A study by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) has forecast if a 7.8 quake was to strike southern California, it could kill around 1,800 civilians and cost the US Government $ 213 billion. The ‘ShakeOut Scenario’, developed in 2008, examined the physical, social and economic consequences of a major tremor. The theoretical research project reached its frightful conclusion after analysing eight counties across the 900-mile state.
They included Imperial, Kern, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, and Ventura.
The research project was modelled on the possibility of the 7.8 magnitude quake striking the San Andreas Fault – an area most likely to produce a major tremor.
The San Andreas Fault is a sliding boundary between the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate.
It stretches roughly 1,200 kilometres through California between Cape Mendocino and the Mexican border.
The USGS state the 7.8 earthquake modelled in the research may never happen but acknowledged earthquakes on the San Andreas Fault are “inevitable”.
Earlier this year a 6.4 magnitude tremor was recorded near the city of Ridgecrest – located 150 miles northeast of Los Angeles.
The quake struck on July 5 at shortly after 10.30am local time.
The bush fires has destroyed almost 80,000 acres (32,375 hectares) and more than 370 structures since it started on October 23.
The Maria Fire, which broke out on Thursday near the community of Santa Paula about 70 miles (110 km) northwest of downtown Los Angeles, had already destroyed two structures and burned more than 9,400 acres (3,800 hectares).