According to a University of California Davis professor, the Los Angeles region’s “earthquake potential score,” a gauge for assessing the likelihood of a destructive temblor, has surpassed the level assigned to the 6.7 magnitude Northridge Earthquake of 1994. According to John Rundle, a professor of geology and physics at UC Davis, the score is created through “nowcasting,” a method of using small earthquakes to mark the current progress between larger and more dangerous ones. Rundle developed the idea in collaboration with researchers from UC Irvine and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Rundle stated,
The data says that within 100 kilometers of Los Angeles, as judged by the number of small earthquakes, we are in the same state of hazard as we were just prior to Northridge.
Since 1933, three earthquakes with a magnitude larger than six have occurred in Los Angeles, with 23 to 38 years separating each. The Northridge Earthquake killed dozens, injured more than 8,000 people and disrupted life in Los Angeles and the surrounding counties for months. It is important to note that nowcasting doesn’t attempt to predict when the next earthquake might hit or how damaging the quake could be, it is a simple and broad interpretation of regional data that does not factor in the complexities of the area’s earthquake faults. The idea behind the earthquake potential score is to make it easier to understand the threat. The calculations could be used to display hazard levels in real time for major cities around the world. The recent earthquakes in Mexico provide a good reminder for California’s to have an emergency preparedness kit.