U.S. Geological Survey

Poking the Sleeping Giant: Quake Swarm Could Unleash San Andreas

The swarm of small temblors just off Bombay Beach in the Salton Sea on September 26 isn’t a sign that Palm Springs is about to become beachfront property, but it does point to the inevitability of the “Big One” hitting the South State, say seismologists.

Doomsday 3: California May Oscillate Between Drastic Droughts and Deluges

Editors’ Note:  The Summer 2014 issue of California magazine is called “This is the End.” Every day this week: a different catastrophic scenario.

California’s climate, long known for having a sunny, likeable disposition, is poised to become a major bad actor. As anthropogenic climate change threatens the Sierra Nevada snowpack and brings even more uncertainty to a region already prone to extreme drought and flooding, catastrophic weather events may define our future.

From the Summer 2014 Apocalypse issue of California.

No Joy in Mudville: Amid Drought, California’s Reservoirs are Clogged with Gunk

As the drought drags on and reservoir levels keep dropping, our politicians predictably are clamoring for new dams. But there may be a better and cheaper way to squeeze more water out of California’s desiccated watersheds: Clean out the gunk behind existing reservoirs. That’s because dams collect sediment from eroding watersheds along with water. Our reservoirs rapidly are filling up with silt, sand and rocks—and the more sediment, the less room there is to collect life-sustaining water.

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