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The U.S. Geological Survey has released revised predictions for the seismic activity that Californians can expect over the next few decades. And while the USGS found that the frequency of smaller earthquakes has gone down, the risk of a significant earthquake -- of at least a magnitude 8.0 -- has gone up slightly.
Compared to the previous assessment issued in 2008, UCERF2, the estimated rate of earthquakes around magnitude 6.7, the size of the destructive 1994 Northridge earthquake, has gone down by about 30 percent. The expected frequency of such events statewide has dropped from an average of one per 4.8 years to about one per 6.3 years.
However, in the new study, the estimate for the likelihood that California will experience a magnitude 8 or larger earthquake in the next 30 years has increased from about 4.7% for UCERF2 to about 7.0% for UCERF3.