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The San Andreas fault is "locked, loaded and ready to roll" in Southern California, according to a leading earthquake scientist.

Thomas Jordan, director of the Southern California Earthquake Center, said that many sections of the San Andreas fault are long overdue for a big quake, but the southern section of the fault appears to be particularly primed.

Jonathan Hunt reported on "America's Newsroom" that there hasn't been a "big one" in Southern California since 1857.

He said that Jordan's stark warning is even more sobering in light of recent earthquake activity around the world, such as the 7.8-magnitude quake that devastated Ecuador's Pacific coast last month.

Hunt explained that the 800-mile San Andreas fault, the longest in California, runs right along heavily-populated suburbs of Los Angeles like San Bernardino and Riverside.

He said that nearly every earthquake expert has been warning for a decade that a "big one" is coming, but they can't agree on when.

Hunt said that scientists have said California should be prepared for an 8.0-magnitude quake, which could cause 1,800 deaths, 50,000 injuries and $200 billion in damage, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

He noted that new buildings are built under new safety standards, and many old buildings have been retrofitted to make them safer for such an event.

"They've done everything they can, but if the big one comes, it's going to be bad."

Watch Hunt's report above.

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