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Big quake to hit within 30 years?

California, USA
Southern California faces THE VIRTUAL CERTAINTY that an earthquake of magnitude 6.7 or greater will rock the region within the next three decades, according to a newly updated statewide quake forecast released Monday. Scientists estimate a 99.7% chance that a quake of such magnitude will strike in the next 30 years - with the odds highest in Southern California. And the forecast estimates the likelihood of a magnitude 7.5 quake or greater in California over the next three decades is nearly 50 percent - and also more likely to occur in Southern California. Results of such a quake could be devastating: The 1994 Northridge quake registered 6.7 - and left more than 70 dead, thousands injured and more than $25 billion in damages. "If you take an earthquake the size of Northridge we expect earthquakes of that size to occur somewhere in California at the rate of approximately one every five years. In other words, if we translate that into the probability of having such an earthquake over the next 30 years, it's almost 100 percent." Forecasters aid the probability of a magnitude 6.7 or larger earthquake over the
next 30 years striking the greater Los Angeles area is 67 percent. That compares to 63 percent in the San Francisco Bay Area. The new forecast probabilities are the result of combining information from earthquake geology, seismology and by measuring precise locations on the Earth's surface.

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Learn more about earthquakes in this HowStuffWorks video.

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