Science News

Big Shake Up in San Andreas Due

Sun, 25th Jun 2006

Part of the show Naked Q&A and The Life of Benjamin Franklin

It's 100 years this year since the great San francisco earthquake that left thousands homeless and caused a conservative 500,000,000 dollars worth of damage. The quake, felt as far away as Oregon, was triggered by a sudden rupture of a 300 mile segment of the northern part of the San Andreas fault. But the southern reaches of the fault have remained intact and continued to accumulate a so-called "slip-deficit". According to Scripps Institution researcher Yuri Fialko, writing in this week's Nature, his measurements from orbiting satellites put the fault at bursting point. It hasn't ruptured in over 300 years and has accumulated a 7 to 10 metre "slip deficit", in other words the amount that it should have moved in that time and hasn't. This suggests that it's set for a shake up, possibly taking LA and San Diego with it, imminently.


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