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March 15th, 2011
09:25 AM ET

Is California due for a massive earthquake?

Simon Winchester is the author of Newsweek's most recent cover story, "The Scariest Earthquake is Yet to Come". In it, Winchester says the West Coast of the U.S. is next in line for a massive quake.

Winchester, a journalist and geologist, talks to Kiran Chetry and Christine Romans about the disaster in Japan and his Newsweek story.

Filed under: Japan Earthquake • Science • U.S.
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Dr Brain

    According to my research Winchester is correct. He's dead on. I don't think too many are listening. What has happened in the last 12 months is almost identical as what occurred in 1906 before the San Francisco quake. A pattern I've never seen before, but a pattern indeed. I am now predicting a devastating quake on the west coast of North America within the next 90-120 days. It will be the worst natural catastrophe in U.S. history with the death toll in the tens of thousands, if not more. If the powers that be do not issue some sort of alert for simple extra preparedness just in case these observances are correct, there will surely be a much higher death toll than what would have been. Its coming. Be prepared.

    March 20, 2011 at 10:31 pm |
  2. Aaron

    Everyone/every family should be prepared for some type of disaster. No one will ever prepare for exactly what happens but a basic plan can make a difference. You should never live your life in fear, though. California is just a matter of WHEN not IF. It is a function of earth science/physics.

    Pertaining to the Mayan calendar comment:

    How does 09/11/2001 + 3/11/2011 = 12/21/2012?

    I get 12/22/4012. If your "WHAT IFS" include "what if we abbreviate the year portion of the date to the last 2 digits", i guess you can predict the end of days......but absolutely nothing in Mayan literature speaks of the end of the world. Mayan calendar hype is all "Marketing" and weather or not you are "Buying".

    March 18, 2011 at 9:12 am |
  3. Tellmenolies

    I live in California,and we do our best to be prepared for the "big one"...we have massive amounts of education about earthquakes available,we have recent tsunami inundation maps that you can look up your street on,the county I live in has insane (but necessary) building codes,we have earthquake drills with all of our first responders,we have reverse 911 calls to warn of tsunamis and sirens...I live 5 miles from the
    Epicenter of the 7.1 Loma prieta earthquake and if that earthquake had happened somewhere else the death toll would have been much worse..things have only gotten safer since then as the old buildings that weren't up to code mostly were damaged,torn down and rebuilt....most of the bridges and overpasses have been earthquake retrofitted to bring them up to code,we know how to turn our gas off, almost everyone I know keeps a Emergency kit and food for a few weeks at least.I know
    we're going to have another big quake soon...but I can only hope that all of the prep has been's a paradise here,well worth the risk:-)

    March 18, 2011 at 7:04 am |
  4. Eddy Eruanga

    CNN number one.

    March 17, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
  5. Eddy Eruanga

    America is helping other countries all over the world. That is fine. Are we ready for the calamity (earth Quake) that is about to happen in California and else where in the US? When that time comes who will help the US? CNN number one. You give us the best staff and news all the time. Thank you.

    March 17, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
  6. Nick Danger

    When one speaks of the "Big One" in California, they are commonly refering to a quake similar to the 1906 San Fransisco quake, and not necessarily a major event offshore in the Cascadia Fault /' Juan De Fuca fault system....Japan clearly adapted on land for major quakes and structually they made quite a statement in a 9.0 quake with the stability of their structures.....but the tsunami, making landfall where it did, delivered a catastophic blow to the population and to key Nuclear facilities that may yet (hopefully not) becoming more overwhelming than the quake and tsunami....The West Coast quake risk is simply not a question of "IF", but a question of "WHEN"...if Winchesters observation of the "clustering" phenomenon is true, then the prudent mind would be well advised to take steps now to plan and prepare at a state and local is worth wondering if a 9.0 quake occured off the CA coastline at the same distance as in Japan, but offshore LA, SF or Seattle, why would we think we would not be affected far worse given our lack of concern and preparedness?

    March 16, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
  7. Jeremy

    Lori, the Earth Quake/Tsunami in Japan was on 3/11/11 so that doesn't add up to 122112 but 122212 – still a bit strange but not the exact date the Mayan calendar ends.

    March 16, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
  8. brian tourville

    An excellent informative eye_opening interview – thank you!


    March 16, 2011 at 11:05 am |
  9. Amber

    A 100 feel high wave????

    March 15, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
  10. Lori

    The experts say California is due for an earthquake, haven't they been saying that for many years though. If I lived in California I would have a plan for what to do in case the worst happened, a bag of supplies and a meeting place to meet up with family members at. It's pretty scary how life as we know it can change in an instant. It's unreal all of the death and destruction that has been happening with all of these natural disasters the past few years. The news has become depressing and scary. My teenage daughter came in last night and wrote down on a piece of paper the date of 9/11/01 and the date of the Japan Earth Quake and Tsunami 3/10/11 she said add them up and you get the date of the last day of the Mayan Calender of 12/21/12. That was when I really decided to not live in fear, have a plan for what is possible to plan for but otherwise live your life and don't let all the "what if's" overwhelm you.

    March 15, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
  11. Beverley

    Please note that I am Canadian but CNN is all I need to keep me up to date in t he latest news.

    March 15, 2011 at 11:42 am |
  12. Beverley

    CNN is my source all througout the day... I was away in Jamaica and when I got back JOHN ROBERTS was away from his morning show. Can someone take the time to tell me if he left CNN and whether or not he is okay. I just need to find closure I do miss him.

    March 15, 2011 at 11:42 am |
  13. Steve Gray

    Everytime I see another earthquake some place in the world I always hold my breath for the west coast

    March 15, 2011 at 9:53 am |