The Big One is an impending massive earthquake which will inevitably one day rock California to the core. Tension has been building along the San Andreas fault for centuries, and experts predict a ground splitting quake for when the fault line finally ruptures. The US Geological Survey (USGS) has said it will be at least a 7.9 on the Richter scale and will leave a trail of destruction.
As a result, the State of California has launched a new earthquake alert app which will warn residents of impending tremors.
A statement from the Office of Emergency Services said: “The California Earthquake Early Warning System will marry a new smartphone application with traditional alert and warning delivery methods such as Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA).”
As part of the launch, Governor of California Gavin Newsom has told the residents of the Golden State to remain vigilant as the Big One could strike at any time.
He said: “Nothing can replace families having a plan for earthquakes and other emergencies.
“And we know the Big One might be around the corner. I encourage every Californian to download this app and ensure your family is earthquake ready.”
The USGS wrote on its website: “What we do know is that California is ‘earthquake country’ and we need to be prepared.
“Scientists are working to improve forecasts that estimate how often future earthquakes will occur and how much the ground will shake so engineers and planners will know where to focus efforts to mitigate the effects of damaging earthquakes.”
The San Andreas fault last ruptured on a large scale 380 years ago, but experts believe it should happen every 180 years on average, judging by historical data.
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But there is no way for geologists to predict whether the fault will be the source of the next Big One.
The USGS said: “The paleoseismic data on different parts of the San Andreas Fault Zone are all telling us that some sections appear to be past the average, or ‘overdue’ for a significant earthquake.
I“But the data can’t be used to make predictions: we do not understand earthquakes well enough to know exactly where the next earthquake will occur, what the magnitude will be, or exactly when it will happen.”