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California Earthquake Forecast

Forecasting California’s Earthquakes—What Can We Expect in the Next 30 Years?

By Edward H. Field, Kevin R. Milner, and the 2007 Working Group on California Earthquake Probabilities

2008

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In a new comprehensive study, scientists have determined that the chance of having one or more magnitude 6.7 or larger earthquakes in the California area over the next 30 years is greater than 99%. Such quakes can be deadly, as shown by the 1989 magnitude 6.9 Loma Prieta and the 1994 magnitude 6.7 Northridge earthquakes. The likelihood of at least one even more powerful quake of magnitude 7.5 or greater in the next 30 years is 46%—such a quake is most likely to occur in the southern half of the State. Building codes, earthquake insurance, and emergency planning will be affected by these new results, which highlight the urgency to prepare now for the powerful quakes that are inevitable in California's future.

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