Yes, our worst fears are confirmed—Earth’s innate instability continues . According to the journal Nature , the lower portion of the San Andreas Fault (the Southern California strip) hasn’t produced a real good, pressure releasin’ quake for centuries. The buildup of strain along the fault, therefore, can mean only one thing. Oops, I mean this worst fear .
The report in Nature discusses the threat to Southern California in particular. About 24 million people live down there, and while they are not all on the fault lines, a big quake would affect freeways, infrastructure, ports and the like. Because the area is so dry, what happens if water systems are compromised? 24 million is a lot of thirsty people.
After the 1994 Northridge earthquake, a magnitude 6.7, Southern California rebuilt itself with legendary speed (long version here ). It’s the model for disaster recovery on a societal scale. But as you’d expect, the basis for this skill is contained in all the warnings about being prepared. The more you do now , the easier it is to recover after the fact. Word up.