Thursday, May 20, 2004

All Californians live under the constant threat of a catastrophic earthquake, as is discussed half to death by worrywarts and stand-up comics statewide. For Bay Area residents, the threat can be particularly distracting, with all of our bridges, tunnels and neuroses (additionally, our local earthquake-science types give us near-100% odds of experiencing a "devastating" earthquake within the next 30 years). The threat for Berkeley residents, like myself, has an especially grim component: much of the city, including my area, lies atop what's known in seismological circles as a "liquefaction zone", which is what it sounds like. With sufficient shaking, the earth beneath our poor feet will, um, cease to be a solid. The Nougat Zone, I call it. May I repeat the critical element? The earth will cease to be a solid.


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