Could California Be Bracing for a Major Earthquake?

Unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock over the past few days, or shall we say sleeping up in the air somewhere, you would’ve felt, heard about, or watched the news reports of various earthquakes happening across the world. Many of them have already happened around the Pacific ‘Ring of Fire’ which stretches from Chile, New Zealand, Indonesia, Japan and lastly California. So, could California be next? 

Recently there was the devastating 7.1 Earthquake killing hundreds in Mexico on Tuesday, but you may not have heard about the seismic sequence of tremor events that happened in New Zealand, off the coast near Wellington which was 6.1 on the richter scale. Then there was another 6.1 quake off the coast of Japan, a 5.3 quake off the coast of Taiwan, a 5.7 earthquake north of Surabaya in Indonesia, a 6.4 quake in Vanuatu in the South Pacific, and a 5.9 quake in Papua New Guinea. All of these quakes happened within the last 24 to 48hrs in somewhat of a sequence.

To add to that, a mini tremor that clocked in at 3.6 on the richter scale was recorded in Westwood, Los Angeles on September the 19th. Something seems to be brewing amidst these tectonic plates around the “ring of fire” and this is causing major concern for people in California, and for those who have loved ones and or family in the sunshine state.

The Pacific “ring of fire” is outlined, with seismic activity working its way around the ring. Credit: DailyMail

Naturally many people are predicting that California is next, and many fear that it could really be the big one. Let’s hope not, unless it only occurred at the epicentre of the University of Berkeley where free speech and being a logical thinker is a supposed crime.

Nah just kidding, we wouldn’t wish that even upon them. Dr. Christopher Pluhar, a professor of Geology at Fresno State, says that these tectonic plates in this seismic region are in constant motion at a rate of 1cm to 10cm a year, however, while all that movement can cause earthquakes, many of them go unnoticed due to the small shifts in the plates. Dr. Pluhar told KMPH, “All of the time, it’s happening and there’s no damage. So we don’t notice”.

He also added, “Earthquakes happen. We should expect them”.

While many deluded people, especially those at UC Berkeley, would probably make ridiculous accusations by blaming these earthquakes on Donald J. Trump, the actual truth of the matter is that this is just due to the natural shifting of the tectonic plates in the “ring of fire”. However, the concern now is that due to the movement along the “ring of fire” in the places mentioned up above, California could and or should now be bracing itself for the possibility of having a big one itself, or so we think… Let’s hope it doesn’t actually happen, and if there is a temblor, let’s hope it’s a small one.

The last time San Francisco experienced a devastating earthquake was in 1989, which caused more than $5 billion in damages to the city and at least 60 deaths. That was 28 years ago, and with Los Angeles experiencing a mini tremor just four days ago, everybody is crossing their fingers that nothing big happens in San Francisco.

California lies embedded between the Pacific and North American tectonic plates, and of all the dangerous faults that criss-cross California, the southern San Andreas fault is the most dangerous of all. What makes this perceived as even more dangerous is because the two plates meeting in California, move against each other horizontally, unlike other areas within the “Pacific Ring of Fire”. Take a look at this diagram below and see for yourself.

Credit: USGS


The big quake in Mexico which killed more than 230 people shouldn’t have a “knock on” effect towards California, despite its location within the grasp of the “ring of fire”. However, the movement along the south pacific is more of a concern for a seismic event occurring.

Jean-Paul Ampuero, a Cal-tech Seismologist mentioned that the high amount of activity in the south pacific has been “unusual” He added: “I must say these unusual clusters happen fairly often and it seems they are not totally random, we just don’t know why”.

Phil Cummins at Geoscience Australia and the Australian National University said that seismic waves cascading along fault lines could be the cause, ‘The waves that are excited by the earthquakes might rattle or disturb some distant faults that are close to rupture already”.

Professor Cummins said he wouldn’t rule out that the mechanisms and movements of these plates provoking another earthquake s00n, whether it be in the coming days or in the coming hours.

There is cause for concern for anyone within or near the tectonic plates, more so for those within the range of the “Pacific Ring of Fire”. Stay safe out there people, and pray that nothing big happens.


Brainstain, over and out!

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