USGS Warns: Many Liberal Areas of California Could Fall into Sea

California tattoo (Vivianna_love / Flickr / CC / Cropped))
Vivianna_love / Flickr / CC / Cropped)

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) has warned that there is a high-risk of a mega-earthquake along Southern California’s Newport-Inglewood/Rose Canyon fault line could plunge a huge swath of Southern California’s coastal — and liberal — communities into the sea.

Several conservative writers have speculated about what would happen politically if the liberal State of California fell into the sea after a mega-earthquake. Now, new data compiled by the USGS indicates that the area with greatest risk along the Pacific-North American tectonic plate, which is overdue for a big slip-plate movement, includes many of the state’s most liberal communities, which hug the coast from La Jolla to Malibu.

The Journal of Geophysical Research recently published an article, “Seismic constraints on the architecture of the Newport-Inglewood/Rose Canyon fault: Implications for the length and magnitude of future earthquake ruptures,” in an effort to define better the risk of a large earthquake along the four strands of the Newport-Inglewood/Rose Canyon (NIRC) fault zone.

Normally, slip plate movements up the four long fingers of the NIRC fault average just 2–8 millimeters per year. But three major plate ruptures over the last 2,000 years caused parts of Seal Beach and areas near Los Angeles to fall by 3 feet in matter of seconds.

The most recent major serious event in the NIRC fault zone was the Long Beach Earthquake on March 10, 1933, which hit at 5:54 p.m. and registered a 6.4 magnitude. Instrument recordings show that the plate rupture was entirely onshore near Newport Beach. But the propagation shock wave moved north. There were 120 fatalities as numerous unreinforced brick structures fell and 70 schools were destroyed. The loss of life would have been tremendously higher if the quake hit during prime school and working hours.

Using state-of-the-art computer modeling, researchers re-analyzed MCS hydrophone streamer data that was collected by Chevron in 1979, before new off-shore oil drilling was banned, to update the risk profile for the next NIRC rupture.

The study estimates that, at a minimum, the next NIRC rupture would extend for about 5 miles and generate a strong 5.7-magnitude earthquake.

On the high side, the next Newport-Inglewood/Rose Canyon slip-plate rupture could be a 7.4 magnitude monster, 10 times more severe than the Long Beach Earthquake. More importantly, the length of the slip-plate movement could be up to 98 miles long and the land drop could be up to 20 feet.


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