Earthquake Prediction: California Is Next

And hit to San Andreas or Cascadia faults could be even 'scarier'

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 19, 2011 7:00 PM CDT

(Newser) – Is what happened in Japan set to repeat itself in California? Author Simon Winchester thinks so. In an article for Newsweek that’s turning some heads, Winchester notes that though scientists aren’t sure why, major earthquakes have a tendency to happen in clusters, with a quake on one side of a plate followed by one on the other some weeks or months later. “It is as though the earth becomes like a great brass bell,” he writes. Strike it in one place, and the vibrations carry.

After last month’s quake in New Zealand and last year’s quake in Chile, the Pacific plate has now seen catastrophic quakes on three of its corners. The only corner left untouched: the northeast, meaning either the San Andreas fault or Cascadia fault—the latter of which would trigger a tsunami. Winchester repeated his warning on MSNBC, in an interview spotted by Mediaite, saying that California “really isn’t taking this seriously enough.”

An earthquake monitoring station, with instrument well, solar power generating panels, and an antenna to transmit data, are seen near the San Andreas Fault in a desert canyon near Thermal, Calif.   (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
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Simon Winchester says California isn't taking the risk of a quake seriously enough.   (msnbc)

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