Preparing For “The Big One” In California Is Keeping Scientists Busy

Earthquakes, and the fear of them, are just part of normal life on the west coast. There has always been a theory that a big earthquake would hit and wipe out parts of the entire state of California. New information released from scientists, shows that these theories of “the big one” might have some basis. Rather than worrying about the impending doom, officials want to create a warning system to protect residents and the architecture of the city.


The fear with earthquakes is everything is unknown. Residents have no clue when an earthquake will happen, nor do they have any foreknowledge about its intensity. This can lead to great anxiety. Some go as far as strapping down their furniture and retrofitting their home or apartment. But, there may be a way to prevent the event from being unknown, and it could give some relief to those who are anxious.


In 1975, Chinese officials were able to evacuate an area before the big earthquake known as Haicheng. This quake had a magnitude of 7.3 on the rector scale. The 24-hour period before the large quake produced more than 500 fore-shocks. They used the basic premise that one earthquake is likely to create another. All of these smaller events laid the groundwork for one massive occurrence. They knew that the political and economic system of China was in danger, so even if a costly evacuation was on a hunch, it was worth the risk.


The Chinese didn’t have any fancy machines or other methods that aren’t available in California. They used Mother Nature’s patterns to predict a major event. Thankfully, they were correct in their instincts and saved lives. The likelihood of a big earthquake in California continues to increase. Scientists predict that this western state will have a major event within the next 30 years.


The probability that this event will likely occur in the southern half of the state is around 46 percent. Additionally, they estimate that it will be a 7.5 or greater on the Rector Scale. Time will tell if their hunches are true, but in the meantime, learning new and better ways to predict these quakes is imperative. Anything that can help ease the worries of residents is much appreciated.