Ron Mikulaco examines Crack from Ridgecrest


Ron Mikulaco, left, and Brad Fernandez, his nephew, examine a crack caused by the Ridgecrest earthquake on July 6.  


Most Californians live within 30 miles of an active fault line.

On July 4, a 6.4-magnitude quake led to gas leaks and power outages in Ridgecrest, a small city about 125 miles northeast of Los Angeles. The following day, that same community saw an even more destructive 7.1-magnitude quake.

But residents near the San Andreas fault, which stretches 800 miles from Eureka to San Bernardino, have particular reason for concern: The fault is expected to produce what many call the "big one," a high-magnitude earthquake.

The San Andreas fault hasn't experienced a ground-rupturing earthquake in more than a century — an unprecedented "earthquake drought," seismologists say.

"Chances are, we're going to have more earthquakes in the next five years than we've had in the last five years," Lucy Jones, a seismologist, told The Guardian in July.