New evidence shows that last year’s Ridgecrest earthquakes may have tripled the chance of a large earthquake along the San Andreas fault!

New evidence shows that last year’s Ridgecrest earthquakes may have tripled the chance of a large earthquake along the San Andreas fault!

Homeowners and owners of commercial properties in the greater Los Angeles area often think that they have “plenty of time” to prepare their buildings for a big earthquake. Unfortunately, thanks to the Ridgecrest earthquakes, time for preparing for the “Next Big One” may be running out.

A new study published on July 13, 2020 in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, states that the chance of a big San Andreas fault earthquake just tripled because of last year’s Ridgecrest, California earthquake, which measured 7.1 on the Richter Scale.  The San Andreas fault, which comes within 35 miles of downtown Los Angeles, is unfortunately the one fault that can unleash a “megaquake” in our lifetime.  This is because the San Andreas is the main tectonic plate boundary between the Pacific and North American plates and it is prone to accumulating seismic stress very quickly.

Why do the Ridgecrest earthquakes increase the danger for residents in Los Angeles? Well, although the epicenters of the Ridgecrest quake were about 125 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles, these tremblors brought the “Garlock” fault much closer to a rupture. By some estimates, the new odds are now that a large quake on the Garlock fault is 100 times more likely, and that therefore, the chance of a large quake on the San Andreas has essentially tripled!

On this point, a professor of geophysics at Stanford University and former scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey (U.S.G.S.) now says that if the Garlock fault ruptures, there’s a high likelihood – perhaps a 50/50 chance — that this would immediately cause a significant rupture in the San Andreas fault, which would in turn seriously impact the Greater Los Angeles area.

In light of this new evidence, homeowners and owners of commercial properties such as “Soft Story” structures now have a special responsibility to mitigate such increased risks through retrofitting their buildings against destructive seismic forces.  In fact, a 2008 U.S.G.S. report offered the opinions that “retrofitting programs . . . have increased the seismic resistance of buildings” and that “much more retrofitting could still be done.”  Without earthquake retrofitting, vulnerable buildings will most likely experience catastrophic structural failures that will potentially threaten life and property.  

Luckily, there is assistance available to property owners. Since 1977, Weinstein Construction, a family-owned business, has been the leading earthquake retrofitting company in the greater Los Angeles area. Since the devastating 1994 Northridge earthquake, Weinstein Construction retrofitters have successfully retrofitted over 7,000 buildings and helped countless property owners with their quake-proofing needs.  

We can help!  Call Weinstein Construction today to speak with one of our representatives about your retrofitting needs, and receive a free, no-obligation evaluation and cost estimate. Be prepared and have peace of mind when the next “Big One” hits!

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