By Tommy Hough
If you've been following the news in the wake of this weekend's one-two punch of magnitude 6.4 and 7.1 earthquakes near Ridgecrest and Searles Valley, you've likely seen Dr. Lucy Jones with her U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) colleagues on television talking about the impact of the two quakes, the vigorous sequence of aftershocks, and what to expect moving forward as Southern California ends its two decade earthquake drought.
I first met Dr. Jones at the inaugural Great California Shakeout press event at the California Institute of Technology in June 2008, and had a chance to speak with her at length in Dec. 2014, when I was recording interviews for a Public News Service story I was doing on Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti's sweeping new retrofit plan for the city.
At the time I was only able to use bite-sized "actualities" as story quotes, and while I had plenty of material to choose from, being something of an earthquake student I remember thinking it was a shame I wasn't able to use more of my conversation with Dr. Jones for the story, or for a more long-form presentation similar to what I'd been doing a few years earlier with my Treehuggers International show.
After I submitted my story I moved on to my next assignment, but after this weekend's quakes I decided to go back and revisit my interview. I found several of the points Dr. Jones mentioned to be entirely relevant today, including concerns over the loss of affordable and workforce housing, being cut off from regional water sources, and the long-term economic impacts for Southern California.
Calif. State Route 178 aerial photo courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey (public domain)
Dr. Lucy Jones photo by Tommy Hough
Tommy Hough is a former San Diego broadcast personality, wilderness and parks advocate, California Democratic Party delegate, and the co-founder and former president of San Diego County Democrats for Environmental Action. He was the endorsed Democratic candidate for San Diego City Council in District 6 in 2018.