Southern California has been hit by a series of small earthquakes over the past month, with over 1,000 hitting in a small swarm largely in the same area. The unusual frequency of the quakes has many people wondering whether this is a prelude for the “Big One,” the major earthquake that everyone fears may prove incredibly destructive to California.
It’s no secret that Southern California is prone to earthquakes. Everyone who lives in the area understands that earthquakes are bound to happen. But it has been 25 years since the Northridge quake, so many of the residents today no longer remember the damage and destruction that earthquakes can wreak.
A particularly large earthquake in Southern California could result in hundreds or thousands of deaths, tens of thousands of injuries, and hundreds of billions of dollars in property damage. The much-feared Big One, if it’s of sufficient severity, could result in major portions of the coastline immediately slipping several feet into the ocean.
Combined with renewed seismic activity at Yellowstone, many people are wondering whether the US will experience a spate of earthquakes and natural disasters in the coming months. The unpredictable nature of earthquakes makes them impossible to predict, and the longer urban areas go without an earthquake, the more people forget about the dangers. That leads to excessive amounts of development in high-risk areas that make the effects of future quakes that much more severe.
Those living in Southern California have to hope that the Big One doesn’t occur in their lifetimes, as its effects will make previous quakes such as Northridge and Loma Prieta look minor in comparison. Imagine the 1906 San Francisco earthquake but in an area that’s significantly more developed and populated. Even those who have prepared for an earthquake will likely be overwhelmed by how severe the destruction will be. So if you’re worried about the Big One, keep an eye on developments in Southern California over the coming months.