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Should Californians be worried after recent earthquakes in other parts of the world?

Significant earthquakes rattled Mexico and Taiwan in recent days. Does this mean Californians should be on edge?

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — On Sept. 17, a 6.9 magnitude earthquake hit off the east coast of Taiwan. Two days later, the west coast of Mexico was shaken by a 7.6 magnitude quake, followed by a 6.8 earthquake.

We're no strangers to earthquakes here in California. We all know about the "Big One" likely to happen again at some point in California's future, similar in strength to the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco.

With the recent shaking in other areas around the Pacific, is the "Big One" closer now than it was a few weeks ago?

“Earthquakes can affect other earthquakes, that's for sure," explained USGS geophysicist Dr. Morgan Page. "When earthquakes happen, there are aftershocks, for example, that happen in the surrounding areas and that's normal. But these earthquakes in Taiwan and Mexico are very far away from California, and they're not big enough or close enough to have a reach into basically, our seismic forecasts, our seismic hazard.”

Cynthia Pridmore, Engineering Geologist with the California Geological Survey's Seismic Hazard Program, agrees.

"There's not a strong correlation that I know in between them. It's just the timing. They're both in active, very active, plate boundaries, very complex tectonic plate boundaries," said Pridmore.

Sacramento and the Central Valley as a whole are relatively sheltered from large earthquakes, especially when compared to cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco. If the "Big One" were to occur in the Bay Area, Pridmore says Sacramentans would know it.

"We would feel it. We wouldn't have the violent shaking that if you're right underneath it would be, but we would feel it here in this region," said Pridmore.

Despite all this, earthquakes in one part of the world don't necessarily mean we'll see earthquakes in another. Unlike other natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes and even tsunamis, earthquakes are unpredictable and can strike with only seconds notice. So, no matter where you live in California, it's good to be prepared.

Dr. Page says there's a lot we can do to be ready if an earthquake strikes. 

"Everyone should have water on hand; enough for three days for every person in the household. You should have extra food, you should have batteries for flashlights, and you need to make sure your space is secure," said Page.

Besides causing significant damage, earthquakes can disrupt water and food supplies, meaning you might need to be on your own for a few days in the event of a particularly large earthquake. She emphasizes it's important to secure where you are.

"So in California, we're not usually killed by our buildings, we're usually killed by the objects in our home that are not properly secured, like TVs and bookshelves. Make sure the places where you spend a lot of time... your bed, make sure there's nothing heavy that can fall on you and hurt you," said Page.

You'll hear no disagreements from Pridmore.

"It is something within our culture [we] need to be ready for. California is a seismically active state. We've had strong earthquakes in the past, and we expect to have them in the future. We can't say when they're going to happen, but we know enough that it's important for people to be prepared," said Pridmore.

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