In just 24 hours time, several locations in the seismic region known as the “Ring of Fire” were rocked by a series of powerful earthquakes. A 6.1 magnitude earthquake hit New Zealand on Wednesday, followed by an earthquake off the coast of Japan that also registered at a 6.1 magnitude. Next came a 6.4 magnitude earthquake in Vanuatu and a 5.7 magnitude earthquake in Indonesia early Thursday morning. Experts say the Pacific is experiencing unusual seismic activity, and California could be next.
Experts Say A Major Earthquake Will Hit California Within The Next Few Decades
Experts believe the recent series of earthquakes could have been caused by seismic waves traveling along fault lines, which could have triggered ruptures in the Ring of Fire. According to Dr. Christopher Pluhar, a professor of Geology at Fresno State, the plates in this region are in constant motion.
Pluhar noted that the constant motion can cause earthquakes, but they often go unnoticed. “All of the time, it’s happening and there’s no damage. So we don’t notice,” he said. He added that there is about a 60% chance California will be affected by a strong earthquake over the next 30 years, most likely in the East Bay along the Hayward fault. The earthquake that struck Mexico this week, killing over 230 people, is not believed to be connected to the other earthquake events.
Experts explained that the plates that make up the Ring of Fire rub against each other vertically. California, however, sits between two plates that rub each other horizontally. According to scientists, this means that a major earthquake is on the horizon for California. In one scenario,scientists predict that around 1,800 people will die from the impending quake.
Scientists called the cluster of earthquakes seen this week “unusual.” According to Phil Cummins at Geoscience Australia and the Australian National University, seismic waves along the fault lines could be responsible for the earthquakes. “The waves that are excited by the earthquakes might rattle or disturb some distance faults that are close to rupture already.” He noted that waves themselves can’t create earthquakes, but they could trigger earthquakes that are already about to happen.
Watch the video below for more predictions on a possible California earthquake:
Daily Mail / The New York Times / Los Angeles Times