California Earthquake

San Andreas Fault is set to snap at any minute

Posted: Updated:
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

"The big one" was set to hit Southern California Monday night, but nothing happened.

So, we went and asked the experts when they thought California and Arizona would be rocking.

The rumbles began last Monday in the Salton Sea near Bombay Beach. The trembles were not felt by many, but what started as one at a magnitude of 1.4 soon became hundreds with three of them measuring at a magnitude of 4.0.

"Right near the southern most end of the San Andreas Fault," said Ramon Arrowsmith, a professor of geology at Arizona State University.

The quakes occurred in one of California's most seismically complex areas. In the 1980s, a swarm hit that same area but "the big one" never came.

"That part of the San Andreas Fault hasn't seen an earthquake for almost 300 years," Arrowsmith said.

Meaning, it's had plenty of time to build the friction it needs.

"It's kind of like when you snap your fingers, you know, you load them up and then at some point it exceeds the strength of the interface and it slips," Arrowsmith said.

"The big one" would impact Arizona.

"It would literally possibly break the I-10, sort of rupturing and off-setting it by 15 to 30 feet," Arrowsmith said.

Cutting us off from SoCal and even snapping communication, water and power lines. So could a "big one" happen along Arizona's quake corridor?

"Our probabilities for earthquakes are hundreds or thousands times lower than California, but we still have them," Arrowsmith said.

Last week's extra quakes upped the probability of "the big one." Scientists are predicting a magnitude 7 or more. The San Andreas Fault is set to snap at any minute, but in the past 24 hours the activity has gone back down to normal. So, again, we wait.

To get more information on how to prepare for an earthquake, visit

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Ashlee DeMartinoAshlee DeMartino is excited to finally be back in her hometown of Phoenix.

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Ashlee DeMartino
Weekend Weather Anchor

An award-winning journalist, Ashlee has worn many hats in her career, one-woman-band, executive producer, anchor, reporter and morning traffic reporter. However, her main focus and passion is weather.

As a Weather Anchor Ashlee has seen the power and destruction of mother-nature up close and personal, reporting on ravaging wildfires, devastating floods, 100 car pile ups in the fog and the rare snow and ice storm on the Las Vegas Strip.

Ashlee graduated from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and is currently enrolled at Mississippi State University in the Geosciences program finishing her degree in Meteorology.

Fun Facts About Ashlee

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