Earthquakes: the Reckoning with ‘The Big One’ in California, and it just got bigger


For years, scientists believed that the mighty San Andreas—the 800-km-long fault which extends the length of California, where the Pacific and North American plates on, could only break into isolated sections.

However, a recent study of the federal, state, and academic researchers showed that a large part of the blame could unzip all at the same time, letting go of a rare, extraordinary disaster. Now, insurers have used the research to come up with a new analysis of the damage that can be caused by statewide break of the San Andreas.

The analysis by CoreLogic Inc., a real-estate analytics company in Irvine, Calif., explains an alarming scenario of destruction.

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As many as 3.5 million houses could be damaged in an 8.3-magnitude earthquake along a roughly 500-mile portion of the debt in comparison with 1.6 million homes damaged as only the northern part of the fault were to break, or 2.3 million if the southern piece of torn.

The damage to houses, only you could be in for a total of $289 billion, compared with the previous range of $137 billion on the southern portion of the debt and $161 billion in the north, according to the CoreLogic analysis.

Researchers say that a provincial quake above 8.0 would probably be hitting the Golden State when at least every 2,500 years. “We’re talking about a very rare earthquakes here,” said Maiclaire Bolton, a seismologist and senior product manager for CoreLogic.

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