Los Angeles Earthquake Warning: Is The San Andreas Fault Line About To Blow?

Los Angeles is under an earthquake warning due to earthquake activity occurring under the Salton Sea and near to Bombay Beach. Three of the earthquakes that happened by the beach were at least a 4.0 in magnitude. In total, 200 minor earthquakes in the area before the seismic activity faded away. This activity alerted scientists to the fact that a major earthquake could be coming in the future since this only the third time since 1032 that this area in California had seen such activity.

The surge in earthquake activity along the Salton Sea and Bombay Beach happened at the end of the famous San Andreas Fault. According to Geology.com, the San Andreas fault is where the Pacific Plate and North American Plate meet up. The fault line is what is known as a transform fault. These types of fault lines describe that the two plates where they meet up, slide against one another. The Pacific Plate and North American move rather slowly at a rate of a couple of inches per year, on average. The times of no movement are when the concern develops. The pressure that builds up as the plates struggle to move will cause an earthquake when one plate is finally able to slide along the other. The last time that the San Andreas fault ruptured was back in 1680. Scientists have stated that the San Andreas fault has, on average, caused a major earthquake every 150 to 200 years. The year 1680 was 336 years ago, so it is way overdue for a significant earthquake. CalTech seismologist Egill Hauksson spoke about the fault line.

“When there’s significant seismicity in this area of the fault, we kind of wonder if it is somehow going to go active. So maybe one of those small earthquakes that’s happening in the neighborhood of the fault is going to trigger it, and set off the big event.”

The U.S Geological Survey issued a report on the potential for a large earthquake in the Los Angeles region. As of September 30, the USGS stated that the chance of a 7.0 or larger earthquake happening in this part of the San Andreas fault was 0.006 percent to 0.2 percent. This forecast will last until October 7. Thomas H. Jordan, director of the Southern California Earthquake Center, commented on the recent earthquake activity.

“Any time there is significant seismic activity in the vicinity of the San Andreas fault, we seismologists get nervous because we recognize that the probability of having a large earthquake goes up.”

Lucy Jones is a seismologist, and she also commented on why scientists are paying closer attention to the San Andreas fault.

“This is close enough to be in that worry zone. It’s a part of California that the seismologists all watch.”


The last time this much concern was seen for a potential rupture of the San Andreas fault happened back in 1992. A 7.3 magnitude earthquake erupted in the Mojave Desert. Three hours later, a 6.5 magnitude earthquake hit Big Bear which is very close to the San Andreas fault. Jones spoke about why there was so much concern back then.

“We were at a high level of concern then and that lasted through the aftershock sequence through the next year, because the aftershocks were coming down and hitting the San Andreas.”

Scientists have tried to predict what would happen to the region of a large earthquake were to happen at the San Andreas fault. Their scenario involved a 7.8 magnitude earthquake starting at the Salton Sea. Their prediction of what would happen was nothing but catastrophic. They estimated a death toll of close to 2,000 people with up to 50,000 injured. The cost of damage to the area would accumulate to close to $200 billion.

Do you think the Los Angeles earthquake warning is needed?

[Featured Image by Reed Saxon/AP Photo]