Category Archives: San Andreas Fault

US West Coast: Ripe for a Strong Earthquake

The US West Coast is one of the most seismically active places in the United States. The San Andreas fault that traverses the state poses a major risk in the region, once it moves. It is believed that a strong magnitude earthquake could strike the area once the fault moved, putting the lives of millions in danger. Here are some of the scenarios that could take place if the San Andreas fault in the US West Coast moved:



Los Angeles – the city of Los Angeles, is the second largest city in the United States. If the San Andreas fault moves, the whole city would be devastated, and thousands could die from the catastrophe. The freeways found within the city would collapse, triggering accidents all across the city’s downtown area. Its skyscrapers would also dance through the earthquake, and if its foundation is not good enough, the skyscrapers could collapse. The damage in Los Angeles alone would cost billions of dollars, and it would take the United States Government years before they could rebuild the city.



San Francisco – another major city on the West Coast of the United States that can be devastated if the San Andreas fault moves. The city was devastated by an earthquake more than a hundred years ago, but the damage before would be very different from the damage that it will acquire from the San Andreas fault. The movement of the fault would trigger massive skyscraper collapse, and after the earthquake, the San Francisco Bay Area could suffer apocalyptic damages due to the tsunami that would batter its coast.



Las Vegas – the city of Las Vegas, will not be spared if the San Andreas fault moves. The desert city could develop sinkholes if the earthquake registered a strong magnitude. It could also result in the destruction of the Hoover Dam, which would send Las Vegas into a dry spell and pitch black nights as electricity and water would probably be cut.



Other areas on the West Coast of the United States are under threat of being submerged when a tsunami hit or being completely devastated by the fissures produced by the earthquake.



A Magnitude-6.5 Earthquake Off Coast of Northern California

On the morning of Thursday, December 8, 2016, around 6:50 a.m. PT., the U.S. Geological Survey reported that a 6.5 earthquake had struck at a depth of about 7.5 miles on the Pacific Ocean floor off the West Coast at the north end of the San Andreas Fault.


The quake was centered approximately 279 miles west northwest of Sacramento and 102 miles west of Ferndale. Light shaking was felt from several dozen miles south of San Francisco to east central Oregon. This quake was followed by a 4.7 magnitude temblor/aftershock at 8:32 a.m.


However, the earthquake did not disturb even one bulb on Ferndale’s tallest living lit Christmas tree in the nation, a giant Sitka spruce decorated with strings of 900 to 1,000 colored lights. The tree is an annual holiday tradition since 1934 in this quaint Victorian village.


The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center stated that no tsunami threat was expected from the initial earthquake, and there had been no reports of injuries or major damage. There was some inconvenience for commuters in the San Francisco Bay Area because BART trains moved at a temporarily reduced speed in the temblor’s aftermath, but that only led to delays of about 10 minutes.


CEO of the California Earthquake Authority, Glenn Pomeroy, stated that if a 6.5 quake had occurred on a Bay Area or Los Angeles fault, there could have been billions in property damage and injuries or even deaths.


California’s north coast is among the most seismically active areas and had experienced smaller temblors in the days before the magnitude-6.5 one. The offshore area had experienced a magnitude-6.9 temblor in March 2014 and two earthquakes with magnitudes over 5.0 weeks apart in January 2015.


The Pacific Coast or West Coast is the description of the coastline where the Western United States meets the northern Pacific Ocean. It refers to the area defined on the east by the Cascade Range, Mojave Desert, and Sierra Nevada and on the west by the Pacific Ocean. The U.S. Census calls the five states of California, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and Hawaii the Pacific States division. However, the Pacific or West Coast of the contiguous U.S. in this case would be just the first three states.