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Major Earthquakes - N.Z., then Japan. Is California Next?

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There are so many theories about which earthquake fault will go next. This article expresses a concern of mine based on my knowledge of geology and other sciences.

The base cause of earthquakes is actually well-known (unless you believe they are simply punishments visited on a certain place).

As I understand it, the two major causes are volcano-related or due to the movement of the gigantic plates on which the oceans and continents float over the molten core of the planet.

Predicting quakes is extremely difficult because, while it is easy to spot the strain on faults between tectonic plates, it is currently impossible to make enough measurements and calculations to determine when the strain will be too much.

I do know that when something is about to slide a short, sharp shock can cause it to move.

The recent disaster in New Zealand and today's Japanese quake are moving clockwise around the rim of the same great Pacific plate.

My concern at this time (besides my personal concern for the people injured and killed in the recent events) is that for a long the major fault lines running along the West coast of the U.S. have built up a lot of stress which hasn't been relieved by a major movement (earthquake).

The New Zealand and Japan quakes are both on the same tectonic plate as are Alaska, California, Chile, etc., and both initial shocks and aftershocks are putting extra strain on every fault but especially those around the Pacific Rim.

My question is, does this make it more likely that we will soon experience a major earthquake along the west coast of North or South America?

A major earthquake makes the planet sort of ring like a bell, which is why you can feel a quake so far from the epicenter and also why seismographs can measure earthquakes on the other side of the earth.

Even a small tsunami causes a massive and very fast change in the weight distribution on a tectonic plate.

John McCormick is a reporter, /science/medical columnist and finance and social commentator, with 17,000+ bylined stories. Contact John through NewsBlaze.

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