Skip to comments.Statewide Mega Quake May Be Possible After All
Posted on 01/10/2013 12:08:52 PM PST by BenLurkin
For decades, scientists have assumed the central portion of Californias San Andreas fault acts as a barrier that prevents a big quake in the southern part of the state from spreading to the north, and vice versa. As a result, a mega-quake that could be felt from San Diego to San Francisco was widely considered impossible.
But that key fault segment might not serve as a barrier in all cases, researchers wrote Wednesday in the online edition of the journal Nature.
Using a combination of laboratory measurements and computer simulations, the two scientists showed how so-called creeping segments in a fault long thought to be benign because they slip slowly and steadily along as tectonic plates shift might behave like locked segments, which build up stress over time and then rupture.
Such a snap caused the 9.0-magnitude Tohoku-Oki earthquake that hit Japan in 2011, triggering a tsunami, killing nearly 16,000 people and destroying the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Forecasters had not believed such a large quake was possible there.
A supposedly stable section of fault also ruptured during the 1999 Chi-Chi quake in Taiwan, a 7.6-magnitude temblor that killed more than 2,400 people.
(Excerpt) Read more at ktla.com ...
The Creeping Quake to be more worried about is one that originates in Mexico.
The more big earthquakes weve seen around the world, the more weve realized that there are some deficiencies in our models, he said.
I’m pretty sure it’ll hit Seattle first.
Why is that?
I guess we’ve all got our “favorites”. The one I worry about is the Juan de Fuca & the Cascadia Subduction Zone. Makes me glad I live in Texas (though we’ve had some shakers here).
Tony Villar will be in front of a camera before the earth stops shaking
“the 9.0-magnitude Tohoku-Oki earthquake that hit Japan in 2011, triggering a tsunami, killing nearly 16,000 people and destroying the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant”
The 9.0 Tohoku-Oki earthquake itself did not directly damage the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, much less destroy it.
Very preventable flooding from the tzunami damaged external emergency generators powering pumps dealing with circulation and disposal of the water used to keep the reactor cooled, and the failure of THOSE generators caused over-heating of the reactor, which caused some damage to the facility, resulting in some release of radiation before the reactor was shut down. The flood protection for the emergency generators was spec’d for less severe tsunami possibilities than what happened with the 9.0 Tohoku-Oki earthquake.
As far as the direct affects of the earthquake, the nuclear plant was not damaged. As far as the general outcome altogther, the plant was not “destoryed”; though, for public relations reasons more than scientific reasons it may not be repaired completely and reopened.
all kinds of things can be shown with mathematical models to be “possible”, but “possible” means neither certain nor likely;
but, people love what the media (and a lot of scientists) does best - sensationalism
Like the way one type of tectonic envrionment is so freely juxtaposed with another.
That central section of the San Andreas fault let go in 1857 causing an 8.0 earthquake. The fault ruptured from Wrightwood to Parkfield which is about 225 miles. That section of the fault seems locked (little activity) again.
I am a total amateur geek about Earth Science, but for whatever my opinion is worth, I think this scenario isn’t going to happen. But what do I know?
Dealing with two completly different mechanisms. The Japan quake was a subduction/thrust scenario. The San Andreas fault is a transform fault, right lateral. While capable of a large quake, it is incorrect to compare the two types of fault mechanisms as being equivalent.
I do believe a recent transform quake in the Indian Ocean indicates that an these faults can potentially run as high as the upper eights, I think that these scenarios will have to be pretty solid if they are to withstand peer review.
There were scientists warning of the possibility of a Tohuku 9.0 earthquake before it happened, but they weren’t sensationalized - they were ignored.
You have to look at it on a case-by-case basis.
We now have multiple lines of evidence that we have underestimated the maximum quake possible on numerous faults, so it’s likely that there are others where this is the case.
On the other hand, the whole East Coast Tsunami caused by a volcano collapse IS sensationalized by the media and bad documentaries - it’s basically one scientist whose work has been debunked by the tsunami science committee as a whole, yet you still see people on FR excitedly talking about it.
“maximum quake possible”
again, I repeat - “possible” is neither “likely” or “certain”
Just as lots of variables in a math/computer model MAY suggest some POSSIBILITIES, among those variables are also possibilities that can change the conditions today, and change the values of those variables tomorrow.
Siezmic science is still in kinderagarten and even less reliable than wheather predictions.
I left that state DECADES AGO. But I do still go back - it is an absolutely BEAUTIFUL place, at least in parts of it (i.e., runs circles around Texas).
But to live or work there, nothing matters. As Tolstoy said in one of his killer books: “Yes, Siberia is beautiful in the winter, but it doesn’t matter when when your life expectancy is measured in weeks.”
It’s called “the Reconquista Fault Line”
I heard a report the other day which said that the location of the nuclear plant had received 30 meter (95 ft) tsunamis in the historical past, but the plant was not sited or protected to reflect this historical reality. I spoke to a man the other day from the northern part of Washington, DC. He said that all the houses in his neighborhood had sustained earthquake damage from the 5.6 in Mineral, VA. They all had to have their chimneys torn down and rebuilt and it was not covered by their insurance because this is not an earthquake area.
“I heard a report the other day which said that the location of the nuclear plant had received 30 meter (95 ft) tsunamis in the historical past, but the plant was not sited or protected to reflect this historical reality.”
From everything I have read, if the site of the plant had ever received a 95 ft tsnami in the past, it was not in the living memory of any Japanese living today.
Such assessments are based on the statisical most likely scenarios not the radomly, rarely possible though not likely scenarios.
Many things can be on the order of “possible” but it does not make them likely or certain and that sort of unpredictability leaves all kinds of planning left dealing responsibly with statistically greatest, most frequent, most often recorded case scenarios.
No one can afford to build for D-Day every day in every way. If we were asked to, civilization would slowly shut down.
Perhaps the story misspoke and meant 30 feet not meters. They certainly should have built to that standard, and I think they did not. Maybe like the mistake where we sent a rocket to the moon and the program mixed up meters and feet and crashed the rocket.