Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Major earthquake due in California with San Andreas fault 'locked, loaded and ready to roll', seismologists warn

[Independent] Residents of southern California have been warned by a top seismologist that the San Andreas fault is “locked, loaded and ready to go” and a major earthquake in the region is overdue.
The dire warning has come just a few months after the Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, pushed legislation through the City Council demanding that the most vulnerable buildings in the city be retrofitted as soon as possible so they will be able to withstand violent shaking.
It was delivered by Thomas Jordan, director of the Southern California Earthquake Centre, speaking at an earthquake conference in Long Beach.  “The San Andreas fault is locked, loaded and ready to roll. The springs of that fault have been wound pretty tightly and the situation is there where we could have major earthquakes in California,” he told an audience of fellow seismologists.
The Earthquake Centre has meanwhile released as sobering graphic that simulates how far the shaking would travel if, as he suggests, it is of 8.0 magnitude.
While predicting earthquakes remains an uncertain science, there has been concern among experts for some time that the San Andreas fault may be close to a new, major ruction if only by virtue of the length of time since it happened last, when the southern portion of the fault was struck by a 7.9 shaker all the way back in 1857.
Since then the tectonic plates that meet at the fault have been continuously on the move at a rate of about 2 inches per year. That means that over 159 years there has been a shift of 26 feet as the Pacific plate moves in a northwesterly direction against the American continental plate.  Every additional inch creates additional pressures on the rocks beneath the earth’s surface. Read More