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LA San Andreas Fault Little Danger to SF, But That Doesn't Mean We Shouldn't Worry

Both Northern and Southern California need to prepare — fast

According to seismologists at the National Earthquake Conference in Long Beach, the San Andreas fault is "locked, loaded, and ready to roll."

Curbed LA says conference honchos anticipate that the fault is way behind schedule to let off some steam. In case anybody needed a vivid illustration of this principle, they trotted out a computer simulation of what a major San Andreas movement (8.0 or higher) might look like.

The effect resembles a gigantic fireball sweeping over everything from Monterey to Mexico. It is, in a word, unnerving.

But you will notice that the waves dissipate on the north side and seem to bear little threat to us.

That’s because the northern and southern segments of the fault are divided by a "creeping section" that usually prevents a quake in one half of the state from affecting the other. Stanford seismologists say it might be possible for one earthquake to crush north and south at the same time, but it’s probably never happened. Whew.

But don’t get too comfy, because the NEC is a timely reminder that the clock is ticking on our faults too.

In case you were (for some bizarre reason) jealous that only our neighbors to the south got a color-coded simulation of their forthcoming destruction, USGS very ran some similar graphical models last month of what the impact can/will look like here, both in a replay of the 1906 quake and a scenario in which the Hayward fault unleashes.

Something to think about. For more information on preparing for the big one, has detailed information on gathering supplies and making a plan.