According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) neither the USGS nor any other scientists have ever successfully predicted a major earthquake. Given the lack of a demonstrably reliable prediction capability, the USGS therefore focuses their efforts on the long-term mitigation of earthquake hazards (i.e. by helping to improve the safety of structures or promoting preparedness), rather than by trying to accomplish short-term predictive warnings. However, based on scientific data, probabilities can be calculated for potential future earthquakes. For example, scientists estimate that over the next 30 years the probability of a magnitude 7 earthquake occurring in Northern California is 76% and 75% in Southern California.
A report published last year(1) includes recent analysis that dramatically expands the North American earthquake threat risk projections to now include almost half of the entire USA population and has also increased the severity projections for previously acknowledged regions. In many cases, those in these newly upgraded risk zones remain unaware and unprepared for earthquakes.
Recent analysis has raised the probability forecast for a major 8.0 or greater magnitude earthquake striking California within the next three decades. Further, related forecasts predict a 99.9 percent probability of a 5.0 magnitude LA-area earthquake striking within the next three years2. The “Big One” is usually assorted with the large San Andreas Fault that runs most of the length of the state. That fault has produced earthquakes of this magnitude in the past and the probably is that it could trigger another giant quake again in the future