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California Earthquake Forecast – Update 2

Posted by feww on August 11, 2009

California forecast earthquake may be more powerful than originally estimated

FEWW Moderators have upgraded their forecast for a California earthquake to a Magnitude 7.9 event.

For initial forecast see California Earthquake Forecast 2009 [March 24, 2009]

For Update # 1 see:  California Earthquake Forecast 2009 – UPDATE [August 4, 2009]

San Andreas Fault

The topographic texture of western California is controlled by the San Andreas fault system, the tectonic expression of the Pacific plate sliding northwestward along the western margin of the North American plate. Hundreds of miles long and up to a mile wide, the San Andreas Fault Zone has been active since its original development in the Tertiary.  About 10 percent of the present plate motion is compressional, which means horizontal forces are shortening and wrinkling the crust along the fault zone. This movement has created the parallel coastal northwest-southeast mountain ranges such as the Coastal Ranges along California’s central coast. Comparatively quiet during the period between the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and the 1989 Loma Prieta event, the fault is again showing activity. Image and caption:

Fault map for San Francisco Bay Area from, annotated and colors modified by User: Leonard G. Released into the public domain (
Leonard G. ).

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16 Responses to “California Earthquake Forecast – Update 2”

  1. feww said

    California Earthquake Forecast – Update 3

  2. K said

    Given you ongoing research…is the estimated date of occurrence still 9/28/09? Will you be releasing any further information?

  3. feww said

    Public Information Notice

    Pleasanton Weekly News — Bay City News Service

    Emergency responders from California, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and Washington are participating in a disaster exercise this week to test their response in the event of a 6.8-magnitude earthquake in the Bay Area.

    As part of the drill, the earthquake will simulate the loss of and damage to major infrastructure resources. Major bridges, drinking water supplies, wastewater treatment facilities, and chemical and radiological facilities could potentially be impacted if such a quake were to rock the Bay Area.

    The simulated earthquake along the Hayward Fault is a collaborative effort between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency offices in Denver, Seattle and San Francisco, the U.S. Coast Guard and California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control.

    The exercise, called the Great State Shake, starts Monday and ends Thursday.

  4. K said

    There was an article today on the Pleasanton Weekly news indicating that this week there is an earthquake drill that will last until Thursday simulating an earthquake on the Hayward Fault. I don’t believe in coincidences and it’s simply to obvious to ignore the correlation between your forecast and the article.

    • feww said

      Just did a quick search and will post the message below. Also came up with the following:

      At 10:15 a.m. on October 15, 2009, millions of Californians will participate in the largest earthquake drill ever!

      The purpose of the ShakeOut is to practice how to protect ourselves during earthquakes, and to get prepared at work, school, and home.“>

      This event seems to be similar to the one held in November last year. It’d be ironic if a large quake were to occur the same day.

      Based on current data, FEWW model suggests that the epicenter would be close to Santa Clara, with an uncertainty radius of about 20 km (probability of 0.75). So far the outputs are all consistent. If a few more simulations produce same/similar results, will post a more detailed update.

  5. MD said

    How do the recent small earthquakes in the East Bay near Mount Diablo work into the forecast? Or could they possibly be foreshocks of what’s to come? Also, there is still continuous activity in the Gulf of California. It’s perplexing.

    • feww said

      If the aggregate energy produced by the cluster reaches a predetermined threshold, they would be plugged into the model and recalculated.

      “Also, there is still continuous activity in the Gulf of California. It’s perplexing.”

      Gulf of California (GoC) sits on a fault line. The East Pacific Rise, a divergent tectonic plate boundary which separates the Pacific Plate from the North American Plate {as well as other plates), terminates in the GoC (the Salton Sea basin). This is a seismically active zone on a dynamic planet. It shouldn’t be perplexing.

  6. K said

    Being that we are closer to the forecasted date…do you have any additional details regarding the forecast, that might be of aid to us who live in Northern California rather in California in general?

  7. K said

    I recently read about a new fault (to us and not to the earth)in the Stanford News. This fault is a horizontal fault and it may stretch from the San Andreas fault to the Hayward fault. It’s all a bit convoluted since they are not sure how far it goes and not sure if it even is a fault… so now if we add this new fault to the Hayward/ Rogers Creek dynamic (because of the perceived locked nature of the faults, and the offset), the fracture locks and loads the faults, but in a different direction. I think then the the direction and the type of release could be pretty exciting with the potential for huge uplift and damage beyond anything previously known. Potentially another Mt. Diablo could be formed. The question is, how does this new fault work into your forecast for that area?

    • feww said

      You’ve answered your own question: “It’s all a bit convoluted since they are not sure how far it goes and not sure if it even is a fault…”
      “The question is, how does this new fault work into your forecast for that area?”
      It doesn’t, but we are constantly updating our knowledge of the region.

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