San Andreas fact check: “Big one” California earthquake odds and predictions (VIDEO).

San Andreas Is Impossible, but the Threat of the “Big One” Is Very Real

San Andreas Is Impossible, but the Threat of the “Big One” Is Very Real

The state of the universe.
May 29 2015 11:55 AM

San Andreas Is a Crock

But there’s a reason West Coast geologists are fixated on the “big one.”

sanandreas

Courtesy of Warner Bros.

We don’t need to tell you the new San Andreas movie is absurd. But as with most B movies, it does piggyback on real-life fears—and you won’t find many people from the West Coast who aren’t familiar with the concept of the “big one.”

As the video above explains, California has hundreds of major fault lines beneath its surface—the 810-mile San Andreas is simply the most notorious—and the U.S. Geological Survey says it’s near certain there will be a big earthquake there in the next 30 years. The question is how big.

Rachel Stewart is an editor who lives in Philadelphia. Check out her work here.

Jeffrey Bloomer is a Slate video producer and associate editor.