This is what happens when you invite seismologists to the premiere of San Andreas

Nope. But still awesome. Picture: Warner Bros.

US Geological Survey seismologist Lucy Jones scored an invite to attend the recent premiere in Hollywood of The Rock’s new disaster flick “San Andreas”.

It started well:

But once the movie began rolling, Dr Jones began tweeting. (It seems phones were allowed in the premiere.)

“San Andreas” is essentially Dwayne Johnson jumping onto the earthquake flick bandwagon, because every action hero has to some time in their career.

From about 20 early reviews, both Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic have it running around 50%. In the disaster flick genre, that generally translates into “dumb, but entertaining”, so “San Andreas” looks like it’s not an awful day out for The Rock.

For Dr Jones, the entertainment was all in the science, and she was only too happy to keep fans up to speed.

In the $US110m movie, twin earthquakes devastate the Western seaboard of the US. One measures 9.1, the other 9.6. But all the modeling shows the biggest quake along the San Andreas fault would not exceed 8.2.

So how about the safety message?


Dr Jones served for a year as seismic safety advisor to LA mayor Eric Garcetti. “Drop, cover and hold on” is the No 1 safety message in any earthquake event.

Pretty much all the tall buildings in “San Andreas” crumble to the ground, but the reality is, most will stay standing. They’re reinforced to withstand big quakes.

Sorry, you don’t get both the chasm and the quake. If you’re going to double up on disasters, go with earthquake and fire. The hundreds of fires in the film were accurate though – replicated in a 2008 simulation around LA. They’re double trouble because of disrupted water supply.

The tsunami scene is spectacular, too.

Geography says nope. Apart from the possibility of small tsunamis from landslides.

So Hollywood may have taken a few liberties to get bums on seats, no surprises there. But Jones sounded like she still had a great time and found at least one important message in all the chaos:


“San Andreas” opens worldwide tomorrow. Here’s the most recent trailer:

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