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The odds of the San Andreas fault generating a mega-earthquake in the next 12 months are tripled

Last year, more than 3,000 earthquakes shook Ridgecrest, California, in a single week. According to experts, this has tripled the odds that the great earthquake, known as Big One, could happen in the San Andreas fault in the coming months.

The tremors moved the Garlock fault, which stretches more than 250 kilometers along the Mojave desert and connects the Ridgecrest site with the massive San Andreas fault.

The previous estimate of the chances of experiencing an earthquake of magnitude 7.5 or greater in the next 12 months was 0.023% for the Garlock fault; But now, after the aforementioned tremors, that risk has increased to 2.3%.

On the other hand, for that of San Andreas, the probabilities jumped from 0.35% to 1.15%.

Ross Stein, study author and geophysicist who worked for the United States Geological Survey, told Los Angeles Times:

“The Ridgecrest earthquake led to the Garlock fault near the rupture. And, if it breaks, it is almost certain to have an immediate impact on the San Andreas fault”.

The Big One

The Big One is a hypothetical earthquake of magnitude greater than 8 degrees on the Richter scale that is supposed to take place sometime in the San Andreas fault. Its destructive power is estimated to devastate up to 160 kilometers from the epicenter, affecting urban areas such as Palm Springs, Los Angeles and San Francisco. The fatalities are estimated in thousands and the displaced in more than 1 million.

“If the Garlock fault fractures at a distance less than 45 kilometers from its junction with the San Andreas fault, we calculate that it will increase the probability of it happening by a factor of 150″, writes the team of specialists at Temblor.net.”

“That translates to a 50/50 probability of rupture for the Mojave section of the San Andreas fault, either immediately after the Garlock earthquake or with some delay. Therefore, we estimate that in the next 12 months there is a 1 in 87 (1.15%) chance that the Big One take place”.

There is no need to panic. However, these new data remind us that anyone living in California should be prepared,” Stein concludes.

Source: DailyMail

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