Study suggests section of San Andreas Fault may be primed for major quake; Dr. Lucy Jones disagrees

Jaysha Patel Image
Thursday, April 11, 2024
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Southern Californians constantly hear about the looming possibility of the next big earthquake. Now, some scientists are warning that areas around the San Andreas Fault could possibly see a strong earthquake as soon as this year.

According to a newly published study in the journal Frontiers in Earth Science, the Parkfield section of the fault in Monterey County experiences earthquakes regularly - about every 22 years.

The last time the remote area was hit with an earthquake was 2004, leading scientists to keep an eye on the seismic activity there. After analyzing data from the weeks before the 2004 earthquake, scientists have seen some similar patterns that could indicate another one is coming. Scientists are looking for clues like strain on rocks or seismic wave patterns, saying in the study that there are hints that Parkfield is entering the final phase of its quiet, dormant period.

But Dr. Lucy Jones disagrees with the study.

"Just because something is seen before one quake doesn't make that a warning. You know what has happened within 24 hours of every big quake we've ever seen? The sun has risen," Jones said Thursday in an online post.

While the Parkfield area could experience earthquakes around magnitude 6.0, its remote location means the chances of impacting people or property is low.

ABC7 has compiled a list of items that are important to have in your earthquake kit so that you're prepared for "the big one."