LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The Ridgecrest earthquakes of 2019 might have increased the chances of a big temblor along the San Andreas fault in the next 12 months, according to a study published Monday in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.
The Los Angeles Times reported that scientists found there was a 2.3% chance of a large earthquake on the Garlock fault, which runs along the north edge of the Mojave Desert in the next year, which increases the likelihood of a magnitude 7.5 or greater temblor on the San Andreas fault to 1.15%.READ MORE: Disney To Require Employees Be Vaccinated Against COVID-19
Ross Stein, an earthquake scientist emeritus of the U.S. Geological Survey and adjunct professor of geophysics at Stanford University, told The Times that the numbers indicate a near tripling of the odds of a large quake on the San Andreas fault.
“Now, you can think of the Ridgecrest earthquake as being so far from Greater Los Angeles … that it is nearly harmless,” Stein told The Times. “But the problem is that … the Ridgecrest earthquake brought the Garlock fault closer to rupture. If that fault ruptures — and it gets within about 25 miles of the San Andreas — then there’s a high likelihood, maybe a 50/50 shot, that it would immediately rupture on the San Andreas.”
Stein coauthored the report with Shinji Toda, of Tohoku University in Japan.
A 2008 U.S.G.S. report warned that a magnitude 7.8 earthquake on the southern San Andreas fault could result in more than 1,800 deaths, 50,000 injuries and $200 billion in damage with severe and long-lasting disruptions.
“These numbers are as low as they are because of aggressive retrofitting programs that have increased the seismic resistance of buildings, highways and lifelines, and economic resiliency,” the authors of that study wrote. “These numbers are as large as they are because much more retrofitting could still be done.”READ MORE: Dodgers Finalize Blockbuster Deal For Nationals Max Scherzer And All-Star Shortstop Trea Turner
Seismologist Dr. Lucy Jones called the newly published study “elegant,” but said it “assumes a reason for quake triggering that is not consensus.”
The possibility of a San Andreas quake AT ANY TIME should already be part of your planning or you shouldn't be in California.
— Dr. Lucy Jones (@DrLucyJones) July 13, 2020
Last year’s series of temblors in Ridgecrest ended with a magnitude 7.1 quake on July 5 that “produced significant stress perturbations on nearby fault networks, especially along the Garlock fault segment immediately southwest of the 2019 Ridgecrest rupture,” according to the study’s authors.
The lingering question remains of whether that stress started a chain of events that will ultimately lead to the triggering of a large quake on the San Andreas fault, though a 2019 study by the U.S.G.S. found there was a small chance of that happening.MORE NEWS: 'I'm Going To Be OK': Bob Odenkirk Thanks Fans For 'Outpouring Of Love' After Suffering 'Small Heart Attack'
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)