(NaturalNews) A new study conducted by researchers from the Scripps Institute of Oceanography in La Jolla, Calif., suggests that the ill-famed California mega-earthquake could happen literally any day now. Overdue for experiencing the "big one" by as much as 100 years, the San Andreas fault line, which stretches about 810 miles along the California coastline and branches inland to the south where it ends at the Salton Sea, could very soon experience a devastating 7.5 magnitude or greater quake.
Experts have been speculating for years about when the next California mega-quake might occur because it has been a long time since the last one occurred. The last semi-major earthquake to cause significant damage in California was the 1994 Northridge earthquake, which clocked in at 6.7 magnitude on the Richter scale. That quake produced the strongest ground motions ever recorded in an urban area inside North America, at least 33 people died, and total damage topped $20 billion -- and yet that quake is smaller than what is predicted to come.
Historically, the Salton Sea area, which is located roughly 70 miles to the east of the San Diego area, experiences a major earthquake every 180 years. The lake, which lies directly on the San Andreas fault line, at one time experienced regular, moderate seismic activity. But as engineering officials began to dam areas of the Colorado River that fed directly into the lake, those quakes have largely ceased. Serious tension has been building as a result, and experts believe that because the area is already about 100 years overdue for a major earthquake, the writing is on the wall.
California is riddled with many highly-active fault zones, and a great number of them have not seen major seismic activity for a long time. Based on the pattern of heavy seismic activity taking place around the Pacific "Ring of Fire" in recent months, which represents the patchwork of fault line-ridden land masses circling the Pacific Ocean, California appears to be next in line for a major shaker.