Tingling Brilliance: Earthquake Prone Tunnel

It’s not firm, but out Los Angeles way near Aliso Viejo, California The Land of Perpetual Earthquakes the Powers That Be are in the planning stage for an eleven mile tunnel through an earthquake prone mountain which is only one mile away from a fault line that produced a Seismic 6 less than 100 years ago. Cathryn DeYoung, Mayor of Laguna, thinks that it is less than an idea of brilliance.

But what else can the engineers do? It’s either the tunnel or a 2-level highway.We all saw what happens when the top level of a 2-level highway smashes down on the bottom layer. Squish, squish! That happened in the Oakland quake some years back. It wasn’t pretty!During the Korean War, our train went through the Hokuriku Tunnel between Honshu and Kyushu Japan. It goes under the Sea of Japan for 8.6 miles (13.9km). Now that tunnel is in an earthquake prone area. (To see a listing of the great tunnels on our globe, go to: http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0001340.html).Going through the Kyushu Tunnel was a spine tingling experience. It was dark in there! It seemed like it took us a zillion hours to make the passage, not just a few minutes or more. We could feel the walls pressing in on us, collapsing and dropping a zillion acre feet of water (that’s farm talk) into our lap.I say, build the tunnel!After such irrational exuberance I decided I should poll the public. I drove down Wilshire to La Brea Avenue. I talked to Antonio, a guide at the La Brea Tar Pits (To take a photo tour of the La Brea Tar Pits go to: http://www.rth.org/tarpits/). Standing by the Giant Sloths, I asked Antonio, “What do you think of the proposed earthquake-prone 11-mile tunnel?”Antonio was stunned. “How did you find out about that? It’s a secret. What does “proposed” mean, anyway? And call me Tony.”I said, “Tony, you came from Mexico through an eleven mile underground tunnel?””Oh, you were not talking about that one. Forget it. What was your question again?”I talked to Julia, a guide at the Getty Museum of Art (http://www.getty.edu/). I asked what she thought about the new tunnel and she said, “The one Tony came through from Mexico?”I said, “It seems that I’m the only one that doesn’t know about that tunnel. I’m talking about the one they want to build through the mountain.”She said, “There are seven tunnels through the mountains that I know of. I came through the one with all the rattlesnakes. I was scared to death.”Getting nowhere I talked to Jose on the Long Beach pier. Before I could say anything he said, “You are the guy that’s been snooping around asking about the tunnels. I know an Immigration Officer when I see one. I don’t know about no tunnel.”I said, “Don’t use double negatives.”He ran down the pier and jumped into the ocean. It was a wonderful Acapulco swan dive (read about Acapulco at http://www.allaboutacapulco.com/).Copyright©John T. Jones, Ph.D. 2005

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