For a long time Californians have been made aware consistently that the “big one” is coming. Someday a massive earthquake is certainly going rip through the San Andreas Fault, possibly triggering thousands of casualties and billions of dollars in damage. So far nothing that severe has happened in recent memory. With the exception of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, the state has been for the most part spared from any serious tectonic catastrophe.
But as outlined by some experts we might not have to wait much longer, particularly in regards to the southern portion of the San Andreas fault near San Diego and Los Angeles. That’s because it’s been so long since this fault has had an earthquake. The pressure is building there. The fault generally has a major earthquake every 100 years or so, but this specific portion hasn’t experienced a major quake since 1857, which was a magnitude 7.9.
Reported by Thomas Jordan, director of the Southern California Earthquake Center:
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.
If it’s anything like the earthquake of 1857 (and it could simply be worse), the consequences will be felt all over California. The last time it occurred, soil was liquefied as far north as Stockton, well over 300 miles away. It’s predicted that a quake of this magnitude would kill 1,800 people and do $200 billion in damages, in spite of modern building standards. In terms of damages and casualties, that would put it in the same category as Hurricane Katrina.