As the world watches the devastation in Nepal after a massive earthquake struck the Himalayan nation on Saturday, affecting more than eight million people, injuring more than nine thousand with the death toll reaching over 4,600 hundred and still rising as the hope of rescuing more victims diminishes by the hour, word comes from the USGS that warns the risk of a mega-quake of a magnitude 8 or larger, generally referred to as the "big one" has increased "dramatically" according to the Daily Mail.
In the new study, the estimate for the likelihood that California will experience a magnitude 8 or larger earthquake in the next 30 years has increased from about 4.7% for UCERF2 to about 7.0% for UCERF3.
'The new likelihoods are due to the inclusion of possible multi-fault ruptures, where earthquakes are no longer confined to separate, individual faults, but can occasionally rupture multiple faults simultaneously,' said lead author and USGS scientist Ned Field.
While many might wave away a 7 percent risk, the dramatic increase from only a 4.7 percent risk is significant, especially as we think back to severe warnings by officials that California is in no way prepared for a mega-quake and what the effects would be.
In December 2013, Dr. Lucy Jones, who is a Science Advisor for Risk Reduction at the U.S. Geological Survey, referred to as one of the world's leading experts, gave a speech at the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco titled 'Imagine America without Los Angeles', where she explained the Southern California is in no way prepared for a massive earthquake, the kind that hits every 150-200 years.
Whereas that earthquake affected about a half a million people, today, a huge earthquake on the San Andreas fault could affect 10 million Californians, she said.'Loss of shelter, loss of schools, loss of jobs and emotional hardship. We are risking the ends of our cities,' she said.
FLASHBACK VIDEO FROM DECEMBER 2013, when Ms. jones joined McIntyre In The Morning to discuss her study on the effects a major earthquake would have in the L.A. region, below.
In the interview above Ms. Jones highlights the last "mega-quake" to hit California, which was in 1906 and the screen shot below is from the Daily Mail article which also describes the the destruction of that natural disaster.
In 2014, Jones reiterated her message at at The Atlantic's CityLab 2014 summit in Los Angeles, where she stated "When the San Andreas earthquake happens in Southern California—and that's the most-likely big earthquake in the United States—we know that all of the transportation life lines, the electric systems, the water systems, the gas lines, that cross the San Andreas fault, exactly where they'll break and what will happen when they break. That hasn't gotten anybody to do anything about them. So here in Los Angeles, we get 85 percent of our water from outside the region—that means across the San Andreas fault—in aqueducts that will break, [and] we could tell you how many times they're going to break and that it's going to take 18 months to get them fixed again and we have six-months' supply of water on this side of the fault—when we're not in a drought and the reservoirs are full."
From CBS Los Angeles on April 28, 2015, Ms. Jones says South Californina residents can take lessons from Saturday's Nepal mega-quake, shown below.