California: the Region Around the San Andreas Fault Knows the Imminent Arrival of Big One

California on alert and for cause: the region has recorded unusual seismic activity around the San Andreas Fault this week. Consequence: the risk of Big One is 100 times higher!

In the last four or five days, California has recorded almost 200 mini-earthquakes in an area located 2 hours from Los Angeles and about ten kilometres from the famous San Andreas fault. These earthquakes, measuring between 1.4 and 4.3 on the Richter scale, raise fears of the imminent arrival of Big One, the devastating earthquake on the western side of the United States.

What exactly is the Big One?

It is simply , a huge earthquake of magnitude 8, or more, on the Richter scale that will be located on the San Andreas fault. The expected damage will be very heavy. The two plates located in this area will break and then slide over each other to cause shaking. The Big One has not yet taken place, but the San Andreas fault has already caused two major earthquakes: one in 1854 and the other in 1906 north of San Francisco

Is Big One really imminent?

According to seismologists, is the southern part of the plate that could break. In the Great Salt Lake region, they also recorded mini-earthquakes. This area is located south of the fault. Seismic activity was observed over several hundred metres in length and at a fairly deep level of the fault. If this part were to break then the tremors could spread towards the northern part at a speed of 3 km/s!

Big One is the most anticipated threat of the next 30 years. The risk of this happening is between 1 chance in 100 and 1 chance in 3000. And it is not the first time we have recorded seismic activity of this kind: in 2001 and 2009 there were no consequences.

What might happen if Big One wakes up?

Big One is an expected threat. According to a simulation carried out by the Office of Seismic Engineering in 2008, an earthquake of magnitude 7.8 on the Richter scale would kill 1,800 people, injure 50,000 and cause $200 billion in damage in the Los Angeles area.The earthquake was estimated at in 2008.

On the other hand, California and its population are aware of the risks associated with the rupture of these two sections of the San Andreasfault. The constructions meet the paraseismic standards and Californians know how to react in case of tremors. Finally, is not a collision between two tectonic plates but a horizontal slide. Roads could be cut off and residents could change neighbours. So no huge changes in California’s terrain.

If Big One really does happen next week, as some experts predict, we can always call The Rock!

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