California Earthquake Situation Analysis

- August 10, 1999 -

Many people ask me whether places they live would be safe in an earthquake or not. I would like to tell them if they are in a safe place, but to warn them against a dangerous area, I write this essay to point out what places are relatively dangerous in order to give people time for preparedness. I hope that people living in the relatively dangerous area will not feel panic, but pay more attention to any impending danger.

A satellite image at 12:00 noon (Greenwich time) of July 26, 1999 (1) showed that there was a black triangle in a white cloud. Under the black triangle was a geothermal region, covering a part of three areas: Southern California, Western Nevada, and Northern Mexico. Is it a high coincidence? Furthermore, it looks just like the black hole of the 6.1 Afghanistan earthquake cloud on our cover page. Is it another high coincidence? How did they form?

A meteorologist from UCLA, whose field was special clouds, told me that the meteorology theory could explain neither how the hole of the 6.1 Afghanistan earthquake cloud formed, nor how the small white line-shaped cloud or the 6.1 earthquake cloud formed in the hole. While my earthquake prediction model can. According to my model, there is a hot region around a big impending hypocenter, from which geothermal energy conducts upward, and sometimes can reach to the surface before an earthquake occurs. As the thermal energy reaches to the surface, it heats up the air. The warmed air convects upward, and when it reaches to a weather cloud, a hole forms. The black hole is a clue, implying that there is an impending hypocenter there. This view was supported by my successful Afghanistan earthquake prediction on January 5, 1998.

A difference between this black triangle and that black hole is that the black triangle does not have a line-shaped cloud inside; this means that an earthquake may not come within 49 days.

On July 21, 26, 27, and 28, many earthquake clouds appeared. I photographed them, but not at the times of their initial formation. Moreover, winds confused me about where those clouds came from. The 5.6 mb California-Nevada border earthquake on August 1 was related to the earthquake clouds on July 21 which many people probably saw. But where other clouds came from is still a puzzle, and we need pay more attention to the 49 days since July 26.

Although the 5.6 California-Nevada border earthquake released part of thermal energy, the problem has not disappeared. On the evening of August 3, TV Channel 7 reported temperature of 109 degree at Palm Spring as the highest in Southern California, and the weather reporter said that he could not understand why that place was so hot. On August 4, he reported 104, the highest temperature, at Palm Spring, 90 at the northwest, 94 at the west, 84 at the southwest, and lower than 80 at other places (except both the east and southeast because of no data). This temperature distribution is harmonious with the color-relief (the darker a place, the higher its temperature) of recent satellite images (2).

Earthquakes (>=4) in 1999 are active in three regions (3). One is the black triangle , containing Palm Springs, Landers, Imperial Valley, Volcano Lake (Mexico), and so on . Another is the border between California and Nevada (Latitude > 35 N, longitude < 119 W). The other is the off coast of Northern California. This distribution is compatible with the color-relief map of satellite images (1, 2). According to the color- relief and earthquake data, I think that Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Parkfield, and Northridge will be safe this year. The coastal region is less active than the others. The black triangle indicates a dangerous place.

Since I lack research resources, and there are not enough detailed satellite images for earthquake prediction, I may miss some earthquake clouds, or be unable to determine where they came from. To help people protect themselves against big earthquakes, I propose a few photographs of important earthquake clouds (4~6). You will be able to check a cloud with those photographs. If you are rich enough, you can set up an automatic video camera to scan the sky. This will be helpful for your safety. To detect the time, I also propose other precursors such as gas, water, or oil eruption, sulfurous odor, earth noise, sudden gaps, and earth fire called "earth light".

Recently, geophysicists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) issued a warning that "L.A.'s Big Squeeze likely site of next major quake". They predicted that, "the heart of the city will be struck" (7). That is a good attempt.

Many seismologists insist that predicting earthquakes is impossible. They deny my work, but have not attempted to respond to my two "Yes or No" questions: Can they explain how the 6.1 Afghanistan earthquake cloud on our cover page formed? Can they make some earthquake predictions as good as mine? They should do better than me because of their rich sources and foundations.

I respect the attempt of scientists of JPL, but do not think that next big earthquake will attack the city of Los Angeles. According to my analysis, the next big one will be in either the black triangle, or the California-Nevada border. To detect where is the most dangerous place, I suggest residents in Southern California, Northern Mexico ( latitude > 28 N), and Nevada ( longitude > 110 W) measure outside temperature with a thermometer or a thermograph once a day between 2 and 4 a.m. for ten days, then e-mail me your data with the latitude and the longitude where the date were obtained. This action may help both me and yourselves to find the hottest or the most dangerous place roughly. In fact, the best way to figure out the most dangerous place is to make a grid net, having a distance 10 km between observation points, and use the net to measure temperatures at three depths: surface, a depth of about 0.8 meter, and 1.6 meter under the ground once a day at 2 or 4 a.m..

Finally, I should thank many people for believing my work, telling me of a web site for surface wind distribution, and offerng me their best wishes. I thank the USGS for earthquake data, thank Dundee University, UK and its web master Andrew Brooks, and Utah University for satellite images.


  1. *Martin Kasindorf. L.A.'s Big Squeeze likely site of next major quake. USA TODAY. 8/3 3A (1999).

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