Earthquake: SoCal to Get ‘The Big One’ Soon

According to a study by scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, an earthquake measuring 5.0 or greater will occur in the next two and a half years on or near faults in the San Gabriel Valley.

The scientists came as close to guaranteeing the earthquake as they could, positing that the chances of the earthquake were at least 99%. They also asserted that an earthquake measuring 6.0 or higher had a 35% chance of occurring in the same place.

The Los Angeles Daily News, culling from the study, reported that the area in which the quake could occur covered a radius of 60 miles from the epicenter of the March 28, 2014 5.1 La Habra earthquake. The faults referred to are the Puente Hills fault, which runs from the Whittier area northwest to just south of Griffith Park, and the Whittier Fault, which travels between Chino Hills and Whittier.

The authors of the study wrote of the La Habra quake:

We determined displacements that occurred as a result of the 28 March 2014 M 5.1 La Habra earthquake using GPS and Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR) measurements. Both the GPS and UAVSAR measurements show a broader pattern of deformation than would be expected from a M5.1 earthquake … The 2014 M5.1 La Habra earthquake was a small reflection of a larger episode of deformation that occurred concurrently with the earthquake.

Although the JPL scientists, led by Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Andrea Donnellan, postulated that they were certain of the incipient quake, Thomas Heaton, professor of engineering seismology and director of the Earthquake Engineering Research Laboratory at Caltech, demurred, saying: “As far as I’m concerned there has never been a successful earthquake prediction and a scientific breakthrough would be required for us to make a scientifically based prediction. While the authors are credible scientists, this paper does not meet my definition of science. ”

Seismologists at JPL are scheduled to meet legislative staff in Sacramento to discuss the matter next week.


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