The effects of the devastating San Francisco earthquake in 1906.

The effects of the devastating San Francisco earthquake in 1906.

Last year, seismologist Peggy Hellweg told USA Today, “There is a 99.9% chance that there will be a damaging quake (magnitude greater than or equal to 6.7) somewhere in California in the next 30 years.”

The thing is, Hellweg added, “We don’t have any idea exactly where and when such a quake can happen.”

Other parts of the country are also prone to devastating earthquakes. “The likelihood that the U.S. will see a catastrophic earthquake within the next 30 years is very high — and it’s not just the West Coast that’s at risk, experts say,” Time reported in 2017

The Pacific Northwest is at risk. So is the southern Midwest. And Alaska and Hawaii face danger from quakes, too.

How do we prepare for disasters that are both unpredictable and unpreventable?

While we’re visiting KPCC in Southern California this week, we talk to the team behind The Big One, the podcast all about the likely inevitable earthquake the region faces.


  • Misha Euceph Lead producer, The Big One: Your Survival Guide; @MishaEuceph
  • Lucy Jones Founder of the Dr. Lucy Jones Center for Science and Society; research associate at the Seismological Laboratory of Caltech; @DrLucyJones
  • Jacob Margolis Science reporter, KPCC; host, "The Big One: Your Survival Guide" podcast; @JacobMargolis
  • Maryam Kia-Keating Professor of clinical psychology, University of California, Santa Barbara; @drkiakeating

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