The June 2016 Southern California (SoCal) earthquake was a powerful earthquake spawned by the San Andreas Fault, causing mass destruction along the United States (US) West Coast. It lasted roughly 43 seconds and had a moment magnitude of 9.6 Mw, resulting in an extremely severe ground acceleration of 33.6 m/s². Severe earth displacement was reported as far north as San Francisco and as far south as Ensenada in Mexico. The peak ground motion of the SoCal quake, measured at Caliente Mountain, was 344 cm/s, displacing the 1994 Northridge earthquake as the fastest peak ground velocity in history. Additionally, hundreds of aftershocks were reported following the SoCal quake, including a 7.1 Mw one hour after the event and a 6.4 M w three hours after the initial shock. Due to the abrupt nature of the disaster, roughly a million fatalities were reported in its aftermath, with thousands more injured and losses in the trillions, making the earthquake among the costliest natural disasters in American history.


Historically, the San Andreas Fault has been known for producing devastating earthquakes, notably in 1906 and 1989. In 2006, scientists were aware enough stress was in the fault that the so dubbed "big one" could happen in as soon as a day or even ten years. Were this phenomenon to occur, it would mean big consequences for Los Angeles, San Diego, Tijuana, and other major regions across southern California and Baja California. Additional studies in 2008 revealed an M6.7 quake or greater had roughly a 20% chance of occuring on the San Andreas Fault within three decades, prompting necessary precautions.

During 2016, Seismologists made dozens of predictions as to where and when the San Andreas Fault would rupture. In particular, they were concerned with the Morales Thrust Fault in the Caliente Range, which had been witnessing an extreme amount of seismic activity at the beginning of the spring. Consequently, researchers at University of California, Berkeley assessed a 15% chance the "big one" would occur on the Caliente Range and a 40% chance of it happening anywhere in the Coast Ranges. Abruptly, on May 5, 2016, a 7.2 Mw foreshock with a Mercalli scale rating of VI (Strong) was reported from a blind thrust fault in the vicinty of Shafter. Numerous homes suffered from cracked walls and shattered windows in Shafter, and dozens of reports regarding crushed concrete, broken plates and plaster were observed even in Bakersfield.


The EventEdit