Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This


Dr. Lucy 'Earthquake Lady' Jones Disputes Big Quake Claims

Stories like these are only possible with your help!
Your donation today keeps LAist independent, ready to meet the needs of our city, and paywall free. Thank you for your partnership, we can't do this without you.

Earlier this week, NASA researchers said that we are going to get a big earthquake sometime within the next couple years. However, our local earthquake expert disagrees.

A yet unpublished study from seismologists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab had bad news for L.A. earlier this week, predicting with 99.9 percent certainty that we'd get a 5.0 quake sometime within the next couple years. They were 35 percent certain that it would be even bigger, registering at 6.0 or worse. However, Dr. Lucy "Earthquake Lady" Jones, a seismologist who works with L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti on earthquake preparedness, is here to assuage our fears.

"The claim that it's such a high probability is made in a paper by one individual group of researchers," Jones told CBS Los Angeles. "The paper doesn't document how they came up with that number so it's impossible for us to even evaluate whether or not the statement has any validity, because they didn't say why."

She also said this is not an official NASA claim, and pointed out that a lot of us might not even be able to feel a 5.0 quake.

Support for LAist comes from

Jones says a more likely figure is this: there's a 2 percent chance of SoCal getting a big quake—7.5 or greater—each year.

Still, we're much better prepared now than we were before, and Garcetti just signed legislation that requires retrofitting for a number of buildings, which Jones says will definitely improve our situation if a big earthquake does happen. And the city is planning on rolling out cell phone towersthat work even after a big earthquake.