This article in the Washington Post http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/how-the-virginia-earthquake-packed-such-a-punch/2012/04/18/gIQAlJVqRT_story.html shows something that we already know but have yet to fully absorb: we have so much more to learn when it comes to earthquakes - what causes them, their short- and long-term effects are, what we can and cannot predict.
The Virginia earthquake was only 5.8 magnitude, but still was much higher than expected. And it WAS expected . . .by scientists at least. Like most of us, the public had heard something about earthquake risks but filed that information away in the “worry about later" portion of their memory. Residents were caught unprepared and damages to buildings are estimated at $200-$300 million.
“The Virginia earthquake suggests that what we’ve seen in the past is not as bad as what we could potentially see in the future,” said John Ebel, a Boston College geophysicist who spoke with reporters in a conference call Wednesday from a meeting of the Seismological Society of America in San Diego.
We should use these findings as motivation to think critically about our own state of preparedness: how will we take care of our families and help our neighbors for the days or weeks it takes of power to be restored? We need to encourage ourselves, our friends, and our leaders to take the steps - to over prepare - so when a quake strikes, we're not caught without a plan.