A working group of California scientists have issued the first comprehensive forecast of earthquake possibilities in California, predicting a greater than 99 percent chance of a major quake in the next 30 years.
Ned Field, the lead investigator for the project, works at the U.S. Geological Survey office in Pasadena. Also involved in the survey are the Southern California Earthquake Center and the California Geological Survey.
Field said, “This new, comprehensive forecast advances our understanding of earthquakes and pulls together existing research with new techniques and data.”
According to the survey, the state has more than a 99 percent chance of having s magnitude 6.7 or larger temblor in the next 30 years. The chance of having a quake of magnitude 7.5 or greater in the time period is 46 percent.
Researchers believe the likelihood of a big earthquake is higher in Southern California, with the greatest probability along the southern San Andreas fault. In the north, the greatest probability is along the Hayward fault.
The Hayward fault runs through the Bay Area cities around San Francisco.
Another fault drawing close attention is the San Jacinto, which runs through San Bernardino.
The last earthquake of the 6.7 size range in Southern California was Northridge, in 1994, which killed 72 people and caused $25 billion in damage.
Field said the information is being provided to decision makers to evaluate building codes, insurance rates and emergency planning.
—By Charles Cooper