California facing 'massive earthquake' say experts

San Andreas fault 'locked, loaded and ready to roll'

Updated: 
Experts: California Long Overdue for Earthquake Along San Andreas Fault



California is set for a huge earthquake, warn experts.

Southern California's section of the San Andreas fault is "locked, loaded and ready to roll", a leading earthquake scientist said on Wednesday at the National Earthquake Conference in Long Beach.

The San Andreas fault is one of California's most dangerous, and is also the state's longest.

See also: Weird foam fills the streets of Japan after earthquake

See also: Mediterranean tsunami could 'swamp' Greece, Italy and Libyan coasts



The last big earthquake to hit Southern California however, was was back in 1857, when a magnitude 7.9 quake, which affected 185 miles between Monterey County and the San Gabriel Mountains near Los Angeles.

According to the LA Times, the fault has been quiet ever since. Too quiet, according to Thomas Jordan, director of the Southern California Earthquake Centre.

He said; "The springs on the San Andreas system have been wound very, very tight. And the southern San Andreas fault, in particular, looks like it's locked, loaded and ready to go."

The paper also explained the science bit, saying: "Scientists have observed that based on the movement of tectonic plates, with the Pacific plate moving northwest of the North American plate, earthquakes should be relieving about 16 feet of accumulated plate movement every 100 years. Yet the San Andreas has not relieved stress that has been building up for more than a century."

Jordan warned of the possibility of a huge magnitude 8 earthquake.

According to the Mirror, Los Angeles is not situated directly on the fault line, but it is close enough to suffer major damage, and has been preparing for that eventuality.

In a measure passed in October, over 15,000 buildings will receive retrofitting to make them earthquake-proof.

A 2008 US Geological Survey report warned that even a magnitude 7.8 earthquake on the southern San Andreas fault would cause more than 1,800 deaths, 50,000 injuries, $200 billion in damage and severe disruptions.

Weird weather and strange phenomena around the world

Weird weather and strange phenomena around the world