The disaster film "San Andreas" received a real-time fact check from one of Southern California's foremost seismologists during its premiere Tuesday night in Hollywood.
U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Dr. Lucy Jones provided candid reaction and separated fact and fiction with a stream of tweets during the film's screening at the Chinese Theatre, where she also was part of the red-carpet event alongside the likes of star Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. Jones has served as Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti's seismic safety adviser on the mayor's quake preparedness plan.
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.
Jones had 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. Actor Paul Giamatti, who plays a seismologist in the film, urges people to "drop, cover and hold on" when the ground begins shaking.
"Yes! Drop, cover& hold on. The right thing to do in an earthquake," she tweeted.
But she also noted that much of the movie stretched into "fantasy territory."
The San Andreas fault is known for producing significant quakes, but a magnitude-9 or larger is highly unlikely. 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.
The film also suggests earthquakes can be predicted when a fictional seismologist at a real Southern California university, Caltech, notices spikes in "magnetic pulses" that light up California, suggesting a mega-quake. Scientists cannot predict earthquakes, but early warning systems can give residents and businesses a few seconds heads up after a quake hits, but before strong shaking is felt. Japan has the most advanced seismic alert system in the world while the U.S. is currently testing a prototype.
In summary, Jones tweeted: "Bottom line: don't learn seismology from #SanAndreas but maybe it will inspire people to take Community Emergency Response Training."
More reaction from Jones can be found below: