Coming soon to a vacation destination near you (or, as in the case of Hawaii, far away from almost everything except, earthquakes, tsunami’s, volcanoes, hurricanes, and shark bites)– the Big One. Tia Ghose on how San Andreas (the movie) could become all too real:
As the North American and Pacific tectonic plates grind past each other, large chunks of Earth’s crust wedged between them get squeezed and twisted off Southern California and Baja California in Mexico. This logjam of crust could cause catastrophic ruptures at two faults along this boundary, setting off undersea temblors of magnitude 7.9 or 8.0.
These faults have formed because huge chunks of Earth’s crust are being smashed and twisted between the North American plate and the Pacific, which is sliding northwest, away from California. This pileup of crust spans from the San Andreas Fault inland to a region between about 90 and 125 miles (150 and 200 km) off the coast.
That seismic stress could lead to a dangerous fault rupture, just like the one likely to hit the San Andreas Fault in the next several decades