Residents of California are understandably shaken over new predictions that a “mega-quake” of magnitude 8.0 or greater will rock the Golden State sometime within the next 30 years. According to the Los Angeles Times, the U.S. Geological Survey has raised California’s risk of such a quake from 4.7 percent to 7 percent.
One reason behind the increased chance for a devastating mega-quake is the conclusion by geologists that earthquake faults are interconnected, allowing quakes that start along one fault line to spread, or “jump,” to others. After looking at the layout of faults throughout California, U.S. Geological Survey scientists are now of the opinion that there is a compounded and relatively imminent risk for a catastrophic event in the region.
“[I]t has become increasingly apparent that we are not dealing with a few well-separate faults, but with a vast interconnected fault system,” said U.S.G.S. seismologist Ned Field. “In fact, it has become difficult to identify where some faults end and others begin, implying many more opportunities for multi-fault ruptures.”
Tom Jordan, Director of the Southern California Earthquake California Earthquake Center, commented on the U.S.G.S. report in a statement quoted by Sci-Tech Today.
“We are fortunate that seismic activity in California has been relatively low over the past century,” said Jordan. “But we know that tectonic forces are continually tightening the springs of the San Andreas fault system, making big quakes inevitable.”
Full article: Mega-Quake Threat Looms For California (Inquisitor)