Earthquake Expert Finds Fault and Fun in Blockbuster Movie "San Andreas" - NBC Southern California

Earthquake Expert Finds Fault and Fun in Blockbuster Movie "San Andreas"

"Maybe people will now hunt out information," earthquake scientist writes in online Q&A



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    Dr. Lucy Jones, a USGS seismologist (inset) who's sought to correct the California public's understanding of earthquakes after a popular movie took some scientific liberties.

    Seismologist Lucy Jones is busy separating fact from fiction after the premiere of the blockbuster summer disaster movie, "San Andreas," which she enjoyed despite the "very bad seismology."

    Jones said so during a question-and-answer session on the popular social network Reddit on Monday, her latest outreach involving the movie that depicts the San Andreas fault ripping open during a greater-than-9 magnitude earthquake.

    To the U.S. Geological Survey scientist, the movie's biggest fault is showing the San Andreas gaping open -- it doesn't do that, Jones said.

    "If it could open, there would be no friction" or, in fact, any earthquake, she wrote.

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    Jones, who advises Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on seismological matters, also live-tweeted the movie's premiere and wrote a review for the Hollywood reporter.

    "San Andreas" stars Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as a Los Angeles search and rescue helicopter pilot who, along with his estranged wife, must save his daughter in San Francisco after the intense earthquake devastes California.

    It topped the box office in its debut weekend, hauling in an estimated $52.3 million at domestic movie theaters and over-performing on the West Coast, according to an executive with the movie's distributor.

    "Some people felt they'd be a little nervous watching such a disaster hit both Los Angeles and San Francisco, but there was a curiosity factor," Warner Bros. President of domestic distribution Dan Fellman told The Associated Press.

    Despite its Jones doesn't think "San Andreas" is harmful to the public's understanding of earthquakes -- as long as they don't believe the movie is accurate. Earthquakes can't be predicted, as the movie says, and a magnitude-8.3 quake is the biggest possible along the San Andreas fault.

    "I think it is getting people talking and asking so maybe people will now hunt out information," Jones wrote.

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    Asked about the biggest earthquake myths, Jones pointed to "California falling into the ocean" and a sense of security over good local building codes.

    "Your building is as good as the building code in place when it was built," she wrote.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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