L.A. "Ready to Roll" for Earthquake. Is NYC? Seismometer To Be Placed Under Washington Square Park to Measure "Potential Damage"

Banner Along Santa Monica Boulevard in Beverly Hills

Los Angeles has designated April Earthquake Preparedness Month and the city recently unveiled new banners that certainly, uh, get your attention. Planted in Beverly Hills, they read: “When it rocks, are you ready to roll?The New York Times has the story.

Is New York City prepared for an earthquake? Concern seems warranted as it appears we may be 17 years overdue.

NYU daily Washington Square News spoke to experts on the matter and reports that Columbia University will install a seismometer under Washington Square Park this summer to “assess the potential damage caused if a big earthquake were to hit New York.”

“New York is much less well-prepared for earthquakes than Japan,” John Armbrust, a Columbia seismology professor, said, comparing the potential consequences of a quake in the city with the challenges Japan faced after it was hit by a 9.0 earthquake in March.

In a study published in 2008, Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory warned that New York City should expect an earthquake every 100 years. The most recent major earthquake hit in 1884.

They might want to measure activity under the Washington Square Fountain. The relatively new structure, installed during Phase I Redesign in 2009, is already looking a little shaky. Could that be due to tremors or more likely faulty construction?