The next magnitude 8.0 or greater earthquake to hit California could come a little sooner than expected.
The estimated chance of whether such a mega-earthquake would hit California in the next three decades was raised to 7% from about 4.7%, the U.S. Geological Survey said Tuesday.
An 8.0 earthquake hitting a populated area would be devastating — producing 89 times more energy than the magnitude 6.7 Northridge earthquake in 1994.
Such powerful quakes are relatively rare — scientists believe the last mega-quake to hit Southern California was a magnitude 7.9 earthquake in 1857.
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