Friday, January 23, 2009

Study: Major California Earthquake Over Due


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A new study sugusts that Californias San Andres Fault is more likely for a massive earthquake then previously thought.  Massive earthquakes were thought to occur once every 200 years but recent studies show that the number is closer to 137 years.  Since the last major earthquake occurred in 1857 at approximatly 7.9.  If the study were liniar it would mean that an massive earthquake was due in 1994.  Since these studies are non-linur and earthquakes do not occur exactly every 137 years, the study just shows that a massive earthquake is over due.

Large earthquakes have rumbled along the southern section of the San Andreas fault more frequently than previously believed, suggesting that Southern California could be overdue for a strong temblor on the notorious fault line, according to a new study.

The Carrizo Plain section of the San Andreas has not seen a massive quake since the much-researched Ft. Tejon temblor of 1857, thought to have been about magnitude 7.9, which is considered the most powerful earthquake to hit Southern California in modern times.

But the new research by UC Irvine scientists, to be published next week, found major quakes occurred there roughly every 137 years over the last 700 years. Until now, scientists have believed big quakes have occurred along the fault roughly every 200 years. The findings are significant because seismologists have long believed this portion of the fault is capable of sparking the so-called “Big One” that officials have for decades warned will eventually occur in Southern California.

“That means it’s been long enough since 1857 that we should be concerned about another great earthquake that ruptures through this part of the fault,” said Ken Hudnut, a geophysicist at the U.S. Geological Survey in Pasadena, who was not involved in the study.

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