"3.5m homes destroyed and €272bn worth of damage" - Seismologists on California's 'Big One'

Predicted for years, new research into the San Andreas Fault has upped the ante on a worst-case scenario

"3.5m homes destroyed and €272bn worth of damage" - Seismologists on California's 'Big One'

[Wiki Commons]

While seismologists have been forewarning of ‘The Big One’ for years, referring to an earthquake along California’s San Andreas Fault, new research into what could happen in a worst-case scenario have revealed some worrying predictions – and a very hefty price tag to clean up the mess.

For decades, all of the scientific date on the fault lines, which runs for 800-miles along the length of the Golden State, suggested that a state-wide earthquake would not take place in California. But a recent study, combining research from academics, state, and federal governments, suggests that it is feasible an earthquake could start at one end of the fault and continue along the line for hundreds of miles.

Morgan Page, a United States Geological Survey research geophysicist, told the Wall Street Journal, “Scientists weren’t really sure if you could have a rupture through the creeping section of the San Andreas. Now we think it’s not very probable, but it is possible.”

Now that possibility in sending waves through the insurance business in California, with actuarial mathematicians running the numbers on what potential payouts would have to be levied should the disastrous earthquake happen.

CoreLogic Inc, a real-estate analytics firm in Irvine, south of Los Angles, has made some stark predictions that will almost certainly lead to increased premiums: as many as 3.5m homes could be severely damaged if an 8.3-magnitude earthquake were to zip along a 500-mile section of the fault, totally to a massive $289bn (€272bn) worth of property damage.

Insurers in California look at 2011 Tohoku earthquake in Japan, a 9.0-magnitude strike that resulted in damage estimated at $35bn.

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