Latest Prediction Of What California’s ‘Big One’ Might Look Like

Recently, I’ve talked a bit about what some earthquake experts suspect might happen to California when the “Big One” strikes.

I blogged about Dr. Lucy Jones, the “Earthquake Lady,” in December.

Then I wrote about Dr. Katherine Scharer and a disturbing $200 billion national economic loss projection in March.

A couple of days ago, I came across the following on The Week website. Frances Weaver reported on April 19:

Today, geologists say, there’s a 99.7 percent chance of a Big One of at least magnitude 6.7 striking California within the next three decades, with Southern California most at risk. Fears that a big quake is imminent in Los Angeles were stoked in March when two earthquakes, including a magnitude-5.1 quake in La Habra, cracked walls, triggered landslides, and sent furniture flying. “Sooner or later there’s going to be the Big One,” says U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) seismologist Kate Hutton.

How bad would it be?
“You would see buildings collapse, you’d see people trapped, you’d see roadways collapse,” said Kelly Huston of California’s Office of Emergency Services. “You’d see widespread destruction.” Under the USGS’s crisis scenario for a magnitude-7.8 temblor in Southern California, the soil-filled Los Angeles Basin would turn into a violently trembling Jell-O, causing major highways and airport runways to buckle, water and sewer pipes to crack, electrical and gas lines to sever, and thousands of fires to break out across the region. Those blazes could then be whipped into a frenzy by the Santa Ana winds. Fiber-optic cables running across the San Andreas would be torn apart, and infrastructure would take months, if not years, to repair. The hospitals would be swamped by 50,000 injured people, and at least 1,800 would die….

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Truly disturbing. And according to Weaver, it’s a fault line other than the San Andreas that could be more costlier and deadlier. She added:

What about other fault lines?
Though seismologists have long dreaded a San Andreas–based quake, experts now fear that a tremor on the Puente Hills fault line could cause as much — if not more — damage. Running from the suburbs of northern Orange County straight through the densest neighborhoods of the Los Angeles Basin, a 7.5 quake on the Puente Hills line would affect millions — including downtown L.A.’s 4 million residents alone — killing up to 18,000 people, causing $250 billion in damage, and leaving as many as 750,000 households homeless, according to the USGS. “This is the fault that could eat L.A.,” said USGS seismologist Sue Hough…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis )

$200 billion national economic loss projection?

Make that $250 billion if ground zero for the “Big One” happens to be on the Puente Hills fault line.

It’s a seismic feature I’ve never heard of until now, but it’s making headlines these days in the midst of all the recent shaking going on in North America. Rong-Gong Lin II reported on the Los Angeles Times website on March 29:

Experts say a major, magnitude 7.5 earthquake on the fault could do more damage to the heart of Los Angeles than the dreaded Big One on the San Andreas fault, which is on the outskirts of metropolitan Southern California…

The Puente Hills fault could be especially hazardous over a larger area because of its shape. Other local faults, like the Newport-Inglewood and Hollywood, are a collection of vertical cracks, with the most intense shaking occurring near where the fault reaches the surface. The Puente Hills is a horizontal fault, with intense shaking likely to be felt over a much larger area, roughly 25 by 15 miles…

One reason for the dire forecast is that both downtown L.A. and Hollywood are packed with old, vulnerable buildings, including those made of concrete, [USGS seismologist Lucy] Jones said.

Lin added that scientists believe the Puente Hills fault has a major earthquake roughly every 2,500 years. Unfortunately, they don’t know when the last major trembler was.

Here’s hoping Californians- particularly those in the southern portion of the state- are not only keeping abreast of all this info (I understand Puente Hills was only discovered in 1999), but acting on it as well.

Thankfully, I know of a few who are

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Weaver, Frances. “When will the Big One strike California?” The Week. 19 Apr. 2014. (http://theweek.com/article/index/260116/when-will-the-big-one-strike-california). 12 May 2014.

Lin II, Rong-Gong. “La Habra quake a reminder about dangerous Puente Hills fault.” Los Angeles Times. 29 Mar. 2014. (http://articles.latimes.com/2014/mar/29/local/la-me-0330-quake-puentehills-20140330) 12 May 2014.

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