If you live in or anywhere near the West Coast, it is time to start enhancing your earthquake preparedness plan. The lengthy and volatile San Andreas fault line in California is “locked, loaded and ready to roll” out the “big one,” according to a quake expert who attended the recent National Earthquake Conference.
The fault line has not been shifting as expected to reduce stress, prompting geologists and environmental researchers to determine an 8.0 magnitude earthquake is long overdue and will be of epic proportion when it does occur.
The last earthquake of similar size struck in 1857, when a 7.9 magnitude quake raged for 185 miles, stretching from the San Gabriel Mountains, where Monterey County is now located, to modern-day Los Angeles.
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“The springs on the San Andreas system have been wound very, very tight. And the southern San Andreas fault, in particular, looks like it’s locked, loaded and ready to go,” Thomas Jordan, director of the Southern California Earthquake Center, told attendees at the conference.
When exactly do the learned scientists think the San Andreas fault line will rupture? They readily admit they just don’t know – it could be in the next five years, or the next five minutes.
If the stress build-up on the fault line continues, a San Andreas earthquake could very likely spark the adjacent San Jacinto fault line to erupt, the Daily Mail reported. That second California fault line passes through San Bernardino County and the Cajon Pass region of the state.
An 8.0 magnitude earthquake in the Los Angeles area is predicted to cause between 3,000 and 14,000 deaths, and more than $200 billion in damage. Both the death toll and the destruction would multiply significantly if the initial earthquake triggered a rupture of the San Jacinto fault line, scientists contend. Flooding caused by ocean waves becoming trapped in low-lying areas, would possibly bring about another Hurricane Katrina scenario.
The Northridge earthquake of 1994, which occurred along another fault line in California, was deemed a major earthquake at the time. Researchers now contend that a rupture in the San Andreas would make the carnage and damage caused more than two decades ago pale by comparison.
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