What Do Scientists Think About The “San Andreas” Movie?

What Do Scientists Think About The “San Andreas” Movie?
Dwayne Johnson interview at HK Disneyland as a part of movie ‘Race to Witch Mountain’ Asian junket. Stewart C / Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0
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“San Andreas,” the latest addition to hundreds of disaster films, will arrive in theaters this Friday. The movie costs millions of dollars to make, and if scientists are to be believed, it seems as if the money didn’t go into portraying the accuracy of facts.


The San Diego Union-Tribune asked Isabelle SacramentoGrilo, a San Diego State University professor of geology, what she thought of the movie.

“Preposterous. I laughed out loud when I saw the trailer,” was what the professor said.

Of course, one shouldn’t turn to Hollywood when it comes to scientific accuracy, but it pays to be aware. Scientists are still yet to fully understand how earthquakes work.

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“There are a lot of people in Southern California who haven’t experienced a large earthquake,” SacramentoGrilo told the Union-Tribune.

In one scene, Paul Giammati’s character, who portrays a worker from the California Institute of Technology, gives a public announcement saying “California’s entire tectonic plate has shifted” and that their instruments predict magnitude 9.5 or greater.

The Union-Tribune attempted to contact Caltech, but the institute’s PR head refused to share anything, as “no one wants to talk about the movie.”

As for the 9.5 magnitude? Susan Hough, a geophysicist from Pasadena’s US Geological Survey, said “(The) largest possible estimated quake is about 8.3. (There’s) not enough fault area for M9!

“It’s Hollywood, people. Go, buy popcorn, have a good time. Just don’t expect real science.”

But Hough, after accompanying the Associated Press to an advanced screening of “San Andreas,” admitted the possibility of a large-scale disaster.

“We are at some point going to face a big earthquake.”

The film, according to Hough, got one thing right, though. In a scene, the tide is seen ebbing out, which is an indication that a tsunami is coming.