recognizable. Her file cabinets bulge with fan letters, among them at least one marriage proposal. “The Earthquake Lady,” she’s called. A science adviser for the U.S. Geological Survey in Pasadena, Jones, 57, is an expert on foreshocks, having authored or co-authored 90 research papers, including the first to use statistical analysis to predict the likelihood that any given temblor will be followed by a bigger one.”

San Francisco Chronicle: S.F. voters OK Prop. B on waterfront development — Residents overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure Tuesday to give voters a say in development along a 7 1/2-mile stretch of San Francisco’s waterfront. Proposition B, backed by the local chapter of the Sierra Club, limited-growth activists and progressives from the city’s political left flank, for months had been viewed as an easy winner, giving voters greater say over a cherished part of the city: its bayfront.”

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