Are You Ready? The Ridgecrest Earthquakes That Struck Southern California Last July Have Increased the Risk of a ‘Big One’ Along the San Andreas Fault

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This time last year, a series of powerful earthquakes struck Southern California, culminating in a magnitude 7.1 temblor and a set of aftershocks.

And according to a new study, those tremors may have inched the state closer to a much larger, deadlier catastrophe: A Big One along the San Andreas Fault.

Millions of people live in the area of the San Andreas fault which is overdue for a big earthquake
Millions of people live in the area of the San Andreas fault which is overdue for a big earthquake. Picture via Temblor

Buildings caught fire. Gas lines ruptured, and power went out. Deep fissures opened in the ground. A rockslide blocked off a highway.

Within a week, scientists recorded more than 3,000 quakes in the area around California’s Searles Valley.

And according to a new study, those tremors may have inched the state closer to a much larger, deadlier catastrophe.

That’s because the series of seismic events — dubbed the “Ridgecrest earthquakes” for the town near their epicenter — increased the chances of a large rupture on the San Andreas fault, according to two seismology researchers.

Millions of people live in the area of the San Andreas fault which is overdue for a big earthquake
Stresses imparted by the largest earthquakes known to have struck within 90 miles (150 kilometers) of the Ridgecrest epicenters. Picture via Temblor

The San Andreas slices through 800 miles of the California coastline, from Eureka to San Bernardino. The fault long overdue for “the big one” — the term for a magnitude 6.7 or higher along that fault.

The big one will most likely crumble buildings, cause explosions from ruptured natural gas lines, trigger landslides, and collapse bridges.

The new research suggests that smaller earthquakes in California could trigger such a disaster via connecting fault lines.

A connecting fault line could trigger ‘the big one’

The new threat comes by way of the Garlock fault line, which runs 160 miles through the Mojave Desert and connects the site of the Ridgecrest quakes to the larger San Andreas fault.

The Garlock fault previously had an estimated 0.023% chance of producing an earthquake of magnitude 7.5 or greater in the next 12 months. But after Ridgecrest, the researchers calculated that those chances grew to 2.3% — a hundredfold increase.

Millions of people live in the area of the San Andreas fault which is overdue for a big earthquake
forecast for magnitude-2.0+ quakes for the period, 1 April 2020-31 March 2021. Picture via Temblor

If such an earthquake were to strike the Garlock fault, it could trigger a disaster along the San Andreas. That means there is a 1.12% chance of a large earthquake on the San Andreas within the year. That’s about three to five times as likely as in a normal year.

The Ridgecrest earthquake brought the Garlock fault closer to rupture. If that fault ruptures — and it gets within about 25 miles of the San Andreas — then there’s a high likelihood, maybe a 50-50 shot, that it would immediately rupture on the San Andreas,explained Ross Stein.

The Big One is Overdue

However, the chances of a major San Andreas earthquake in the next year remain low.

It’s kind of a Rube Goldberg scenario,” said Susan Hough, a USGS research seismologist, of the scenario that Stein and Toda describe. “It’s possible, but in terms of something to worry about, it’s a low probability.

Still, seismologists agree that the big one is overdue.

The last big earthquake to hit the LA segment of the San Andreas fault was 1680,” the physicist Michio Kaku told CBS News last July. “That’s over 300 years ago. But the cycle time for breaks and earthquakes on the San Andreas fault is 130 years, so we are way overdue.

Millions of people live in the area of the San Andreas fault which is overdue for a big earthquake
The Garlock Fault links the remote 2019 Ridgecrest rupture to the San Andreas, with densely populated greater Los Angeles nearby. We find that the Garlock is now about 100 times more likely to rupture in a large quake than it was prior to the Ridgecrest events. If it did so, and if the rupture came within 30 miles (45 kilometers) of the San Andreas, there is a 50/50 chance that the Mojave (red) section of the San Andreas would follow suit. Picture via Temblor

Nobody should panic… But at the same time, the inference that the San Andreas likelihood of rupture has increased should be a reminder that anybody in Los Angeles should ask themselves, ‘Am I ready?’

So if you live in the area and well beyond, be prepared for this cataclysmic earthquake. Stock up on water, nonperishable food, and emergency medical supplies, as well as know what to do in the event of a major earthquake.

More earthquake and preparedness news on Strange Sounds and Steve Quayle. [Temblor, LA Times, BI]

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5 COMMENTS

  1. These stories always come up, a week or two, after we watch the big, giant earthquake plane, making sweeping, downward motions, over the area.

  2. May have, could be? STOP THE GD GUESSING AND GET REAL. Why do those morons keep spewing this crap when there is not a GD thing anyone can do about it. They don’t have a clue in hell of when or what “MAY” happen, but at least they are on the job….. Yeah right the job of making it look like they are earning their keep. This is the idiocy of the current crop of scientist and their fake metrics just like what we are learning about COVID-19 and the numbers the CDC is using to keep us in lockdown. STOP THIS GD HYSTERIA AND ACT LIKE MEN INSTEAD OF LITTLE GIRLS !!!

  3. IF THE PEOPLE really wanted to know whats coming THEY’D ASK THE LORD,and hes told ALL his people TO GET OFF THE WEST COAST,there will be a 5.4,then it’ll be a 8.2,and the next day a 12.2,the west coast will BREAK OFF THE MAIN LAND AND GO INTO THE OCEAN,how sad..FOR those stupid enough to have trusted SATANS MINIONS,THE GOVERNMENT LIARS..

  4. This time Great spirit will shake down earth with its 2 hands .The cities in the world are in lock down are places that will not be survive in world war 3 already in full progress. Donald Trump is puppet of new world order indeed.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7laeCqyyh0
    Donald J Trump backs the Bill gate multiple vaccines by Election time.
    Views are posted by Mohsen is not necessary of mine or Strange Sounds.
    Disclaimer always apply

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