New Study Shows Increased Earthquake Risk for California

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) recently released a new earthquake forecast for California (UCERF3), which found the state is nearly certain to experience an earthquake as strong as the 1994 Northridge Earthquake (6.7 magnitude) during the next 30 years. The forecast also increased the risk for a mega-earthquake (magnitude 8 or larger), in the state during the same time period from 4.7 percent to 7 percent. The new report identifies the southern San Andreas Fault as the greatest threat for earthquake activity of any region in California.

The new model is an update of a previous forecast from 2008, which improved upon previous findings using new data and methods resulting in more precise predictions. One of the major changes in the new model was the recognition that several faults could rupture at the same time, causing increased damage.

This new model will be used to evaluate earthquake hazard and risk in California, and was already used for the 2014 update of the USGS National Seismic Hazard Maps, which are considered when updating building codes around the country.

This new model confirms what most people already know – California is at high risk for earthquakes. IBHS encourages residents in the state to take steps now to make their homes and businesses earthquake. One of the most common causes of damage and injury during an earthquake is from falling items inside buildings.  Find out how to secure objects in your building with IBHS’ guide Reduce Six Common Earthquake Risk for Less than $70. Additional recommendations on how to protect yourself before, during and after an earthquake can be found at: www.earthquakecountry.org.