Friday, December 16, 2016

What Lies Beneath

San Francisco’s ship cemetery: The Financial District (click here)

Post by Jenny Stein

I don't usually give much thought to what's buried in the silt and mud beneath our floating home. Then the tide moves out and some oddly-shaped half-decayed piece of wood catches my eye. Or I find myself mourning (still) a particularly beautifully crafted tool we lost in the course of renovation; one of the few items we weren't able to rescue with our giant magnet.

The above post caught my attention for it's focus on the many sunken ships that form the foundation upon which downtown San Francisco and SF's South Beach is constructed. It's a fascinating history dating back to the Gold Rush, and worth a look. Imagine 500 ships anchored in San Francisco Bay. Over time many were abandoned or repurposed as warehouses and hotels; eventually they rotted and sank. Sound familiar?

For nearly a year now I've been following Temblor – a site that explores geological dynamics: the shifting plates beneath our feet and the seismic shifts that occur worldwide. Finally I have the right story to introduce Temblor to the floating home community. Temblor has mapped the locations and names of these sunken ships. I wonder what a similar research would reveal about Sausalito and some of the built-up areas of Richardson Bay.

As for Temblor's area of expertise, want to know (and who wouldn't?) the degree of likelihood of an earthquake before purchasing your home? Consult Temblor. Want to understand concepts of liquefaction, whereby solid ground becomes a a soupy sandy mess (think of the Marina District during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake)? This is your site.

In the event of a really big earthquake, will our piers be a jumble of pilings with boards chaotically thrown about like some mad Jengo game? I would hope not. We weathered the 1989 earthquake just fine. That hope notwithstanding, here's a not so subtle reminder that we live in an area vulnerable to earthquakes. This is reason enough to pay attention to emergency preparedness – whether tying down large pots, laying in enough food and water to last 3 days or signing up for CERT* training. We're better off planning to look after ourselves, when, quite frankly, we may well be our own first responders.

*Next CERT training scheduled for April 1 and 8, 2017