Los Angeles-area will suffer magnitude-5 or greater quake within 3 years: NASA

Los Angeles-area will suffer magnitude-5 or greater quake within 3 years: NASA

Greater Los Angeles area will almost certainly suffer an earthquake of magnitude-5 or greater within next three years, a new study by NASA researchers cautioned.

The recently released study report warned that there is a 99.9 per cent chance of a magnitude-5 or greater quake striking the greater L.A. area within next three years. The study is based on Global Positioning System (GPS) and airborne radar measurements of how Earth’s crust was deformed by an almost similar quake in March last year.

On March 20, 2014, the area suffered a magnitude-5.1 quake, which caused more than $12 million in damage that included cracked pavements and broken water mains.

NASA geophysicist Andrea Donnellan said, “If you think of pulling on a rubber band, you stretch it and stretch it, and if you pull on it hard enough, it’s going to break. The earthquakes are the breaking rubber band … we showed what stored potential was still in the northeast LA basin and northern Orange County.”

While the magnitude-5 earthquake is expected to occur by April 2018, a magnitude-6 or higher quake has been pegged at merely 35 per cent and the largest potential earthquake has been estimated at 6.3.

However, the precise predictions of the study have been called into question by the United States Geological Survey (USGS), which said it was uncertain how NASA researchers reached the conclusions.

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