California Shaking

Amazing animations from the USGS of a magnitude 7.8 scenario earthquake on the San Andreas Fault in southern California

smithsonian.com

Between the rampant wildfires and last week’s Great Southern California ShakeOut (an earthquake drill), I’m glad I chose to make my home in Washington, D.C. instead of Los Angeles. Here there are no earthquakes, no fires and only the occasional hurricane.

What really got my attention last week, though, was an animation from the USGS of a magnitude 7.8 scenario earthquake on the San Andreas Fault in southern California. The worst of the seismic waves travel north along the fault, but some of the most intense shaking also heads straight for Los Angeles.

Here’s the animation that shows the seismic waves traveling:

An animation from the USGS shows a 7.8 magnitude earthquake on the San Andreas Fault in southern California

And here is another animation, 1000 times exaggerated, that shows how the seismic waves will shake LA:

An animation depicts how seismic waves will impact Los Angeles

More simulations are available at the USGS's site.

(Animations courtesy of USGS)

About Sarah Zielinski
Sarah Zielinski

Sarah Zielinski is an award-winning science writer and editor. She is a contributing writer in science for Smithsonian.com and blogs at Wild Things, which appears on Science News.

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