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The Sciences

Drop, Cover, and Hold

Cosmic VarianceBy Sean CarrollNovember 12, 2008 9:12 AM


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On 10 a.m. Pacific time this Thursday, Los Angeles will be hit by a major earthquake. And how do we know this? Because it's a pretend earthquake. I just received the following amusing/frightening email:

On Thursday, November 13, the Caltech community, along with millions of other Southern Californians in homes, schools, businesses, government offices, and public places, will participate in the Great Southern California ShakeOut Earthquake Drill. At 10 a.m., everyone is encouraged to drop, cover, and hold on for 120 seconds in simulation of a magnitude 7.8 earthquake on the southern San Andreas Fault. Throughout the day, Caltech will conduct emergency preparedness drills on campus. Audio and video earthquake recordings, which have been created for use in your drop cover and hold drill, can be downloaded at

Yes, the The Great Southern California ShakeOut. Complete with sound effects, suitable for downloading. Kind of like a good old-fashioned nuclear bomb drill. Just part of the price we pay for being able to eat outside in January.

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