Californians live busy lives – always beating traffic, etching tiny shapes into silicon, investing, divesting, protesting, cross-dressing, grape-squishing, etc. They don’t have a lot of spare time to worry about the Big One – that final great San Andreas earthquake that has been building for 300 years and is forecast to make the 1906 quake look as innocuous as Santa Claus’s belly jiggling.
Fortunately they at least have a few government institutions to worry for them. As LiveScience’s intrepid Jeanna Bryner reports, Caltech and the San Diego Supercomputer Center – long in the earthquake monitoring business – have teamed up to provide video simulations of real earthquakes.
Starting soon, data collected from any Los Angeles-area earthquake of magnitude 3.5 or more – that’s 1-2 per month – will be funneled to make a video of the actual ground’s actual shaking. So if you have a particularly favorite earthquake you want to relive – or you’re just out of town and you miss one – you can just hit rewind.
To get you started, here’s a simulation of a possible Big One – a M7.7 quake that starts at the Salton Sea, near Palm Springs, and ripples westward to Hollywood. The simulation took 4 days and produced 10,000 gigabytes of data. In California, even the supercomputers are busy.