California's Big One Would Mean What For Whom?
September 30, 2009 1:36 PM   Subscribe

What would the national and global consequences be if the San Andreas Fault finally gave rise to 'The Big One'?

I'm particularly interested in the implications from geographic, economic, environmental, social, political, cultural, technological etc perspectives.

Bonus points for links to essays, articles, books and/or formal research around this topic.
posted by mooders to Society & Culture (4 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
So the USGS has studied this significantly. It's part of their Multi-Hazards Demonstration Project, which also includes the "Great Shakeout" earthquake drills. On this page, under "Shakeout Scenario Research Studies", you can find detailed studies of the prospective consequences of a large earthquake in Southern California.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:59 PM on September 30, 2009

Oh, and here is the summary of the prospective scenario, in PDF format (warning: Comic Sans. Scientists freakin' love Comic Sans, particularly to convey potentially distressing information). Some highlights: 2,000 dead, 50,000 injured, $200 billion in damage.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:03 PM on September 30, 2009

For a southern San Andreas Big Oneā„¢, the largest national effect would be that the Port of Los Angeles (which I believe is the US's busiest) and the Port of Long Beach would be pretty much out of service. Every highway, railway, and pipeline that crosses the fault (and every one of them does) would be destroyed at the fault. This would slow down imports from Asia and various oil shipments.
posted by hwyengr at 3:04 PM on September 30, 2009

Oh, and geographically, Los Angeles would be about 10 feet closer to San Francisco than it was before.

Fun Fact of the Day: LA City Hall is already 9 feet closer to San Francisco than the day it was built.
posted by hwyengr at 3:08 PM on September 30, 2009

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