On Monday, a 4.4 magnitude earthquake threw the city of Los Angeles into a bit of a tizzy. The ground shook, people screamed and news anchors ducked under their desks. But it was just a 4.4 magnitude earthquake. So what would happen if the “Big One” hit California? What would happen if an earthquake hundreds of times more powerful than the one that we saw on Monday hit Los Angeles or San Francisco? We don’t really know what would happen, because nothing like that has happened in modern times. Fortunately for us, we have been living during a time of extremely low seismic activity in California. But scientists assure us that will change at some point, and some of them are now warning that when the “Big One” does strike that the devastation could be far worse than people have been imagining.
If you want a good laugh, check out the video that I have posted below. A couple of news anchors at KTLA literally dove under their desks when the earthquake started shaking their studio, and their reactions are priceless…
Fortunately, this earthquake pretty much turned out to be a non-event. But according to the Los Angeles Times, there is the possibility that this earthquake could actually have been a “foreshock” of an even larger earthquake that will happen later…
Graves said there is always the small possibility that the 4.4 earthquake was only a prelude to an equal or stronger shake.
“Always the possibility that it’s a foreshock,” Graves said, adding that about 5% of earthquakes are followed by an equal or larger shake and that if it does happen, it would occur within the next several hours.
But Graves did say that “certainly we would expect more aftershocks.”
Let us hope that does not turn out to be the case.
But it does appear that seismic activity in California is starting to pick up. Earlier in March, a 6.9 magnitude earthquake struck just off the northern California coastline…
A magnitude 6.9 earthquake off the coast of Northern California on Sunday night was the largest on the West Coast since the 7.2 Baja California quake in 2010.
Sunday’s temblor was followed by a series of at least 13 aftershocks as large as a magnitude 4.6, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The big quake occurred at 10:18 p.m. in the Pacific Ocean 50 miles west of Eureka in Humboldt County. The USGS put the depth of the quake at about four miles.
And scientists are becoming increasingly concerned about the potential for catastrophic destruction in northern California the more that they study the Cascadia fault. According to one recent study, a 9.0 earthquake along the Cascadia fault could produce a giant tsunami that would “wash away coastal towns”…
If a 9.0 earthquake were to strike along California’s sparsely populated North Coast, it would have a catastrophic ripple effect.
A giant tsunami created by the quake would wash away coastal towns, destroy U.S. 101 and cause $70 billion in damage over a large swath of the Pacific coast. More than 100 bridges would be lost, power lines toppled and coastal towns isolated. Residents would have as few as 15 minutes notice to flee to higher ground, and as many as 10,000 would perish.
Scientists last year published this grim scenario for a massive rupture along the Cascadia fault system, which runs 700 miles off shore from Northern California to Vancouver Island.
But of course when you are talking about the “Big One”, most people think of the San Andreas fault in southern California.
According to recent research conducted by scientists at Stanford and MIT, the damage that a massive earthquake would do to downtown Los Angeles could be up to three times greater than previously believed…
A seismology study by scientists from Stanford and MIT, published in the journal Science on Friday, finds that if the Big One hits the San Andreas Fault near Palm Springs, some seismic waves will travel near the path of the 10 Freeway into the heart of Los Angeles, where the city and its suburbs will suffer stronger ground motions than previously believed. Downtown L.A. will endure three times the shaking of surrounding areas, scientists now say.
The study shows that a “funneling action” of seismic waves will roll straight into the Los Angeles Basin through a 60-mile-long corridor, striking a 13-million population region that stretches from the Santa Monica Mountains to Newport Bay and inland to the basins of the San Gabriel and Santa Ana rivers. The study confirms a 2006 supercomputer simulation that predicted L.A. could endure worse shaking than long feared.
So when will the “Big One” strike?
U.S. Geological Survey seismologist David Oppenheimer puts it this way…
“It could be today. It could be 100 years from now.”
But what we do know is that the “Ring of Fire” is becoming more active, and the California coastline sits right along it.
For example, a 6.7 magnitude earthquake hit an area just off the northern coast of Chile on Sunday…
A strong quake struck off northern Chile on Sunday evening, triggering a preventive evacuation of part of the coastal area but not causing any injuries or damage to the country’s crucial copper mines.
The magnitude 6.7 quake, originally measured as a 7.0, was centered 37 miles west-northwest of Iquique and hit at a depth of 12.4 miles, the U.S. Geological Survey said.
The day before that, a 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck the northern coast of Peru.
And at the end of last week we witnessed a whole host of significant earthquake events all over the planet. The following comes from a recent Extinction Protocol article…
In the past 24 hours, the planet has been reeling from a series of moderate earthquakes that have erupted all across the Ring of Fire. The Ring of Fire is an area where a large number of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur in the basin of the Pacific Ocean. It is the most geologically-active region on the planet. In a nearly 40,000 km (25,000 mi) horseshoe shape, the region is associated with a nearly continuous series of oceanic trenches, volcanic arcs, and volcanic belts and/or plate movements. It has 452 volcanoes and is home to over 75% of the world’s active and dormant volcanoes. About 90% of the world’s earthquakes and 81% of the world’s largest earthquakes occur along the Ring of Fire. In the past 24 hours, double moderate earthquakes 5.3 and 5.6 magnitude earthquakes have struck Indonesia. A 5.4 magnitude earthquake struck NE of San Isidro Philippines. A 5.3 magnitude earthquake struck NE of the Iwo Jima Islands of Japan. A 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck South Central Peru. A 5.0 magnitude earthquake struck SE of Easter Island. A 5.4 magnitude earthquake struck SE Colombia. A 5.4 magnitude earthquake struck WSW of Santa Cruz, Chile. A 5.4 magnitude earthquake struck south of the continent of Africa. A 5.2 and 5.0 erupted along the Owen Fracture Zone, west of Africa. A 4.5 magnitude earthquake struck Greece. A 4.0 quake was reported NE of Xudat, Azerbaijan. And a 4.8 magnitude earthquake was reported ESE of Mohean, India.
So this latest California earthquake comes in the context of a lot of other seismic activity worldwide.
And without a doubt, the state of California is long overdue for a major earthquake.
It is going to occur at some point. Everyone agrees on that.
The only question is when it will happen.
Below, I have posted a graphic of the San Andreas fault that was produced by the U.S. government. As you can see, two tectonic plates are moving past one another. In fact, scientists tell us that eventually the city of Los Angeles and the city of San Francisco will be right next to one another, although they believe that this will happen over a very long period of time.
If those tectonic plates start shifting in a very violent manner, is it possible that part of California could fall into the ocean like so many people joke about?
Most scientists insist that could never, ever happen.
Others are not so sure.
What about you?
What do you think will happen when the “Big One” hits California.
Please feel free to share what you think by posting a comment below…