New map shows areas at risk for damaging earthquakes

EMBED </>More Videos

A map just released by scientists shows areas at risk for damaging earthquakes and examines potential risk that's not just natural, but also man-made. (KABC)

A map just released by scientists shows areas at risk for damaging earthquakes and examines potential risk that's not just natural, but also man-made.

Right now, California's earthquake warning system only provides a heads up of only several seconds.

But the U.S. Geological Survey has for the first time released a one-year forecast, estimating the odds of damage from earthquakes from coast to coast.

In Southern California, the experts predict we have 2 to 5 percent chance of seeing earthquake damage in 2016.

Art McGarr is a USGS geophysicist and one of the authors of the new report. He says the new forecast will give government planners and private developers a better idea of what to expect in the near term instead of having to rely on the current 50-year forecast.

One major factor being worked into the forecast now is the dramatic increase in quake-related damage caused by industrial activities like "the deep injection of wastewater," McGarr said.

That wastewater is pumped underground to force oil and gas out, but McGarr says it also tends to lubricate earthquake faults.

"The question is whether the current regulatory authority is adequate," he said.

There is some good news for California though. While fracking and other oil production techniques are causing considerable increases in earthquakes in other parts of the U.S., seismologists say they haven't seen those problems in California -- most likely because of the state's stricter regulations on pumping fluids into the ground.

Related Topics:
scienceearthquakeUSGSCalifornia
(Copyright ©2017 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

Load Comments