In Citizens Band (CB) radio parlance, Los Angeles is called Shaky Town because of our earthquakes. It’s even in the C. W. McCall song “Convoy” that marked the apogee of the whole CB craze in the 1970s. (I suppose that’s marginally better than the truckers’ parlance for San Francisco: Gay Bay.)
We have been shaking often, but in a small way, ever since the quake swarm began a couple of weeks ago. The actual shaking was not great where we live, because we are some 25 miles from the epicenter, but there is always that sickening few seconds when you wonder whether the intensity is going to ramp up into something more devastating, like the 1971 Sylmar or 1994 Northridge catastrophes. But all that’s happened to me so far is that three or four books have fallen off their overcrowded shelves.
The activity has been along the La Puente Fault, which runs from downtown south and then east. I believe it’s the same fault that was in play for the 1987 Whittier Narrows quake, which I had the good fortune to miss because I was camping in New Mexico at the time. But because it touches downtown, the emergency officials are concerned it may knock down a skyscraper or two—maybe even City Hall.
There have been so many hundreds of aftershocks that I am beginning to think we dodged the bullet this time. When there are so many aftershocks, it’s unlikely any of them can be viewed as fore-shocks, or even five-shocks—or worse.