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Big One May be Coming Soon

Research turns up more amazing speculations all the time: New studies reveal that major quakes shake Southern California about every 88 years, which is THREE times as often than seismologists previously thought they did. This means that the area is OVERDUE for a massive quake along the San Andreas fault.

For years, scientists thought that major earthquakes occurred every 250 to 450 years along this fault line. In the August 21st edition of the Los Angeles Times, Rong-Gong Lin II quotes earthquake expert Lisa Grant as saying, "The next earthquake could be sooner than later. It was thought that we weren't at risk of having another large one any time soon. Well, now, it might be ready to rupture."

Scientists dug trenches deep into the Carrizo Plain, then used carbon dating and sophisticated imaging technology to find signs of earlier earth movements. They were able to detect earthquakes dating back to the 15th century, creating a far more complete record than had been available in the past.

Lin quotes earthquake expert Grant Ludwig as saying, "Now [that] we have better techniques, we can see there's actually more earthquakes. If you're waiting for someone to tell you when we're close to the next San Andreas earthquake, just look at the data. If we look at the only data we have, it's not very comforting. I'm preparing for that possibility."

He quotes earthquake expert Thomas Jordan as saying that the fault is "locked and loaded. It's been a long time since an earthquake has occurred on that fault--over 150 years."

Researcher Ken Hudnut thinks that if the next one is the Big One, it would be at least a magnitude 7, sending out enormous V-shape energy waves. If the earthquake energy hit Los Angeles, the soft sediment underneath it could actually amplify the waves, making the shaking worse. Despite this assessment, Linn quotes him as saying, "It's not the kind of news that ought to make people crawl into the fetal position. Rather, it's the kind of information that ought to once remind people about basic earthquake preparedness."

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