If you're the sort of person who turns to big budget blockbusters starring Dwayne Johnson for your scientific needs (bless your heart), then the following words may come as a bit of a shock: future Best Picture nominee San Andreas "grossly misrepresents" the nature, power, and potential reach of the San Andreas fault. The San Diego Union-Tribune quotes San Diego University geology professor Isabelle Sacramento Grilo as calling the blockbuster "preposterous." Grilo adds that she, as we might expect, "laughed out loud" when she saw the trailer.
The UT San Diego article takes particular offense with the melodrama presented by Paul Giamatti (as a Caltech seismic researcher). In an early clip from San Andreas, Giamatti's character makes the following TV address:
“What we’re experiencing is what we call a swarm event. Basically, California’s entire tectonic plate has shifted. People need to know that the shaking is not over. San Francisco is going to get hit again and it’s going to be a bigger monster this time. Our models are predicting a 9.5 or greater. The earth will literally crack open and you'll feel it on the east oast.”
Namely, the San Andreas wouldn't produce large cracks. Those on the East Coast would likely not feel an earthquake on the West Coast, as the distance is too great. Additionally, no one can predict the scale of future earthquakes — and no authority, Caltech or otherwise, would issue a public statement of such grand alarm. Of course, predictably science-vacant blockbusters aside — experts still consider the San Andreas fault to be a potential source of future damage, with California still earning its title as "earthquake country." Consult the most recent San Andreas trailer above to make your own scientific observations.