California Edges Closer to ‘The Big One’ Earthquake

California Edges Closer to 'The Big One' Earthquake

Hannah Heintz, Staff Writer

What is ‘The Big One’ Earthquake?

This big earthquake is supposed to be a 7.8 magnitude or higher earthquake that will hit along the Southern San Andreas fault line. Ridgecrest and Trona was the last big earthquake California had with a magnitude of 6.4 and 7.1. Compared to these earthquakes, ‘The Big One’ will be 11 times stronger than Ridgecrest.  


When will ‘The Big One’ hit?

There isn’t an exact prediction of when the earthquake will happen but according to USGS, they say, “there is a 70% chance that one or more quakes of 6.7 or higher will occur before the year 2030.” There have been other predictions of the earthquake too. According to Kerry Sieh who is the inventor of the entire field of paleo seismology says, “big quakes like this occur on the southern San Andreas every 45-230 years and we haven’t had one in 161 years.” So according to these predictions, the earthquake can happen any time from now and possibly less than 50 years. 

What are the chances of this terrible scenario happening?

A seismologist Lucy Jones states: “This will happen. We are not stopping plate tectonics.” She and other scientists are sure it will happen if you give it enough time. The USGS has some more estimates on what the magnitude of this earthquake will be and how likely it will happen in Los Angeles. They predict a “60% chance earthquake measuring a magnitude of 6.7m.” There is a “46% chance earthquake measuring a magnitude of 7m.” And last, there is a “31% chance earthquake measuring a magnitude of 7.5.” Based on those estimates the chances of this scenario happening are slim but possible. 

What will happen if ‘The Big One’ hits California?

Tsunami: One of the biggest concerns after an earthquake is tsunamis. Thankfully there will not be a tsunami in this case. The reason why there wouldn’t be a tsunami is because the San Andreas fault is not in a subduction zone. Tsunamis are more likely to happen in subduction zones.

Deaths: There will be 1800 deaths and 750 people will be trapped in collapsed buildings

Injuries: 50,000 people

Fires: Most of the deaths would be caused by fires. According to “the report” there should be 1,600 fires after the quake with 1,200 of them being big fires. As you know fires spread quickly and grow into bigger fires. Just as we all know the San Francisco earthquake was referred to as the San Francisco Fire because of all the fires after the earthquake.

Water supply: After an earthquake, it is most likely that a sewer pipe would crack and leak into the water supply. That is why you boil the water so, after an earthquake like this, it is possible that L.A. could be on boil water warning for 18 months.

Domestic Violence: Normally after an earthquake, there will be some domestic violence. That includes looting, violent crimes, and scams.

Displaced from home: 270,000 people

Estimated amount in damage: $200 billion in damage and other losses.

ER care: 50,000 people

Search and rescue: Search and rescue teams will last for 19 days of effort.




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