Could California's Big One Be Around the Corner, Triggered by Japan's 9.0 Earthquake?

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Wed, Mar 23, 2011 at 12:39 PM
click to enlarge Japan's big one. - TOMVANDEWEGHE
  • tomvandeweghe
  • Japan's big one.

One man caused a lot of fright in California in recent days, and we're not talking about Gov. Jerry Brown.

No, he's journalist Simon Winchester, who wrote in Newsweek that the Japanese 9.0 earthquake March 11 paired with other Pacific Rim shakers could help trigger the big one right here in California.

Well, before you go calling him crazy, which many have, consider that he has a point:

The Pacific Plate that was part of the subduction zone rocker that devastated northern Japan (more via tsunami than quakery) leads right to California.

And while scientists don't have enough evidence yet to suggest cause and effect, the system of plates along the Pacific is interconnected, and the rupture of one fault can cause pressure on another.

After the Japan temblor we talked to USC's Jean-Pierre Bardet, a professor of civil engineering and a foremost expert on quakes.

He told us this:

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