Published On: Tue, Aug 20th, 2019

California earthquakes today: Flurry of quakes hit west coast – is the ‘Big One’ coming? | World | News

California has been hit by more than more than 3,000 earthquakes in the past seven days amid rife speculation that the Big One will soon shake the entire community. Los Angeles has a 31 percent chance of seeing a magnitude-7.5 earthquake in the next 30 years according to the US Geological Survey. Californians have been waiting for the quake they call the big one since 1906, when San Francisco experienced an estimated magnitude-7.9 earthquake along the San Andreas fault which killed more than 3,000 people, injured 225,000 and devastating the city. But is the Big One really coming?

According to Earthquake Track, California has experienced 55 earthquakes in the last 24 hours and 440 earthquakes in the past seven days.

While 2,643 earthquakes were record in the past 30 days in California and 17,935 in the past 365.

The largest earthquake recorded today, at the time of writing was a magnitude-3.1 tremblor in Ridgecrest, California, United States.

This was the same location as the magnitude-7.1 earthquake that hit on July 6.

The earthquake lasted only 12 seconds but was felt by about 30 million people, with more than 6,000 people losing power.

California is prone to earthquakes because it resides right on the boundaries of the North American tectonic plate and the Pacific Plate.

The point where the two plates meet and grind against one another is known as the San Andreas fault line.

The fault line is where many predict the Big One will strike.

What would define the Big One?

The US Geological Survey groups earthquakes on a magnitude scale from “Minor” to “Great.”

The valuation scale is as follows:

  • Great: Magnitude 8 or more
  • Major: Magnitude 7 to 7.9
  • Strong: Magnitude 6 to 6.9
  • Moderate: Magnitude 5 to 5.9
  • Light: Magnitude 4 to 4.9
  • Minor: Magnitude 3 to 3.9

Most earthquakes on record do not meet the USGS classification of strong.

The Big One is a hypothetical magnitude 8 or higher earthquake which is thought to strike California every few hundred years.

In 1906, California came close to the Big One when a magnitude-7.9 event destroyed much of San Francisco.

Devastating fires broke out in the city after the quake struck and lasted for several days.

As a result, 3,000 people died and more than 80 percent of the city of San Francisco was destroyed.

The death toll remains the greatest loss of life from a natural disaster in California’s history.

If another or a larger earthquake were to strike California, the potential loss of life would be immense.

Sadly, there is no way to chart or predict if such an event will occur again, but according to the USGS, parts of the fault line may appear “overdue” for a major earthquake.

The USGS said: “The paleoseismic data on different parts of the San Andreas Fault Zone are all telling us that some sections appear to be past the average, or ‘overdue’ for a significant earthquake.

“But the data can’t be used to make predictions: we do not understand earthquakes well enough to know exactly where the next earthquake will occur, what the magnitude will be, or exactly when it will happen.”

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