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99.9% Chance of 5.0 or Greater Quake: Los Angeles in for a Shock

22 Oct 2015, 12:24 pm

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Get your earthquake safety kits ready! A new study published in the Journal of Earth and Space Science says the Greater Los Angeles has a 99.9% chance of an earthquake of magnitude 5.0 or greater in the next two and a half years.

Hidden faults in southern California have built up considerable strain. In an attempt to forecast future activity, Researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory looked back to the 5.1 magnitude earthquake that hit La Habra, California in 2014. Though no one was injured, the quake caused about $12 million in damages. Geologists used GPS data and radar to see how the crust (ground surface) had deformed after the event. They found that the quake caused more disruption than an earthquake of that magnitude should. By putting this information into computer models, the team discovered that a network of buried faults near L.A. also experienced shallow movements. Strain building up among these locked faults could create the next earthquake. Enough energy is stored to create a 6.1 to 6.3 magnitude quake.

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The U.S. Geological Survey is raising questions about the study. They estimate an 85% chance of a 5.0 plus magnitude in a period of three years. Still, everyone agrees that the odds are high enough that everyone should be prepared.

For WeatherNation: Meteorologist, Karissa Klos

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