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The San Andreas Fault May Be About to Explode

San Andreas hasn't relieved any pressure in over a century, making it "locked, loaded, and ready to go."

Helen Donahue

Helen Donahue

Photo via Flickr user Michael R. Perry

Read: We Asked a Seismologist How Fucked California Would Be in a 'San Andreas'–Style Earthquake

Earthquake experts think that the San Andreas fault is about to burst, meaning that a potentially devastating quake could strike Southern California at any time, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Thomas Jordan, director of the Southern California Earthquake Center, said in a keynote speech Wednesday that, unlike other faults, San Andreas hasn't relieved any pressure in over a century, making it "locked, loaded, and ready to go."

The last time San Andreas relieved pressure in 1857, it resulted in a 7.9-magnitude quake tearing 185 miles through the state from Monterey County to the San Gabriel Mountains. If a quake that size hit SoCal today, it would cause over 1,800 deaths, 50,000 injuries, $200 billion in damages, and send its sewage system out of order for months, according to a 2008 US Geological Survey report.

LA has some of the strictest earthquake laws in the country, agreeing in 2015 to retrofit concrete buildings in order to make the city less vulnerable in the event of an earthquake—but Jordan says the state should be ready for a quake as large as a magnitude 8.