Published: Fri, March 10, 2017
National | By Miranda Cannon

New fault line found in California, already overdue for whopper quake

New fault line found in California, already overdue for whopper quake

A new study confirms what many Angelenos already know in their heart of hearts: Sooner or later, the San Andreas Fault will will wreak havoc on Los Angeles. Both methods yielded estimates between magnitude 6.7 and magnitude 7.3 to 7.4.

The study's lead author, Valerie Sahakian, said the fault is never more than four miles offshore, and even a moderately large quake could have a major impact on the region. "That would be a situation, depending on how close you are to it and what type of soil you're on; that could be pretty heavy shaking". Between Newport Beach and Seal Beach, it runs underground, parallel to the coast, before moving inland to Culver City. That accumulating energy will be suddenly released in a major natural disaster, when the land along the fault would move by many feet, according to the study. Analysts studied four sections of the fault that were offset (stepovers), and discovered the separations were not extensive enough to avert a split of the whole offshore segment of the fault.

News of the newly identified fault - and the potential danger it poses - didn't faze at least one emergency-preparation expert.

The conclusion that 7.9 earthquakes there are relatively rare could be good news, said Caltech seismologist Egill Hauksson, who was not involved in the study.

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The difference between a 7.5 and a 7.9 natural disaster is significant, Scharer said.

"The hard part is getting people to do it. Those are the critical pieces". The small size of the three stepovers that link four main parts of the Newport-Inglewood and Rose Canyon fault system make them unlikely to be able to stop an quake spreading throughout the whole system. That event killed 115 people and spurred changes in, among other things, school construction.

The land on either side of the fault has been pushing against the other at a rate of more than 1 inch a year since 1857, the researchers said, accumulating energy that will be suddenly released in a major natural disaster, when the land along the fault would move by many feet.

By using these two types of data, which differ in their resolution and depth of penetration, the team was able to define the fault structure in great detail, which could then be used to calculate natural disaster magnitudes. The Rose Canyon fault runs along a very populated area, which also makes it hard to study. And for the past 11,000 years, it has produced three to five ruptures in the north segment and one rupture 400 years ago at the southern part.

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