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EARTHQUAKE RISK ZONES MAPPED; SIMI, THOUSAND OAKS VULNERABLE.

Byline: David Greenberg Staff Writer

State officials on Tuesday unveiled new seismic hazard zone maps they say will help planners, developers and homeowners prepare for future earthquakes, including ``the Big One'' geologists expect to rattle California within 30 years.

The Department of Conservation maps show that sections of Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks, Moorpark, Ontario and Mount Baldy are particularly vulnerable to the so-called ``secondary hazards'' of a quake.

These include landslides and liquefaction, which occurs when sandy soil is shaken, forcing groundwater three to 15 feet below the surface to rise up through the soil to create quicksand. As a result, buildings can collapse or slide off weak and poorly attached foundations, geologists said.

``You can't live anywhere in the L.A. area where you don't have to deal with earthquakes,'' agency Director Darryl Young said. ``But you can survive an earthquake if you take the right precautions. If you ignore the information - if you're in denial - it will be very difficult to avoid some form of damage to your house and some risk to your health.''

City officials will use the maps to identify specific areas that need special geological studies before future development permits are issued.

Vulnerable areas include land running along the Arroyo Simi in Simi Valley, the Conejo Creek in Thousand Oaks and the Santa Clara River and Arroyo Las Posas in Moorpark. But geologists warned that liquefaction can occur in areas far away from bodies of water.

They also urged homeowners in hazard zones to spent the $3,000 to $5,000 needed to reinforce and thicken foundations, bolt them to house frames and anchor large pieces of furniture and major appliances to walls.

``It's probably one of the cheapest forms of earthquake insurance around,'' said Ted Smith, a supervising geologist with the Department of Conservation's division of mines and geology. ``It doesn't take a lot of shaking to allow liquefaction to occur.''

He added that the average insurance payout for a single-family home damaged in the 1994 Northridge Earthquake was $60,000 to $70,000.

Liquefaction, geologists said, can occur during an earthquake with a magnitude measuring only 5.0.

In comparison, the Northridge earthquake measured 6.7.

Department of Conservation geologists said there is a 70 percent chance of an earthquake measuring 7.5 or stronger to shoot up the San Andreas Fault, severely damaging communities statewide, within the next 30 years.

With the release of the maps, property owners must disclose to buyers that their land is in a seismic hazard zone, Young said.

Michael Kuhn, a senior planner for Simi Valley, said he hopes the maps local officials received last week inform home shoppers without scaring them away.

``People when they buy property should be as informed as possible,'' he said. ``But in some cases, people will read into it more than they should. If a home is in the seismic hazard area, a potential buyer might not purchase a home that he otherwise might have purchased.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Nov 29, 2000
Words:496
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