‘Slow Earthquakes’ People Can’t Even Feel Could Be Building Up to a Major San Andreas Disaster

California: The Politics of Surviving ‘The Big One’

It turns out that the danger of flooding on a massive scale is about as likely  as having a massive earthquake, something that most of us haven’t really given a lot of thought to.

But Jones also has a broader goal. She wants us to understand how some regions survive and thrive after almost unimaginable disasters (Lisbon, Portugal after the 1755 quake) and others (Pompeii, AD 79) essentially cease to exist. There is much to be considered.

It turns out that California has had a couple of fairly large disasters, and at least in one case things were seriously out of whack for decades. The enormous flooding in 1861-62 turned the central valley into a lake, basically destroyed the capitol city of Sacramento, and wiped out the ranching industry of southern California. There was a substantial loss of population and the conversion of our local base to agriculture…


‘Slow Earthquakes’ People Can’t Even Feel Could Be Building Up to a Major San Andreas Disaster

Radar data showing ground movement. (M. Khoshmanesh/Arizona State University)

The central section of the San Andreas Fault in California is moving in an unexpected way, scientists say, creating a series of ‘slow earthquakes’ that increase the likelihood of a major quake striking in the future.  It was previously thought that slow and steady movements in this area were safely releasing pent-up energy along the faultline, but the new research suggests the tectonic shifts are actually sharper and more sporadic.

The slow quakes can’t usually be felt by people on the ground, but they have the potential to trigger much bigger quakes, according to the researchers from Arizona State University – like the magnitude 6 earthquake that hit Parkfield in 2004.

“We found that this part of the fault has an average movement of about three…


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