is a Made-for-TV Movie Mini Series
for NBC Disaster Movie
about a series of increasingly damaging geological events first on the West Coast of the United States and then into the Midwest.
The two-part miniseries opens up when a large quake strikes the Seattle area and brings down the Space Needle. Later a bigger quake devours a train and catches some suspicions from our resident Ignored Expert
scientist Kim Delaney. She suspects the quakes are only going to get bigger and will eventually sink the entirety of the West Coast. She plans to counter said problem by detonating nukes
at precise locations to stop the fault.
It spawned a second part titled 10.5: Apocalypse
which took the audacity of the first movie and took it Up to Eleven
Now say the mantra
again and again until you finally regain your faith in humanity.
Tropes used by this series include:
- Artistic License - Geology: For one thing, it is literally impossible for an earthquake with a magnitude of 10.5 on the Richter Scale to occur through normal geological processes,note because there aren't any faults big enough.
- A major detail about this trope : an earthquake of high magnitude is A LOT of shaking, and above 6—7 on the scale you cannot run, much less walk. at 8—9 you can't even stand up. Yet in the referenced 10.5 events you have people running for their lives as if the Screen Shake was really just a visual effect. There's even someone fleeing on a bike during an earthquake powerful enough to knock down the Space Needle!
- The ultimate cause of the disasters was described near the beginning of the movie as being below the asthenosphere, i.e. in the mantle itself.
- Buried Alive: The second earthquake in the first movie does this to an entire town.
- Deadly Gas: Earthquakes in both movies rupture underground gas pockets.
- Deus Ex Nukina: In addition to their traditional roles as weapons of mass destruction, nuclear explosions can also apparently stop earthquakes. Who knew?
- Disaster Movie: In more than one way.
- Doomed Contrarian: As seen in the sunken casino scene in Apocalypse.
- Averted in the first movie.
- Earthquakes Cause Fissures
- Heroic Sacrifice: Roy Nolan has to set off the last nuke manually. He had already been mortally wounded by it falling down the drill hole on him after it got damaged.
- Market-Based Title: When this was screened on Channel Four in Britain it was called Earthquake: 10.5 (presumably because Britain isn't prone to earth tremors of such a scale).
- Monumental Damage: The Space Needle and the Hollywood sign fall in the first part. Monument Valley gets flooded and Mt. Rushmore gets destroyed outright in Apocalypse.
- Nuke 'em: The government sets off a chain of nukes in an attempt to quell the quake, including one in what's alleged to be "Gilroy, California". No more Garlic Festival...
- One-Dimensional Thinking: A bicyclist is victim to this trope in the Seattle event.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: President Hollister. He encourages Nolan to become this after the latter was skeptical about Dr. Hill's theory.
- Quicksand Sucks
- Title Drop: The magnitude of the climactic earthquake is ... 10.5.
- Up to Eleven: The second part does this to the premise of the first.
- Serial Escalation: The first movie splits Los Angeles off into its own island. The second movie splits the continent in half.