'San Andreas': Expert's Take on What the Film Gets Wrong and What It Does Right

Seismologist Lucy Jones finds fault with the disaster film “San Andreas."

— -- The movie “San Andreas” opened big at the box office this weekend, but the film’s over-the-top depiction of the so-called “big one” along the San Andreas fault was debunked by someone who knows the real deal.

Lucy Jones, a seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, live-tweeted her reactions to the film during its premiere.

“I found fault in their fault,” Jones told ABC's Los Angeles station KABC.

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

Here are few key plot points from the film -- and the truth, as explained by Jones:

2. In the film, the earth cracks wide open and gapes terrifyingly. In reality, Jones said, this fault line only rubs together, and would never gape wide open.

“The only faults that open up are the ones that don’t produce earthquakes,” she said.

3. A quake in the movie measures 9.6 on the Richter scale. Jones said that isn’t feasible, noting that an 8.3-magnitude quake is likely the worst that the Golden State could expect.

4. In the film, the quake is strong enough to pulverize the Hoover Dam and terrify citizens, but if a quake were strong enough to do that kind of damage, Jones said, no one would be able to run from it, not even the character portrayed by the film’s star, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who can be seen running throughout much of the violent shaking.

But, Jones said, the film did get some things right.

And the warning about aftershocks rang true; quakes can trigger others.

The depictions of the fear were spot-on, Jones said, adding that the film “really captured what the emotions can be after a disaster.”

Jones’ overall take?

“I'd say it was great fun. I just wouldn’t try to learn seismology from it,” she said.

“San Andreas” took in an estimated $53 million in its opening weekend.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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