USGS study says portion of San Andreas fault could rupture causing massive quake in SoCal


The images of damage from the 1994 Northridge earthquake are unforgettable. 


Now scientists have discovered a portion of the San Andreas fault along the Grapevine, north of Los Angeles, that could produce the same destruction if not worse. 


“This particular study is very important because it’s in an area that had not been looked at in great detail before,” Robert Graves, USGS Research Physicist, said. 


Graves is a colleague of the study’s author Kate Scharer. 


In digging near Frazier Park, Scharer found earthquakes here happen on average every 100 years, but the last major shaker was 160 years ago, meaning this area is a higher hazard for a quake. 


“Within the next 30 year time frame there is a 16 percent chance of having an earthquake of magnitude 7.5 or larger,” Graves said 


That’s bigger than the 6.7 magnitude Northridge quake which caused billions in damage and killed more than 50 people. 


A quake along the Grapevine could cause major disruptions. 


“If that earthquake ruptured across those transportation corridors the utility transmissions or the water distribution then it could disrupt those services to a large number of people in Southern California,” Graves said. 


But with earthquakes impossible to predict, the message really is preparedness.


Bob McCollum lived through the Northridge quake. 


“I have some canned goods and I’m an avid camper so I have camping equipment and I found that very useful the last time,” he said. 


But new Northridge resident Ann Vaquez is still working out her emergency plans. 


“We did buy a kit the other day, but we’ve also planned like where shall we meet,” she said. 


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