One day, next to the traffic map and weather forecast on your smartphone, seismologist Thomas H. Jordan envisions an app that you can check to see when the chances of a major earthquake in California rise.
Jordan, director of the Southern California Earthquake Center, is quick to make clear this is not an earthquake prediction. Predicting exactly when and where a catastrophic earthquake will strike next is impossible, scientists say.
But what scientists can do is pay close attention when moderate quakes strike in perilously sensitive spots — places right next to major faults such as the San Andreas.
Such small earthquakes raise the risk that the San Andreas fault could unleash a magnitude 7 or greater earthquake.
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