As a follow-up to the io9 article about how the world will end, here's an essay from Discover about "the giant, underestimated earthquake threat to North America":

"But the third possibility was downright scary. In this interpretation, the silence along the fault was merely an ominous pause. It could be that these two great slabs of the Earth’s crust were jammed against each other and had been for a very long time—locked together by friction for hundreds of years, far longer than “all of recorded history.” If that were true, they would be building up the kind of stress and strain that only a monster earthquake could relieve."

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