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The “big one” could possibly be several big ones in the case of San Francisco’s inevitable earthquake. Unlike the 1906 8.0 seismic rupture, findings are now showing that San Francisco’s next big quake could be several mid sized shakes. While this would be not as catastrophic as a tremendous quake, it could prove to be a headache financially, and equally as devastating in the long run for many San Francisco residents. It’s a different beast to tackle entirely, but the wheels are in motion to ease the level of trauma and devastation.

David Schwartz, who talked to Mercury News, said that while a cluster of quakes is not as bad as the 8.0 in 1906, it’s going to present more problems for The Golden City in the long run. Basically a giant earthquake relieves more pressure. So after the biggest quake in the city’s history hit, it was a one and done deal. The rest of the century was pretty calm for the city save a 6.9 in 1989. Schwartz says this phenomena is not typical, and likely a fluke for the San Andreas fault to release all its pressure all at once. The same amount of pressure will have to be released this time around, but the release will be far from a one time event.

Basically San Francisco is expected to shake, rattle, and roll for a majority of the 21st century. Numerous mid sized quakes are going to be scattered throughout the 86 years remaining. If you own land there right now, get insurance because there’s still 3/4’s a century to get through. On top of all this talk of cluster quakes, San Francisco, there's still a good chance that one of those many clusters will still be a higher than normal earthquake. Yes unfortunately with all this new information coming out, the city is still at 63% chance for one or more large earthquakes to strike before 2036.

Rest assured though San Francisco, there are plans in motion to protect you from this rocky ride. The United States Geological Survey already has a framework in place to help protect the city and prepare for the “big one” or several medium ones or a dozen tiny ones and whatever may come your way. The big question is when will it end, and for now, no one knows the answer to that question. The last cluster of earthquakes to hit San Francisco was in 1776 and involved several 6.3 to 7.7 in intensity.

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