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When will the 6.5 earthquake hit Santa Barbara?
Question Date: 2016-08-31
Answer 1:

Currently, it is NOT possible to exactly predict when an earthquake will hit a specific location. However, we can estimate how FREQUENTLY large earthquakes occur. For example, we can determine how frequently major earthquakes happen by looking at historic (recorded) events have taken place near Santa Barbara.

The last 6.0 magnitude earthquake to hit Santa Barbara was in 1925. We call it the 1925 Santa Barbara Earthquake. It was a magnitude 6.3 and destroyed most of the buildings in downtown Santa Barbara. There was so much destruction because the buildings were not properly built to stand against a strong earthquake. Today, most buildings in southern California are built (or re-built) to withstand the intense shaking of large earthquakes.

Other earthquakes in Santa Barbara include the magnitude 7.5 earthquake in 1812 and the magnitude 6 earthquake in 1883. There was a magnitude 5.5 earthquake in 1941 that struck near Carpinteria. Also, there was a magnitude 5.1 earthquake in 1978 that hit close to Santa Barbara.

This means there were at least five major earthquakes between 1812 and 1978 (which is a time span of 166 years). You simply divide to get the average time between each major earthquake: 166 / 5 = 33.2 years between each earthquake. It means we have a large earthquake in Santa Barbara about every 33 years on average.

It has been 38 years since the last large earthquake in 1978, so Santa Barbara might be overdue for another large earthquake.

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