LA Times: Did the 6.4 and 7.1 Earthquakes Relieve Pressure on the Fault Lines? No.
Relatively speaking, places on the southwest side of the San Andreas fault — such as Los Angeles, San Diego and Santa Barbara — are inching toward Alaska. Places on the other side of the San Andreas, such as Sacramento and the Mojave Desert, are sliding toward Mexico.
But in places along faults such as the San Andreas, the land on both sides of the fault are locked, even as land farther away continues to move. Eventually, the San Andreas — as well as other faults throughout California — will have to rupture to relieve mounting tectonic strain.
“Plate tectonics hasn’t suddenly stopped; it is still pushing Los Angeles toward San Francisco at the same rate your fingernails grow — about 1.5 inches each year…. Their motion cannot be stopped any more than we could turn off the sun,” Jones wrote in her recent book, “The Big Ones: How Natural Disasters Have Shaped Us (and What We Can Do About Them).”