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Geologists Say California May Be Next 258

Hugh Pickens writes "Newsweek reports that first there was a violent magnitude-8.8 event in Chile in 2010, then a horrifically destructive Pacific earthquake in New Zealand on February 22, and now the recent earthquake in Japan. Though there is still no hard scientific evidence to explain why, there is little doubt now that earthquakes do tend to occur in clusters: a significant event on one side of a major tectonic plate is often — not invariably, but often enough to be noticeable — followed some weeks or months later by another on the plate's far side. 'It is as though the earth becomes like a great brass bell, which when struck by an enormous hammer blow on one side sets to vibrating and ringing from all over. Now there have been catastrophic events at three corners of the Pacific Plate — one in the northwest, on Friday; one in the southwest, last month; one in the southeast, last year.' That leaves just one corner unaffected — the northeast. And the fault line in the northeast of the Pacific Plate is the San Andreas Fault. Although geologists believe a 9.0 quake is virtually impossible along the San Andreas, USGS studies put the probability of California being hit by a quake measuring 7.5 or more in the next 30 years at 46 percent, and the likelihood of a 6.7 quake, comparable in size to the temblors that rocked San Francisco in 1989 and Los Angeles in 1994, at 99 percent statewide."
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Geologists Say California May Be Next

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  • A broken clock... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Computer_kid ( 996105 ) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @08:35AM (#35541340)
    ...is right twice a day! If you keep saying it enough, and it inevitably happens, then you can claim that you "predicted" it.
  • Re:Yellowstone (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cpu6502 ( 1960974 ) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @09:13AM (#35541518)

    >>>both seem to me to be pretty much closely connected

    First Yellowstone is a VOLCANO not an earthquake. It doesn't have any connection to the Japanese or California tragedies. Second, it has been mentioned multiple times on cable channels like National Geographic, Discovery, and History.

    Third, it only happens once every tens-of-thousands of years. Last time it happened, Mammoths were still the dominant species in america. (Man had not yet arrived.) Fourth it makes little sense to discuss an event that is predicted to happen circa 10,000 or 20,000 A.D. By that point human beings might have self-exterminated or developed forcefields to contain the blast.

    And (babylon) Five..... if it did happen tomorrow, there's nothing you could do to prepare for it (like moving away). Yellowstone blowing-up would basically exterminate everyone in the US/Canada, unless you were lucky enough to live upwind of the event, like British Columbia, Yukon, or Alaska. Therefore no reason for government to "prepare" for something that cannot be escaped. Even if you lived in Europe, you can expect a "year without a summer" like happened when Krakatoa blew up & dimmed the sun.

    Yellowstone Supervolcano is one of those events, like an asteroid strike, which really cannot be avoided, or prepared for. It has global impact.

  • Re:Yellowstone (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dunega ( 901960 ) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @09:21AM (#35541536)
    This week's scaremongering by the media is brought to you by earthquakes. They did volcanos about a year ago.
  • by SwedishPenguin ( 1035756 ) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @11:32AM (#35542176)

    IANA Geologist, but I doubt there's any reliable data on earthquakes from the 1700's. Human settlement was much less widespread at the time as well so many earthquakes may not have affected many people or anyone at all, thus there was no one around to tell the story, and there were no seismometers so any Richter scale estimates would probably be based on damage to human settlements, which could have been far from the epicenter.

Basic is a high level languish. APL is a high level anguish.