San Francisco earthquake heightens fears over ‘the big one’ that could WIPE OUT California

A ‘SHORT and sharp’ tremor today sparked growing fears over a major earthquake – dubbed ‘the big one’ – that could wipe out southern California.

The magnitude 4.0 quake happened just before 7am Pacific Time (2.49pm BST) in Piedmont, California near the city of San Francisco.

The US Geological Survey said it was at a depth of 3.1 miles and there were no immediate reports of damage or injury.

People across the area reported being woken up by the tremor, with many calling it a standard part of living in San Francisco.

Today’s tremor appears to have occurred along the Hayward fault, around 20 miles east of the infamous San Andreas fault that US Geological Survey experts have long said is at risk of producing ‘the big one’.

They have warned of a major earthquake measuring more than eight on the Richter scale, which could destroy much of southern California – including San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Tom Jordan, director of Southern California Earthquake Center, who co-wrote the study, said: “We are fortunate that seismic activity in California has been relatively low over the past century.

“But we know that tectonic forces are continually tightening the springs of the San Andreas fault system, making big quakes inevitable.”

The study estimated about 1,800 people could be killed and there would only be a one-minute warning.

Even if the worst does not materialise scientists have told Californians there is an almost certainty of an earthquake measuring 6.7 or higher on the Richter scale hitting the area in the next 30 years, with the risk estimated at 99 per cent.

Full article: San Francisco earthquake heightens fears over ‘the big one’ that could WIPE OUT California (Express)

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