“San Andreas” Film Premiere Opens at Grand Lake Theatre in Oakland With Emergency Preparedness Lesson

U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Dr. Lucy Jones separated fact and fiction with a stream of tweets during the film's screening in Hollywood

The disaster film "San Andreas" opens Friday, and the Grand Lake Theater in Oakland is making use of the premiere to offer a free earthquake lesson.

Before the Hollywood film begins, which tells the imaginary tale of how the San Andreas Fault triggers a magnitude 9-plus earthquake and a search from Los Angeles to San Francisco to save a couple's daughter, a public service announcement from from FEMA and the Oakland fire department will air.

In the lobby, earthquake preparedness information will also be available, according to Kelly Hudson of FEMA.

Already, the movie has one prominent critic, who live-tweeted her thoughts during the premiere there.

Lucy Jones, a respected Southern California U.S. Geological Survey seismologist, saw the movie in Los Angeles last week and pointed out many faults with the plot, noting that much of the Hollywood script stretched into "fantasy territory."

In the film, a previously unknown fault near the Hoover Dam in Nevada ruptures and shakes the San Andreas fault, capable of producing significant earthquakes. Southern California is rocked by a powerful magnitude-9.1 quake followed by an even stronger magnitude-9.6 in Northern California.

The real San Andreas Fault extends about 800 miles through California and was first identified in 1895 by a UC Berkeley professor. Two high-profile quakes hit along this fault, including the 1906 San Francisco magnitude-7.8 earthquake and the 1989 magnitude-6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake.

The San Andreas fault is known for producing significant quakes, but a magnitude-9 or larger is highly unlikely, Jones said. Computer models have shown the lengthy fault -- considered a strike-slip because opposing segments of rock slide past each other horizontally -- is capable of a magnitude-8.3 quake, she noted. She also took issue with the unrealistic tsunami portrayed in the film overtaking San Francisco.

"Everything was exaggerated and over the top," Jones told NBCLA.

In summary, Jones tweeted: "Bottom line: don't learn seismology from #SanAndreas but maybe it will inspire people to take Community Emergency Response Training."

Jones did have praise for some of the film's depictions of emergency response and at least one portrayal of "drop, cover and hold on" -- a safety practice designed to protect individuals from falling or flying objects.

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