California faces an almost certain risk of being rocked by a strong earthquake by 2037, scientists said Monday in the first statewide temblor forecast. New calculations reveal there is a 99.7 percent chance a magnitude 6.7 quake or larger will strike in the next 30 years. The odds of such an event are higher in Southern California than Northern California, 97 percent versus 93 percent. [AP, via HuffPo]
OH MY GOD!!! 97% certainty!!!
Well, duh. Sizeable earthquakes throughout California are rather common. Even the AP article indicates this:
A 7.1 quake – much stronger than Northridge – hit the Mojave Desert in 1999 but caused only a few injuries and no deaths.
And a quick glance at the US Geological Survey’s website shows that tremblors happen every few years.
The real story would have been the odds of a trembor striking a major metropolitan area. Alas, boasting that scientists predict a 3% chance that a major quake won’t strike California probably wouldn’t make headlines – how many flashlights would that sell?